Strindberg Project

Euthanasia

By Anna Riddle

The article was written by the cheappapers org
An attitude towards deliberate acceleration of the death of the incurable patient has never been unequivocal. The process is called euthanasia: the acceleration of death of a seriously and incurably ill person conducted by their will or by the will of the authorized relatives (Paterson, 2017). Modern classification of euthanasia divides it into two types: active and passive. The first one is connected with the actions of medical staff through injections, which provoke the death of a person (Paterson, 2017). The second type is connected with the refusal to continue person’s treatment through their request or the desire of relatives. The issue of euthanasia cannot leave anyone indifferent. For today, it is considered one of the most urgent, painful, and widely discussed topics. In medicine, euthanasia includes the possibility of a person who suffers from a deadly disease to make an independent choice between premature death and the time measured. In case when an individual cannot make such a decision due to the physical condition, a family can make this choice. Nowadays, there are constant never-ending disputes over whether to allow or forbid euthanasia. Although euthanasia is prohibited in many countries, a right to life should be considered together with the right to death.
Arguments for EuthanasiaTo begin with, there are several arguments for euthanasia. The most important of which are the act of mercy and freedom of choice. The main argument is that euthanasia is the act of mercy. According to it, life is good only when pleasure dominates over suffering and positive emotions over negative ones. The argument is the most significant in substantiating the legalization of euthanasia, particularly when life is full of unbearable pain without hope for relief, and a patient expresses a clearly desire to end their life (Basri, 2012). Some people who are unable to withstand moral suffering and physical pain can commit suicide, thus choosing a more traumatic way. In addition, freedom of every person lies in the possibility to have a right to pick an easy death if one cannot endure moral and physical torments. Regarding the proponents of active euthanasia, there is a right of every person to self-determination even if it includes the withdrawal from life (Basri, 2012). No one has a right to make hopeless patients suffer and experience severe pain.What is more, one more argument for euthanasia is based on the economic feasibility of this procedure compared to many years of using the expensive technologies or equipment supporting life of terminally ill patients. Thus, funds spent on life maintenance of hopeless patients can be used on the treatment of other people. It is also important to mention that Francis Bacon was the first person who proposed this term (Basri, 2012). By this phenomenon, he designated that easy death is not connected with suffering and pain that can occur naturally. The philosopher believed that not only cure but also alleviating patient’s sufferings are the duty of every doctor (Basri, 2012). All these arguments indicate that euthanasia should be considered.Many countries around the world respect the freedom of choice of every person and have entrenched the right to euthanasia in the law. Nowadays, the statistics of euthanasia demonstrates the increase in states that allow the withdrawal from life under medical indications. In Europe, there are several states where euthanasia is accepted, such as Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Sweden (Paterson, 2017). Before the World War II, euthanasia was widely applied in Europe. However, in the process of conquest, Germany greatly discredited this concept. In 1939, Adolph Hitler issued the decree on the registration of all children who suffered from deformities, paralysis, and hydrocephalus, and 5,000 of them were euthanized (Paterson, 2017). According to one more decree, numerous individuals suffering from mental disorders were subjected to forced euthanasia. When people knew about it, euthanasia became unacceptable for a long time.Nonetheless, the development of a life-supporting treatment together with the assertion of the value of autonomous choice in medical practice resulted in the fact that a topic of euthanasia in many states is not a taboo anymore. In 1984, euthanasia in the Netherlands became permissible as a phenomenon, and in 2002, it was confirmed by law (Paterson, 2017). The state conducts five active procedures every year. In 1998, euthanasia in the United States was adopted in Washington and Oregon (Paterson, 2017). Passive euthanasia is also practiced in California. In four years, euthanasia was legalized in Belgium, and in ten years, a record was fixed in this country – 1432 procedures per year (Paterson, 2017). After that, several other states around the world started practicing passive euthanasia.In such a way, the Netherlands was the first country after the war where euthanasia was practiced, thus recalling the importance of respecting a person’s choice. The state spread this phenomenon around the world. Belgium is considered the only country today where this procedure is available for children with incurable illnesses. In Switzerland, the statistics of euthanasia demonstrates several reasons for withdrawal from life, namely cancer - 44%, neurodegenerative diseases - 14%, heart and vascular diseases - 9%, depression - 3%, and other reasons – 30% (Paterson, 2017). The legislative experience of these countries highlights the success of the legal solution to the problem of euthanasia, thus proving the fact that all the arguments supporting it should be taken into account during numerous debates concerning this issue.Arguments Against EuthanasiaDespite the fact that there are many strong arguments that support euthanasia, opponents argue that no one can deprive a person’s life. Therefore, the first argument lies in the fact that euthanasia encroaches on human life, which is considered the most important value; thus, no one can take away it. Moreover, there is no need to exclude a possibility of a medical error when a doctor made an incorrect diagnosis and started improper treatment. It is also believed that there is a possibility of the appearance of new methods of treatment and medications in the future.Another argument is a high risk of abuse by medical personnel. If active euthanasia is legalized, healthcare workers may have a temptation to use it (Basri, 2012). In numerous discussions dedicated to euthanasia, this argument was used more frequently than others. It is highly important to take it into consideration since a human factor plays a great role here.Besides, there is a possibility of a medical error, and there are several cases in medical practice when medical practitioners that had the permission to apply euthanasia killed patients. One of the most vivid examples was the actions of American doctor Jacob Kevorkian, who is better known under the name Dr. Death (Basri, 2012). He came to the conclusion of ethics of euthanasia in the cases when a patient experienced sufferings and could not be helped. He even designed a suicide machine representing a system for supplying toxic drugs and analgesics to the blood of people who were unable to commit suicide by other means. Since that time, he helped end life of 130 patients (Basri, 2012). The US authorities and the medical community condemned his ideas. In 1991, he was denied a license to practice medicine and was prosecuted (Basri, 2012). He was sentenced to a 25-year prison term for killing an incurable patient (Basri, 2012). By this example, proponents of euthanasia want to stress that by using it, medical practitioners can kill people.The majority of countries around the world vote against euthanasia pointing on all arguments mentioned. As it was noted above, euthanasia is legalized in only two American states. Attempts to pass similar laws in other states have failed. As it was shown by the statistics of euthanasia, countries of the former USSR are not ready to introduce legal killing into their laws (Paterson, 2017). For instance, euthanasia in Belarus is considered a criminal offense (Paterson, 2017). Despite this fact, a boundary of the right to life in the issue of euthanasia is extremely shaky, and in numerous cases, it is better to accelerate a patient’s death in order to save them from agonizing pain.ConclusionEvery person has the right to life, but many countries deny people the right to die, although these rights should be considered in complex. Among numerous religious, legal, and medical problems, a problem of euthanasia occupies a highly important place. Thus, the arguments for and against euthanasia are extremely weighty. Medical practitioners who work in the state that allows euthanasia should not pay attention to the arguments against it. The same situation is with countries that prohibit euthanasia. Despite the fact that the majority of countries prohibit euthanasia, it represents freedom of choice for people doomed to excruciating death.ReferencesBasri, Z. (2012). Euthanasia: Which “M” is it? Mercy or murder? Bloomington, IN: Author House.Paterson, C. (2017). Assisted suicide and euthanasia: A natural law ethics approach. New York, NY: Routledge.
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Published: September 21, 2022, 3:05 am