Kilner, Miller, & Pellegrino, (1996) stated that “euthanasia can be categorized as active euthanasia which involves willfully taking positive steps to terminate life, passive euthanasia entails deciding not to take the positive steps to prolong life. Each of these can be voluntary or involuntary.
I firmly believe that euthanasia should not be implemented or legalized for the following reasons:
First of all, in the concept of life and death, wherein Buka (2008) commented that “the definitions of ‘life’ and ‘death’ are subject of debate throughout healthcare professional frameworks.” There are both ends of the spectrum meaning on the one hand, preservation of life and on the other hand, allowing death or ‘letting go’, if not assisting or hastening the end. In either case, there is a potential conflict of interests, between the patient’s best interests versus those of society as a whole (Buka, 2008). Approval of an ethical framework for decision-making is necessary for healthcare professionals such as autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and fairness (Beauchamp and Childress, 1997).
Euthanasia from these principles may cause by someone’s own actions or action of others (Buka, 2008). An example of own actions is refusal of treatment, may result in termination of life.
In the case of Re T (Adult: Refusal of Medical Treatment) (1992) 4 ALL ER 649, CA
A pregnant woman aged 20 had suffered critical injuries in a road accident. The victim had a heamorrhage that cause a stillborn baby. She had been 34 weeks pregnant and, on admission, had consented to a caesarean section. Her mother was a strict Jehovah’s Witness had then influenced her daughter who (Ms. T) subsequently told doctors that she objected to a blood transfusion. Her boyfriend and her father on the hand objected and sought a judicial review allowing a blood transfusion as a life-saving measure. Held by the court of appeal (Lord Donaldson’s judgment) that:
Her mental capacity to choose whether to accept a blood transfusion or not have been impaired by her injuries.
She had lacked sufficient information to make an informed (rational) decision to accept or refuse treatment.
Undue pressure from her mother may have influenced her subsequent decision to appear to reject a blood transfusion.
The courts could not apply the ethical principle of autonomy under these circumstances and ordered a transfusion to be given to Ms. T without her consent.
Secondly, in the mental symbol of right, Right is defined by Griffith and Tengnah (2009) as an interest recognized and protected in law. Buka, 2008 suggested that the law on human rights take into account the fact that every patient is entitled to life (Article 2, Human Rights Act 1998); hence this has been used as a basis for litigation to assert that right.
Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by the law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which his penalty is provided by the law.
Article 2, Human Rights Act 1998
The principle of the sanctity of life can be seen in the case of Pretty v The United Kingdom (European Court on Human Rights), Application no. 2346/02, Strasbourg, April 29, (2002).
In this particular case, a woman in the end stages of motor nuerone disease wanted to seek immunity for her husband on assisting her to take her own life for her to die with dignity. The House of Lords held that article 2 gave rise to preservation of human life, not a right to die, and that sanctity of life required by article 2 could not permit the intentional intervention to human life (Buka, 2008).
Lastly, although the law considers the right to liberty (Article 3, Human Rights Act 1998) and the doctrine of consent in high regard there are certain limitations by both common law and statute (Griffit, & Tengnah (2009). An individual may not take or consent an action that would cause their death, and physician or doctor who assisted a patient even there is consent would suffer a charge of murder (Montgomery, 1997).
Euthanasia is murder in the UK (Buka, 2008). This is supported by the case of Regina v Cox (1932) 12 BMLR 38.
In this circumstance, a 70-year old Mrs. Boyes’ suffered from severe arthritis with severe pain for several years, which was not controlled by pain killers. She wished her consultant, Dr Cox for active voluntary euthanasia. Dr Cox purposely injected her with a lethal dose potassium chloride, when she reminded him that he had promised not to let her suffer. The judge initially charged him with murder. But she was cremated before the case was brought to the attention of the police, it was not authenticated that the potassium was determinant of death. So that doctor was only condemned of attempted murder.
The legal basis of the decision of the judge is Article 2, Suicide Act 1961 stated that
A person who aids, abets, counsels, or procures the suicide of another or an attempt by another to commit suicide shall be liable on conviction on indictment in imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.
It is also forbidden to assist a patient to die (Buka, 2008).”This protects the vulnerable from being encouraged to take their own by unscrupulous relatives, friends, or health professionals” as stated by Griffith, & Tengnah, (2009).
In general, there are many factors should be carefully think about in the concept of euthanasia such as religion, legal, medical views and any other aspects. Some believe that euthanasia should be implemented and legalized but you must consider that the knowledge, culture and beliefs can be transferred from years to centuries. Furthermore, life preservation is an enormous task by each and everyone. On the other hand, we must respect each other’s beliefs and opinions for the sake of love and peace. It is of preponderance to instill it among the young generations, because the youth today will be the bridge of past and present to the future.
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