Euthanasia

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  • Euthanasia
    • The law and keywords
      • Suicide has been discriminialised, but is still an offence to assist someone in committing suicide.
      • Assisted suicide: a person who wishes to die is helped to die by another person. They may or may not have a serious or terminal illness.
      • Euthanasia: good death.
      • Suicide: voluntary choice of taking your own life.
      • Active euthanasia: treatment causing the death of someone.
      • Non-voluntary euthanasia: severely ill and life is ended without consent.
      • Passive euthanasia: treatment withheld and causes death.
      • Tony Bland case, an extreme circumstancewhere non-voluntary euthanasia is permitted. Passive euthanasia where treatment withdrawn to keep a patient alive.
      • The quality of life
        • Quality of life: the idea that life's value depends on certain attributes or goods e.g. happiness.
        • Thinkers base the decision on whether quality of life exists around possessions of life's good- happiness and freedom of pain.
        • Peter Singers five views on the sanctity of life.
          • 1) Recognise the worth of human life varies.
          • 2) Takes responsibility for the consequences of your decisions- save or end life.
          • 3) Respects a persons desire to live or die.
          • 4) Bring children into the world only If they are united.
          • 5) Don't discriminate on the basis of species.
      • The sanctity of life
        • Sanctity of life is the idea that life is intrinsically sacred or valuable.
        • Christian ethics refers to the idea that life is special and valuable as it is God given.
        • Even though humans are fallen and damaged by sin but everyones created in the "image of God".
        • "God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he has created them" Genesis.
        • "you shall not murder" Exodus
        • "The lord gave, and the lord has taken away" Job
    • Autonomy and Euthanasia
      • Principle of autonomy linked to quality of life and opposes sanctity of life.
      • Principles that humans should be free to make their own decisions about their future.
      • Feature utilitarian thinking and traced back to Mills none-harm principle: whilst government may restrict our freedom they strict our harm to someone else.
      • Autonomy and euthanasia
        • Autonomy key to determine our own lives that we have the ability to determine the time and manner of our own death.
        • Voluntary euthanasia: straightforward but Glover argues there should be checks before someone wants to die.
        • External judgement as to the patients quality of life and mental state.
        • Autonomy complicated in non-voluntary euthanasia- patient ike Tony Bland persistent in vegetative state.
      • "Convinced that your decision is a serious one" Glover.
    • Acts and Omissions
      • Rachels' challenging acts and omissions
        • Killing someone for fortune is an act. Jane comes in and she goes to help but she drowns. Nephews death an omission because Jane could have saved the guy.
      • The Hippocratic Oath
        • Hippocrates wrong for doctor to cause the death of someone else.
        • Pointless to continue to help those who are overcome by disease so medicine is powerless.
        • Act causes death morally and legally wrong but mission )stop treatment that prolongs inevitable death) may not be morally wrong.
        • "I will neither give a deadly drug to nobody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to that effect"
      • Five options linked to euthanasia
        • 1) Preserve life.
        • 2) Ordinary steps to preserve life + not use extraordinary means.
        • 3) Not kill and not preserve life.
        • 4) Not intend to kill, death a possible consequence
        • 5) Deliberate act of killing.
    • Natural Law and Euthanasia
      • Opposes eutanasia.
      • Important to distinguish between allowing someone to die naturally, supports cutting life short as morally wrong.
      • "Discontinuing medical procedures that are...dangerous...can be legitimate: Catechism of the Catholic Church
      • Key precept: preservation of life!
      • Life should not be shorted. "God gives us and God takes away" Job
      • Argued that the practise of euthanasia would undermine the stability of society- where life is not valued.
      • Ending life by euthanasia instead of preserving life is an apparent good.
      • Principle of the double effect may allow pain relief but the drug may shorten life e.g. morphine. Acceptable if the intention was to relieve pain and shortening life is an unintended effect.
      • Good answer on euthanasia
        • Upholds intrinsic value of life.
        • Principle of double effect gives sensible flexibility to relieve pain when there's no prospect of saving life.
        • Prevents human from abusing power over others.
      • Bad answer on euthanasia
        • Religious foundations may be outdated.
        • Legalistic and shows no compassion to pain+suffering experienced by the terminally ill.
        • Focus on sanctity of life means quality of life and autonomy isn't important.
    • Situation Ethics and Euthanasia
      • Case Study
        • Teriminally ill man refuses treatment and shorten life, speed out death through euthanasia.
        • Fletcher doesn't say its wrong but does say they should do the most loving thing.
        • "It is western we can justify taking it into our own hands, as human beings, to hasten death for ourselves or for others out of compassion. The answer is...clearly yes" Fletcher.
      • Applying situation ethics
        • 'personalism's one of the key features. People and welfare is at the heart rather than laws.
        • Quality of life more significant than sanctity of life.
        • Rejects legalism in favour of what would be the most loving thing. Rules e.g. do not kill is Sophia (general rules of wisdom) according to Fletcher, can be broken when love demands.
        • Cases where euthanasia is appropriate.
      • Assessing situation ethics
        • Good: Flexible to individual situations, recognise two situations of euthanasia not the same.
        • Good: Agape love, correctly understood, about ensuring the best outcome for the person involved.
        • Bad: 'do the most loving thing' vague, loving thing subjective- matter of opinion.
        • Bad: requires a prediction of future, what she most loving outcome may not be certain.
    • Assessing the relevance of sanctity of life
      • Case
        • Concerned if we don't uphold the supreme value of life may lead to the poor treatment of patients or people feeling they are a burden.
        • Idea that life is special in all forms is not a bad idea.
        • Natural Law upholds valuable life. Preservation of the innocent life is one of the five primary precepts.
        • Bible: 'the lord gave and the lord has taken away'Job. Making decisions about life ending treatment may be leaving us feeling guilty.
      • The case against sanctity of life
        • Sanctity of life assumes a religious view which people no longer share.
        • Sanctity of life says life must be saved at all costs whether treatment works. Tech and medical knowledge has advanced and we know when lives can be saved.
        • Rejects legalistic interpretations of sanctity of life. Important to work on case-by-case to do most loving thing.
        • Suffering of patients may increase if we preserve life at all costs.
        • Singer- sanctity of life is part of old fashioned traditional ethic. Goes against autonomy and control. Singer argues we should have freedom to make decisions.

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