Euthanasia Terminal Illness | Free Medical Law Essay

Euthanasia: People Should Not Be Forced To Stay Alive

Abstract

Recently, euthanasia has become the current issue in many countries. So, this paper provides an overview and clarification of the issues. The author agrees that euthanasia should be legalized in the case of a terminal illness. In this insistence, it is giving rise to a great deal of debate. This paper introduces why the euthanasia should be legalized. Opponents of euthanasia consider euthanasia to be homicide. However, to prolong the patients' lives without the possibility of revival is just to inflict the pain. As a result, it should be legalized.

Euthanasia: People Should Not to Be Forced Stay Alive

The term euthanasia comes from the Greek words "eu" and "thanatos" which combined means “well-death” or "dying well" (Euthanasia, 2008). The fact that life is important has a relative meaning. When a patient with a terminal illness is hover between life and death, the value of a decent death might be more important than uncomfortable life. Attitudes toward euthanasia differ between individuals and populations, and in many studies the medical profession is more reluctant than the general public (Karlsson, Strang & Milberg, 2007). Why has euthanasia become the question at issue? The reason is that death is the thing all people have in common. People falling under the definition of possible euthanasia patients are the patients whose brains are not functioning, or bodies are dying. They may think that they would rather die than lead such lives with their bodies in severe pain every day (Amarasekara, 2002). That is to say, the patients who are kept alive at a vegetative level, or informed of a terminal cancer, are forced to believe in a miracle of a possibility. Therefore, euthanasia should be legalized in the case of a terminal illness.

Background

Although in the nineteenth century and earlier, euthanasia was concerned with easeful deaths and accepting God's will with the least amount of suffering, the concept began to shift toward eugenics as a way to manage the social body (Thomson, 2004).

According to Palliative Medicine

In the United States, Oregon has been at the head of legalization efforts. In 1999, Oregon permitted only physician-assisted suicide for the first time. At that time, in 14 Oregon Public Health services, “patients with cancer of the head, neck or esophagus who cannot swallow their secretions” were included. Furthermore, in other countries, the Netherlands and Belgium have the jurisdictions of euthanasia. These two countries permit both euthanasia and assisted suicide. Euthanasia in the Netherlands is allowed in 1985, but it is not until about 8 years later that the Netherlands adopted a law. That is to say, The Netherlands legalized euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in 1993. In Australia, although the Northern territory approved a euthanasia bill in 1995, the Australian Parliament overturned it in 1997. (Harm, Llinka, van Royen & Anne-Mei, 2007)

Defense

Although it is true that people have basic human dignity and life is sacred, life is not the only way of guaranteeing the dignity of humans. Some people say a decent death is more important than life at the moment of death. In other words, the reason that the right to live is important is not because a man has a body, but because a man lives like a human being.

When the pain has increased, the patient's life is no of little living, and the patient really hopes to end it to avoid suffer a pain. These patients were unloaded by the nurses and caregivers and were in horrible condition, often being very emaciated and dirty (Benedict & Caplan, 2007). By this time, euthanasia would be in the best recipe of a patient who is faced with death. This right should not be reserved. If it is legalized, the patient's interest would be protected. Also, if the opportunity of death is not allowed, we might lose the direction that our lives will go in democratic societies today. Therefore, a patient with a terminal illness should have the opportunity and the right to choose death. The most important factor determining death must be a judgment about the quality of life.

If euthanasia is not considered, all the possibility of transplantation is lost. It is not a medical or legal perspective but a religious perspective which regards death as the soul's separation from the body. Especially when the patients have no capacity to make their death decision, the family may ask a doctor to perform euthanasia because it is unnecessary to use other means of resuscitation. Now, many people who internal organ not available for transfer are dying. From this viewpoint, the legalization of euthanasia should proceed.

Opponents of voluntary euthanasia argue that the quality and distribution of palliative care services should be improved (Sanders & Chaloner, 2007). No matter how excellent palliative care is, the ability of modern medical care is limited. Some kinds of palliative care may be one of active euthanasia, which is the act of hastening death with drugs because the drugs used in palliative care are too strong. Nevertheless, the care is unable to raise hopes.

Millions of people are diagnosed with severe illnesses every day such as cancer, AIDS, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. These diseases have the potential to cause extreme pain. Also, patients with a terminal illness already know that they will die. They are in pain, and are forced into life-prolonging treatments. The delayed life is a future filled with pain and indignity.

Life is a beautiful thing full of hope and love, but a terminal illness may change it into agony and worries. Euthanasia is the only way to relieve the pains. For that reason, such patients should be assisted by doctors in order to expedite their death. According to the Journal of Advanced Nursing:

In 22.3% of 278 cases, the district nurse was the first with whom patients discussed their request for euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide. In about half (49.8%) of 267 cases nurses were not involved in the general practitioner's decision making process, and in only 13.3% of 264 cases, did they attend the administration of the lethal drugs. District nurses had provided some degree of aftercare to the surviving relatives in 80.3% of 264 cases. (Van Bruchem-van de Scheur et al, 2007)

My uncle is a great doctor. He has been working for 23years in surgical ward. When I was writing this research paper, I tried the interview by telephone to him for hearing to his opinion about euthanasia. He agrees that the euthanasia should be legalized.

First of all, he was very emphatic on the heavy burden of patient's family. There could be no doubt that people who have no chance of recovery are a terrible, heavy burden upon their family. While those patients are lying on the bed unconsciously, their family must worry about them and take care of them devotedly. Also, patients who are in a coma for several years can give heavy financial burden to their family because of the high medical costs.

Second, whoever is incurable ill has the right to assisted death. The quality of those patients' lives can be meaningless because they just depend on artificial means lying on the bed. He does not think anyone want to live like those patients. He told me that imagine that one of your family members had been living depend on respirators for 10 years and you did not do anything except for just looking after him/her. What kind of decisions do you make? If he were in that situation, he would choose euthanasia because he thinks terminal ill patients may want to dye peacefully without suffering. Therefore, he believes we respect their rights to die if those patients want to assisted death.

Lastly, terminally ill patients can help some patients who need organ transplants. Those patients who eagerly want to receive internal organ transplants have been rapidly increasing in recent years. If terminally ill patients leave their internal organ to those patients, they can get new life at their desire.

It is clear that there is no hope for those patients to recover and they are a heavy burden to family physically and mentally. Although they do not have any chance of recovery, they give hope to other patients who need organ transplants to give their organ.

While I got the interview with him, his opinion merely is duplicated to the other opinion. Nevertheless, he was steadfast in its support of euthanasia. All things considered, He believes euthanasia should be legalized for incurably ill patients.

Many family of a patient may hope for assisted death because they love him, and wish that he didn't have to suffer from the disease. This is the reason that the families who have witnessed a family member's death in severe agony give their approval to euthanasia. While they watch in horror, they already suffer a sense of despair and powerlessness. Should the care for patients with a terminal illness be allowed to bankrupt families or cause severe agonies?

Abrupt death such as being stabbed in a robbery or being killed in a traffic accident gives us a chance to think about life or death. In other words, in those cases, we have no choice to decide our fate. However, the dying process due to a terminal illness is different from those cases.

Such a situation will make our thoughts more chilled, so we will become completely level - headed persons. No one will decide death instantaneously. Whether the decision is death or not, the decision should be respected, and euthanasia can give such an opportunity that can affect the dying process. Patients with a terminal illness should have the opportunity to make the difficult decision for their fate or future. People should be allowed to make the decision themselves without being forced.

Refutation

According to the Mortality

Both U.S. medical ethics literature and U.S. medical associations have traditionally condemned euthanasia in 1994. The American Medical Association's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs stated that, although life-prolonging medical treatment may be withheld, ‘‘the physician should not intentionally cause death''. In addition, the American Geriatrics Society has stated that physicians should not provide interventions that will intentionally cause the death of patients. Also, in 1998, the Report of the Ethics and Humanities Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology issued a position statement that emphatically stated its opposition to euthanasia. (George, David, Michelle & Rachael, 2005)

Opponents of euthanasia consider euthanasia to be homicide. However, to prolong the patients' lives without the possibility of revival is just to inflict pain. If such a delayed time means the prolongation of pain, the prolongation just leads to obstructing the human dignity, and to depriving the right to choose death. One of the most famous examples which must not be ignored is cases where patients unconscious for years wake up and get up in a second. Even prominent doctors can't know when their patients will wake up or if they never will. But if there is a miracle, it can be theirs, too. This kind of hope helps patients' family not to give up.

Euthanasia is an extremely difficult moral decision that should be made along with doctors and patients' families. Moreover, one of the ironies of modern medicine is that it extends our life spans enormously, and reduces early death. The extended period is including the dying process. It is not homicide. It just allows the patient to die when the life span has properly finished.

Many patients fear that they will be kept alive with pain by modern medicines. On that account, when people face up to death, they should have the right to control their fates, including the right to demand death. Some opponents believe euthanasia is unethical, and it violates medical ethics. Therefore, in some cases, hastening death will be the best treatment.

According to Social Research, euthanasia, as an ethical problem, has traditionally engendered debate on whether and, if so, when, killing another person can be justified or excused on the grounds that the person killed is benefited rather than harmed (Kipnis, 2007). Whether human beings like us have any power or right to eliminate someone else's dignity which is given by God. We had no choice when we were born. The birth was given by God and we must live with all of our heart. Even though illness is making it us hard to live; we must not give it up. Especially when it comes to others' lives, we have no right to order them to give it up.

They also claim euthanasia is opposite to the laws of humanity, but they are neglecting the laws of nature, which were established long before mankind. Protecting from death or prolonging our lives is that. It is the act of breaking the balance of nature.

According to Lancet, Irish doctors oppose euthanasia legalization. It also says that such legalization would undermine the trusting relationship between doctors and their patients. Voluntary euthanasia is not a reasonable or legitimate option in any modern, compassionate health care system (Birchard, 2000).

Some opponents believe euthanasia makes the value of life lower, and neglects the value and the meaning of biological life. However, other people believe it makes the value of life higher because the patients have the right of choice. The meaning of death, that there is no more that can be done, is just leaving death alone as if they bear no relation to death. However, if they choose death, the meaning of death will be changed. Although euthanasia is not a solution for life, it may help to make the meaning of death more valuable.

Opponents insist that although there could be an advantage we can get from euthanasia, there are so many disadvantages which tell us to stop considering euthanasia for our fellows. Also, everybody should make a strong law to prohibit euthanasia, which leads human dignity to be endangered. Only through this, patients with diseases, their families and the rest of us can benefit.

Summary

Because of advances in medical science, people who might die without support of medical science lengthen their span of life and suffering from pain. They can breathe but just with the aid of a respirator. They cannot do anything, even a physiological phenomena, by themselves. They who must keep in bed can't work and accomplish their object. It's hard to say they are alive. How we live is as important as whether we live or not. The right to live is considered as an undoubted right, and men's right to death also should be regarded as an undoubted right. Everybody wants to die peacefully without pain. Some people think euthanasia as a crime by reason of human dignity. But, we should think about what they want. We should think much of their choice and help that the pain has gone for respect human dignity. It is only way to go to us.

People are against an easy death for because life is valuable and must be held in high regard. But, life is worthy when we lead it by the force of our free will. The people who want an easy death can't lead their life by their own will. It's cruel to compel patients to live worse than death. They have to endure pain impossible even to imagine from an incurable illness. Furthermore, there is only death waiting for them after they endure severe torture. We have to think about it in a substantial way. Curing a hopeless case is meaningless medical treatment. Every year, we spend monstrous expenses for these meaningless behaviors. The financial burden of the sick is also tremendous.

Conclusion

In conclusion, people must have the right to choose a decent death if they cannot live like a human being any more. people have to be stance on patients who are suffering from unbearable and ceaseless pain before contenting whether the doctors are guilty or not, because sometimes people judge from a third person's point of view without knowing the real essence. Basically the life of a person is majestic and people can't simply choose suicide.

Generally, opponents' people tend to consider euthanasia as a sort of suicide so we also blame people who opt to get euthanasia. However people should not blame those who choose to get euthanasia, because it is their choice and they already thought that it is impossible for them to get good result after enduring too much hardship

Despite the controversies, euthanasia still exists as a legal act in some countries. People should not see the treatment with euthanasia as an illegal act any longer and allow doctors to help hopeless patients to get to euthanasia instead if the situation permits it. We should also recognize that euthanasia is not a way to destruct dignity of lives of human beings but a way to dignify human beings.

Euthanasia should be legalized. All people are related with death. If euthanasia is legalized, it does not mean all patients should decide to choose euthanasia. It will give time to think about death. It will be a great opportunity for life. If patients are deprived of the right to choose a decent death because of the value of life, this will be the very thing to neglect the dignity of man and to make the value of life lower.