Imagine a world where anyone, even the curably ill or depressed, is easily assisted in suicide.
Where someone else decides when you’re life is no longer worth living.
Where there is a general expectation to die rather than receive long-term care.
Ladies, this is the world that awaits us if we legalise euthanasia.
Euthanasia, or assisted suicide, is defined as the practice of ending the life of a terminally ill person, usually by lethal injection.
Though there is no exact specification for what ‘terminally ill’ may pertain to.
Who would this definition extend to and who would be eligible to be euthanized?
Some laws state that “terminally ill” means that death will occur in a relatively short period time. Others are specifically stating within six months or less.
Though this definition is futile, as medical experts state it is virtually impossible to predict the life expectancy of each specific patient.
As this has been realised, numerous euthanasia activists have increasingly replaced references to ‘terminal illness’ to phrases such as ‘hopelessly ill’, ‘desperately ill’, and ‘incurably ill’.
At the present time Euthanasia is only legal in Belgium, Switzerland, some U.S states and the Netherlands.
Euthanasia is against the law in the UK, where it is illegal to help anyone kill themselves as assisted suicide is classed as second degree murder, and can lead to imprisonment of up to and including 14 years.
However, in certain places around the world there are specialist hospitals where there can go to end their suffering.
One example of this is Dignitas, a Swiss assisted dying group that helps those with terminal illnesses or severe physical and mental illnesses to end their suffering, assisted by qualified doctors and nurses.
There are three main types of euthanasia:
· Voluntary, where someone asks for help to die. In order for this request to be carried out, the patient must be deemed mentally capable to make this decision.
· Non-Voluntary, where the individual is incapable of deciding, for example if they have been in a coma for a long period of time and rely on medical equipment to live.
· And In-voluntary, where euthanasia is conducted against the will of the person.
There are also two sub-categories:
· Active, where a deliberate action is taken to end life i.e. a lethal dose of drugs is administered and
· Passive, when a decision is made to stop treatment, even if the result will be death.
ethics para 6
Euthanasia raises many ethical dilemmas as different people think different things so there will never be a definitive right or wrong answer.
It is a complicated problem because there are so many medical treatments to keep people alive.
There are many circumstances in which people may be inclined to consider euthanasia; for example, if someone is so badly injured that they cannot think or feel and there is no chance of recovery, they can still be kept alive by machine.
However many people would argue that it is wrong to do this, despite the fact that the patient does not feel any pain. They consider the decision to end the person’s life inhumane.
para 7 QOL
The quality of life of the patient is often one of the main ethical issues.
If someone is enjoying happy relationships with others, can communicate and is not in any pain, but is terminally ill then most people would agree that euthanasia is wrong in this situation.
However, if they are suddenly diagnosed with another worse medical condition, halving their life-expectancy, and they lose the ability to communicate, are in a great deal of pain and their relationships crumble; the majority of people would agree that euthanasia is probably worth considering in this situation.
However as I have said before, there is no right or wrong answer and there are many alternatives.
para 8 Hospices
One substitute to assisted suicide is going to stay in a hospice.
A hospice is a place where terminally ill patients go to receive palliative care (the major aspects of controlling pain and suffering) before they die.
Hospices are often funded by charities and they can provide either a place of respite or a loving, supportive environment for those who need it most. There are separate hospices for children and adults as the children’s hospices contain facilities like, play areas, gardens and rooms for family members to stay with them. They are places of happiness, hope and support.
para 9 relgion
There are many different religious viewpoints to take into consideration as well; Christian, Buddhist, Judaism and many more. Each religion has its own ideas and thoughts on Euthanasia.
· Most Christians believe that as each life is sacred, euthanasia should not be legalized,
· The majority of Buddhists think that compassion is a justification for euthanasia because the person suffering is relieved of pain
· Generally, Jewish thinkers oppose voluntary euthanasia, though there is some backing for voluntary passive euthanasia in limited circumstances
In conclusion, I believe that euthanasia should not be legalized as there are so many exceptions to the rule.
Doctors may struggle to determine whether the person is a candidate for euthanasia or not, protests may break out as not everyone will agree and this in some dramatic circumstances could even lead to war.
Therefore I leave you this question; ‘Euthanasia; right or wrong?’