The Euthanasia Debacle Sample Paper

Assisted suicide, also known as euthanasia, involves terminating the life of a critically ill person to alleviate their pain and suffering. A large number of those undergoing this “mercy killing” is mainly people with the critical condition, but there also are cases where individuals only want to end their lives. Often, medical practitioners carry it out at the patient’s request, although there are instances where the medics, courts or family step in to make the decision, especially when the person is too ill. It is an ethical subject that continues to raise moral dilemmas on whether or not terminally ill patients have the right to end their own lives, put a stop to the severe pain, under what situation it is justifiable, the moral dissimilarity between simply letting someone die and killing them. Central in these arguments are the different perspectives people hold on the value and existence of human life and whether we have any right to make decisions in such matters. The purpose of this essay is to provide a comparison of standpoints of those who think that permitting the procedure is the way to go and critics that are against it basing the arguments on practical issues.

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Proponents of euthanasia firmly believe that a person has a right to die. They are of the opinion that the notion of ordered liberty gives allowance for a competent fatally ill person to face a timely death full of dignity to avoid the unbearable pain that they presently experience. Exercising personal autonomy is an inalienable right that safeguards a person’s bodily integrity in making sound decisions that concern them and the refusal of any life-saving procedures or medications to prolong their life of agony (Gorsuch 17). The Netherlands, together with some few states in the United States, permit this highly controversial practice and affirm that everyone has a moral duty to make choices on issues that concern their life and well-being. A person whose mental faculties are functional is, therefore, acting within the confines of the law when they make a conscious decision to bring about their death as it is a liberty that most constitutions protect. Diseases such as Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), leukemia, Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome and Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever cause immense pain to its sufferers with little to no chance of cure. It is for this reason that a physician’s assistance to suicide becomes the only feasible option to hasten their inevitable death.

The quality of life of someone with terminal affliction reduces significantly, with the severe damage the first observable sign. They are bound to experience inconsistencies in how their bodies function, bouts of breathlessness, nausea, and vomiting (Have 9). Life for a person living with paralysis, for instance, changes instantly as they now have to grapple with a life full of struggle. Basic everyday tasks, for example going to the bathroom or moving from one point to the other becomes difficult undertakings which now require them to have a caregiver to assist them. Coming to terms with this new life affects their self-esteem more than ever, especially when they fondly remember how life was for them during their heydays years. In the case of cancer patients, general body weakness and a lack of appetite due to the cocktail of medication takes a toll on their bodies, with some of them being a former shadow of their old selves. Feeding also becomes a hard task, due to the ache that they experience, making swallowing an uphill task. Moreover, accompanying this inferior value of life are psychological factors such as fear of losing control, depression and feeling as though they are a burden to those around. Under the European Declaration of Human Rights, particularly, people have a right not to resist any compulsion to suffer (Schabas 22). Euthanasia thus becomes necessary, to end a sorry state of affairs.

Critics of this ethical subject opine that it contravenes the Hippocratic Oath taken by all medical practitioners before starting their practice. In medicine, it is a taboo for a health care provider to give a deadly to a patient when they ask for it or even make suggestions to this effect (Miles 24). There are occasions where a patient might ask a doctor to honor their wishes by administering lethal medicine that will most certainly end their life. Additionally, professionals in this field have been known to offer medical advice that justifies euthanasia, especially when the person in question is ready to die and sees their stay in the hospital as a costly affair for their family. If a physician forswears the administration of poison to one who asks for it, they reject the view held by the expletive that they took that forbids killing or supporting such an action. Respect for life is of primary importance in the medical profession and should command reverence. The argument held here is that life’s respectability is not reliant upon the patient or individual consent but the mysterious power of life and the career that they have sworn devotion.

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Detractors also invoke the “slippery slope” argument in critiquing euthanasia as it may lead to other unforeseen detrimental reforms in the healthcare system. A typical example given in this case is that of a government, shortly, starts a program that involves the killing of members of its population that doesn’t contribute much to its economy. Legalization of euthanasia is seen a dangerous precedent, principally when one considers that the healthcare service acts in its capacity as an extension of the government (Paterson 45).  Another worry is that a society that permits voluntary euthanasia might slowly slip into a change of attitude that would now embrace it’s involuntary. Furthermore, persons with severe disabilities who require constant care will be under pressure to request the procedure to lighten the medical bill load that their family members would have to incur. The occasionally mistaken diagnosis would also bring about the death of an individual, thwarting any attempts to know the real cause of their condition.

In conclusion, euthanasia presents an ethical dilemma, with those supporting or condemning it standing firmly behind their affirmations. On the one hand, there is the right to end one’s life in the event of unbearable pain, that advocates support, but on the flip side, there are those who consider it an outright violation of the Hippocratic Oath. All in all, this debate won’t be ending anytime soon as both parties seek to find a middle ground and a resolution of the matter at hand.

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