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Euthanasia Debate Essay

euthanasia debate essay

Example #1

Everybody is going to die sometime, but for some, serious medical conditions only prolong the wait upon their deathbed. From newborn infants with severe handicaps to elderly men and women diagnosed with hopeless amnesia, euthanasia has found a place in society since society s creation., and a boundary is begging to be drawn. Passive voluntary and active are the two mains forms of euthanasia. A cancer patient certain to die within a month may ask to have his or her respirator turned off and have the iv removed, presenting them with a quick and dignified death; this would be an example of passive euthanasia.

A case of active euthanasia would be a person manually assisting the patient in suicide. A doctor providing a lethal dosage of drugs to be inserted into the arm would be an example. Keep in mind, however, that the doctor cannot be the one to trigger the drugs into the patient without turning the case into murder. This is similar to the recent occurrence of Dr. Death s actions. With perhaps the most infamous name in euthanasia, Doctor Jack Kevorkian s brave methods came to an abrupt halt in the spring of 1999. He was sentenced to ten to twenty-five years in prison for the assisted suicide of Thomas Youk, a 52-year-old victim of Lou Gehrig s disease.

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The judge recognized this case to be different from Kevorkian s previous trials on account of the lethal injection Kevorkian initiated himself, rather than the regular prescription of lethal drugs tolerated over 130 times before. Kevorkian will not be eligible for parole until May of 2007; and rightfully so say even many right-to-die groups. He is a symptom of the problem rather than part of the solution, says John Brooke of Americans for Death With Dignity – a California-based euthanasia support group. Clearly, euthanasia has its share of protesters, and they’re even some supporters who recognize the boundaries.

The battle now returns to a handful of states. Out of the fifty united states, thirty-five have regulations declaring assisted suicide a crime. It is regulated by common law in nine states; four states have no clear-cut laws against it, and only Oregon permits the actually assisted suicide performed by doctors. Active euthanasia and assisted suicide have certainly seen their political thresholds, but where does the less aggressive passive euthanasia stand? This form of suicide has not the protesters so hasty to point the finger. In many opinions, passive euthanasia can be more justified than its more active cohort.

Bette Stevenson of Nebraska was a fifty-three-year-old widow when diagnosed with lung cancer. Cancer threatened Stevenson s life within only seven months of being with her. Stevenson was already very hard of hearing and sight. With no children and no family within close contact, her future looked very grim. Tired of lying in a hospital bed every day and knowing her condition would become only worse, Stevenson urged her doctor to stop treatment and send her home to face an easy death. After much contemplation, the doctor granted her request. Stevenson died within two days of her release.

Cases similar to Stevenson s are though ones to judge. Is it a crime for the doctor to grant the patient s wish to die a dignified death such as Stevensons? There are many more instances that bring the question to the minds of each side of the battlefield. What of infants born with severe irreparable handicaps? Are the parent’s felons letting an end to their suffering before the struggle begins? Some may say yes at first, but when the situation is in their hands, the minds may change. Jan Anderson, a resident of Minneapolis, gave birth to a child after only five months of pregnancy. The baby weighed just over one pound, was paralyzed from the neck down, had cerebral palsy, and was blind. Discontent with her baby s dismal future, she requested that the newborn be disconnected from its life support and be given a quick death.

However, the doctors argued profusely and saved the child s life, against Anderson s wishes. Although she loves her child and cares for him deeply, she still believes that nobody should have to be put through such suffering. Euthanasia and suicide have been a strong disputable petition since the earliest of civilizations; yet even today s modern society has not made a decision on where to draw the line. Strong supporters like Dr. Jack Kevorkian and a slew of right-to-die groups keep euthanasia alive and well, but hasty protesters such as the judge who sentenced Kevorkian to keep the likes of Dr. Death in check. And in check is where this subject is most likely to stay as society presses on.


Example #2 – Euthanasia: Moral Issues and Clinical Challenges

Cases of euthanasia have persisted in the American judicial system, and this is a major challenge the states are facing. Though, those who believe in the patients’ autonomy and sympathize with them actually find it hard to accept the reality that legalizing euthanasia poses a lot of danger to many people’s rights and welfare. It is a controversial debate to argue that there are certain rights linked to euthanasia whose denial can lead to the application of liberty-limiting principles. Therefore, sound judicial policies are necessary for tackling this issue. Instead of leaving patients under the agony of extreme pain and suffering, positive clinical reforms as well as social reforms are necessary.

Terminal Sedation. Terminal sedation is morally right since the patient consents to it before its execution, and it is a method of letting the terminally ill patients die rather than killing them directly. This same argument can as well be supported by the fact that physicians have the moral duty to let their patients die peacefully and to relieve them from pain and suffering. Besides, in most cases where duties conflict, it is the patients’ desires which are left as the deciding factors (Quill 474). Terminal sedation involves administering high sedative doses so as to relieve the patient from severe physical distress and it makes him/her unconscious till death (Quill 475). In fact, termination sedation is allowed in cases whereby it is the only means to relieve the patient’s suffering.

Under such circumstances, it is neither immoral nor unethical and the doctor is at liberty to administer high doses of sedatives to the terminally ill patient. Contrary to euthanasia, terminal sedation can be regarded as a way of letting terminally ill patients die. However, euthanasia can be regarded as direct killing because the doctors administer lethal injections and drugs to the patients. Holding to the view that terminal sedation is morally permissible should not stop someone from debating the permissibility of euthanasia since the intention of carrying out “mercy killing” is based on the patient’s consent with an aim to relieve him/her from incurable suffering (Rietjens 6).

In order to understand moral and ethical controversies surrounding terminal sedation, it is necessary to agree to the fact that a person can engage in an action that is morally permissible, but he/she is still morally blamed for it. For example, a physician who carries out terminal sedation, an act that is morally permissible, is still morally blamed. This is rather awkward since physicians have good intentions towards patients, and that is why at times they engage in activities that relieve the patients’ suffering. For instance, a terminal cancer patient whose lung is failing has been on the respirator for a long time, undergoing extreme pain and suffering might request the physician in charge to remove him from the discomfort of the respirator.

In this case, it would be morally permissible for the doctor to respect the patient’s decision not to be put back under the discomfort of the respirator. The doctor might as well get tired of the patient’s persistence to be removed from the respirator and decides to respect his/her wishes. In this case, the physician’s actions are still morally right, not because he/she was tired of dealing with the patient, but it is morally permissible to remove life support from a terminally ill patient who wants to die. Indeed, it is unethical and morally wrong to prolong the life of those terminally ill patients who want to die (Rietjens 2).

The McAfee case. Focusing on this case, it is not always important to exercise the right to end life since there can be other ways to make life more comfortable and worth living. McAfee depended on a ventilator for quite long after the motorcycle accident, a situation that made him seek an appeal from the law court to be allowed to exercise the right to stop treatment. His case gained a lot of publicity and many people came to offer him support services that improved his life and encouraged him to continue living (PBS Local Station 1). In fact, McAfee did not exercise his right to stop treatment. Therefore, it is important at times to let people die naturally. Though it is important to tackle issues of patients’ assisted suicide and euthanasia from the clinical perspective, it is also important to analyze the social aspects (PBS Local Station 1).

DWDA and the Ashcroft to it (rejected by the Supreme Court). The Supreme Court made a ruling that rejected the constitutional right of a patient engaging in euthanasia or patient assisted suicide (PAS). This would indeed intensify the debate on euthanasia and patient assisted suicide owing to the fact that the patients themselves strongly believe that they have the liberty to terminate their life when undergoing extreme pain and suffering (Rietjens 4). In Oregon’s case, it was argued whether Oregon had some rights towards allowing doctors to carry out patient assisted suicide (PAS) to those patients who were terminally ill (Oregon Public Health 1).

According to Ashcroft, it was illegitimate for Oregon doctors to administer drugs that help terminally ill patients die (Oregon Public Health 1). However, terminally ill patients strongly believed that it was morally right for them to die peacefully, then undergoing the most terrible pain and suffering during their last days. Therefore, revoking Oregon doctors’ licenses for having prescribed drugs for euthanasia was a form of infringement to the patients’ right and liberty to die peacefully. This action taken by the Attorney General to revoke the doctors’ licenses, made Oregon sue the administration for having overstepped its powers since it was not the right body to regulate the US medical practice (Rietjens 3).

Oregon doctors found it inappropriate to be stopped from carrying outpatient assisted suicide, arguing that it was neither unethical nor immoral act since it was the patients’ morality. The doctors also argued that killing patients is unethical, morally wrong, and is not one of the medical purposes. The supporters of Ashcroft dismissed Oregon’s practice as bad medicine since it interferes with human dignity. Though, on the patients’ side, it is not a question of ethics and morality since they strongly believe that they have the right to die peacefully, and not necessarily going through excruciating pain and suffering. On the other hand, the doctors believe in good medical practice, and making the terminally ill patients die peacefully is not bad medicine.

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Therefore, any law that rejects euthanasia is a bad one because it denies the patients the right and the liberty to die peacefully (PBS Local Station 1). In sum, it is both morally and ethically permissible to carry out euthanasia and patient assisted suicide (PAS). However, we should not always grant people the right and liberty to end life, as witnessed in the McAfee case. In addition, it has been witnessed that legal challenges are some of the liberty-limiting principles used when the rights to end life are denied. These two areas try to overlap since the right to life is legally enshrined in the constitution. However, moral issues and clinical challenges play some crucial roles in analyzing euthanasia, patiently assisted suicide (PAS), and sedative termination. Therefore, in most cases, a patient who refuses medicine and wants to die should have his/her will respected, especially those suffering from terminal illnesses.


Example #3 – The Views of Euthanasia as an Immoral Crime Or an Act of Moral Compassion

Developments in medicine have increased the possibilities of prolonging life and managing symptoms of terminally ill patients (Rietjens, Van der Heide, Onwuteaka-Philipsen, Van der Maas, & Van der Wal, 2006). Prolonging life, however, may not always be the most appropriate goal for incurably ill patients, and hastening of death may actually be the desired goal of care, for example, in the case of euthanasia. Palermo (1995) defined active euthanasia as “the killing of a patient by a physician who usually believes the patient to be terminally ill and in agonizing pain”. “Physician-assisted suicide is performed to end psychological or physiological suffering to a person who desires to commit suicide” (Worthen & Yeatts, 2000-2001).

End of life decisions, including physician-assisted suicide, has continued to be controversial and have raised many medical, legal, and ethical questions (Kopp, 2008-2009). There is no middle ground or strong consensus because, “Euthanasia is viewed as both an immoral crime and an act of moral compassion” (Proulx & Jacelon, 2004). Interestingly, while members of the medical profession debate the ethics of assisted suicide, public support for legalizing assisted suicide has been growing (Palermo, 1995). One reason why physicians, as compared to the population, are more restrictive may be the burden of responsibility associated with physician-assisted suicide (Lindblad, Lofmark, & Lynoe, 2009).

Additionally, physicians also may have a paternalistic view, not trusting patients to know what is best for them (Lindblad et al., 2009). A common argument against physician-assisted suicide is that it could erode trust in medical services (Lindblad et al., 2009). However, research by Lindblad et al. (2009) found no evidence for the assumption that trust would be jeopardized if physician-assisted suicide were to be legalized. On the contrary, actions stressing patients’ autonomy would possibly result in increased trust in the medical services (Lindblad et al., 2009). Another argument against legalizing physician-assisted suicide is that a person who is requesting aid-in-dying may be suffering from a mental health disorder that might be impairing their judgment (Werth & Holdwick, 2000). Clinical depression and other mental health illnesses have associated with higher rates of suicide, and depression is very common among terminally ill individuals (Werth & Holdwick, 2000).

The prevalence of suicidal thoughts is higher among those cancer patients who experience emotional distress (Walker et al., 2008). Before considering assisted suicide as an option, mental health professionals should definitely evaluate and provide treatment for any present mental disorders (Werth & Holdwick, 2000). Through their interventions, they can help improve the quality of life of the dying person, reduce the risk of suicide, and possibly delay the option of euthanasia. (Werth & Holdwick, 2000). In some parts of the world, euthanasia is legal and widely accepted. The Greek roots of euthanasia lead to the meaning of a “good” death (Palermo, 1995). Granda-Cameron & Houldin (2012) suggested that the definition of good death may vary from person to person. To some euthanasia is an acceptable option to achieve the desired characteristics of a good death such as dying without pain, with dignity, and maintaining control. (Granda-Cameron & Houldin, 2012).

“Many people are concerned that they might receive burdensome treatments that are not consistent with their preferences” (Rietjens et al. 2006). Results of a study by Proulx & Jacelon (2004) indicated that human dignity is largely lost when the life of a terminally ill person is prolonged by technology. “We cannot know what dying with dignity means for any given individual unless we take the time to ask and listen. In order to experience dignity in death, dying patients must have a voice to choose the circumstances of their death according to what matters most to them”. (Proulx & Jacelon, 2004) Research by Rietjens et al. (2006) indicated that the large majority of the Dutch general public considers dying painlessly important for a good death.

Patients with advanced cancer, AIDS, and Motor Neurone Disease report a higher likelihood to choose euthanasia as an option when compared to patients with other advanced incurable illnesses (Hudson et al., 2006). Pain is one of the most common symptoms in cancer patients, and it is likely the major reason for patients to want to end their suffering (Mori, Elsayem, Reddy, Bruera & Fadul, 2012). Palliative measures can effectively relieve severe pain (Mori et al. 2012). The number of physician-assisted deaths in the Netherlands has recently decreased probably due to adequate palliative care (Lindblad et al. 2009).

However, “euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide still account for 1.8% of all deaths in the Netherlands, indicating that there is suffering related to a terminal illness that cannot be sufficiently relieved by palliative measures” (Lindblad et al., 2009) Research by Granda-Cameron &Houldin (2012) found that patients still frequently die in hospitals with poor quality of life, poor pain, and symptom management. Euthanasia is meant to cause death without feeling pain and to end suffering (Palermo, 1995). “No two people share the same life story and personal values, it is not possible to develop a universal, best way to die that honors and upholds dignity for all” (Proulx & Jacelon 2004). The right-to-die movement prioritizes the patient’s autonomy in decision making (Granda-Cameron & Houldin, 2012). While clearly not suitable for all, in the future, euthanasia may become a choice for increasing numbers of dying patients. (Proulx & Jacelon 2004).


Example #4 – Euthanasia and Modern Society

Euthanasia is a Greek word that when directly translated refers to the “good death”; more specifically euthanasia is a term that is used to describe death conditions that have been undertaken deliberately for purposes of alleviating the suffering of an individual usually from a terminal illness for which no recovery is expected. Hence, for euthanasia to be defined to have occurred three conditions must be met i.e. it should be deliberate, must involve taking life, and should be with intention of relieving “intractable” suffering (Rawls, 1971). There are various forms of euthanasia, but which are generally categorized into two types; passive euthanasia and active euthanasia. In this paper, I wish to argue that euthanasia is not a moral issue and should be legalized globally since it is justified and should therefore not be regulated.

Historical Background. The debate surrounding the morality and legality of euthanasia is one that has been ongoing since the 17th century when the word euthanasia was first invented and used in the medical field (Pateman and Rawls, 1987). In modern-day society, the actual meaning of euthanasia has taken different forms and is usually interpreted differently in a medical and legal context. However, it was not until the late 1980s when scholarly articles that advocated and argued against the morality of euthanasia were first published. In her article written in 1987 titled “Euthanasia”, Battin advocated for euthanasia by expounding on the moral virtues of euthanasia and why it should be used in the medical context (Pateman and Rawls, 1987).

The case of euthanasia as advocated by Battin is based on the noble idea behind euthanasia which is basically to alleviate pain. Towards this end, Battin asserts that “the relief of pain of a patient is the least disputed and of the highest priority to the physician” indirect reference to the sole and major reason for carrying out euthanasia, a fact that is not even contested by the proponents of the euthanasia practice (Pateman and Rawls, 1971).

Arguments for and against. In the following section of the paper, we shall analyze the various ideologies that have been advanced in defense and against the practice of euthanasia. Generally, the positions of euthanasia proponents and opponents have to do with morality, religion, and legal issues. For instance, the argument advanced by proponents regarding the need to undertake euthanasia in order to relieve such patients from their physical and emotional pains assumes a moral point of view all other factors being constant. From a religious perspective, the debate on euthanasia continues to be a contentious issue because of their different viewpoints. However, it is from a medical perspective that the practice of euthanasia is the most polarized, radical, and a never-ending issue of contention.

On one hand, for example, euthanasia practice radically contradicts the principles of medicine as well as the very tenets that the practice of medicine was found. Indeed, the fundamental principle of medical practitioners demands that they undertake anything possible to save lives and ensure its preservation; this is the cardinal oath that doctors must take prior to being allowed to practice. But on the other hand, and equally important responsibility of the doctor involves alleviating pain and suffering by bringing about a cure, it is when this cure becomes elusive that the idea of euthanasia does not seem so much outrageous or in that case in conflict with the fundamental principles of medicine.

Besides in contemporary society, the practice of medicine has assumed new levels altogether which are very different from the nature of medicine as it was practiced in ancient times, and which these principles of medicine were actually based. In fact, the reasons why the issue of euthanasia has become so polarized have everything to do with advances that have been made in medicine and due to the emerging type of diseases, which are both a product of modern society. Advance in technology for instance has meant that machines that can sustain life in near-death circumstances have been invented. But this technological introduction has only complicated the issue of euthanasia in two major ways; one of which regards the cost and the other has to do with this leap of technology per se.

Regarding cost, it is basically impossible to continuously maintain a person in a life-saving machine for several years due to the prohibitive cost alone. Strictly speaking even on a cost-benefit analysis such action is not logical unless there are major improvements on the side of the patient. Another reason why lives saving machines have complicated the issue of euthanasia is that this technological leap has necessitated the redefinition of death, death in the sense of when it should be presumed to occur and for very good reasons. Indeed, the fact that these life-supporting machines have the capability to continue sustaining life in patients that are in the vegetative state requires us to redefine when death should be presumed to occur especially given their ability to sustain life even when massive organ failure occurs, usually what would have resulted to death were it not for the ability of this machines.

Due to this eventuality brought about by this technological advent, the modern-day definition of death has also taken several meanings. The definition of death as it is currently described includes three forms; whole-brain death, higher brain death, and traditional death which is usually through cardiovascular arrest (Hassan, 2006). These various definitions of death are for the purpose of providing leeway of undertaking or preventing euthanasia based on the perspective that one gets to look at it. For instance when death is defined as having occurred due to higher brain death, then a life support machine is not necessary and can be removed since the death, in this case, is not subject to cardiovascular arrest but rather to higher brain activity (Hassan, 2006); I say this is just being hypocritical.

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However, in traditional terms life support machines cannot be withdrawn from patients since their death is subject to their cardiovascular arrest which is incidentally enabled through the life supporting machines (Hassan, 2006); (this is even more ironical). Finally, the reason why modernity complicates the issue of euthanasia is because of the increase and emergence of new diseases that are increasingly becoming not only terminal but very painful and humiliating as well. Most of these diseases are a product of modernity and are usually the ones at the center of the euthanasia debate mainly because they are terminal and painful diseases. However, the debate on euthanasia is hardly limited to the various perspectives of legal, medical, moral, and religion as we have so far discussed, but also involve philosophical perspectives as well.

The Social Contract Theory is an ideology that is largely attributed to Thomas Hobbes although its concepts have been around for quite some time (Celeste, 2004). In Social Theory Contract, Hobbes argues that human is rational beings but which only reason and act with their best interests at heart in what he refers as “commodious living” which entail various aspects of life such as morality, society, and politics (Celeste, 2004). The relevance of this theory therefore in the context of euthanasia is that people’s moral standings are usually tied together with the political factors of the society. Perhaps, what Hobbes is advocating concerning euthanasia, is to let the moral and political factors of society be the framework of determining the justification of euthanasia.

An even more unusual theory regarding euthanasia has been advanced by Susan Wolf in a critique of the Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS) concept in which the influence of culture, socialization, and sexism as determinant factors of euthanasia are adequately tackled (Dieterle, 2007). The underlying argument that Wolf attempts to portray in that paper claims that euthanasia is largely a gender issue that should not be legalized under the existing legal laws and cultural practices of the society. In this paper, the practice of euthanasia is described to be gender-based in that women are affected differently by the practice compared to men and are more predisposed to the practice than men, mainly because the culture in America tends to devalue women who are terminally ill, disabled or considerably aged more than is the case for their male counterparts (Dieterle, 2007).

In this critique by wolf two major points are raised to support her claim of gender-based euthanasia, one of which she claims that the majority of persons that are likely to seek PAS would be females rather than males, which in itself is an injustice. However, data analysis of the various countries and states in America that have so far legalized euthanasia turns out not to support this assertion. The trend is the same even for other countries that have allowed euthanasia such as the Netherlands where males constitute a larger percentage than females.

Conclusion. As we can see from the facts discussed it is clear that modern society has evolved to a point that justifies euthanasia because of the strides in technology and lifestyle changes that necessitates that people be mercifully relieved of life should the situation demand so. As it is, governments have circumvented the legalization of euthanasia by giving it different definitions as we have seen to fit their intentions. But at the end of the day, it is euthanasia, and it is not right to discriminate against citizens based on the nature of death and in the process deny those who also need it as much.


Example #5

Humans, like all animals, attempt to evade death. Though death is usually seen as an unwanted end, some see it as an alternative to suffering. Most people cringe at the thought of suicide, but is euthanasia the same thing? Do human beings have the right to choose death? “Americans have developed a paradoxical relationship with death-we know more about the causes and conditions surrounding death, but we have not equipped ourselves emotionally to cope with dying and death (Bender and B. Leone).” Death is a scary subject for all humans. And death caused by oneself, or suicide, is even scarier. Suicide on medical terms, or euthanasia, confuses many people. Does it pose many moral questions to humans: should it be allowed?

This has three subgroups: Nonvoluntary euthanasia, which is done when the patient is incapable of deciding, involuntary euthanasia, which is done to end the suffering of a capable patient, and voluntary euthanasia, which is done at the patient’s request (Yount). A broader term many people assign these two acts to is suicide. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines suicide as “the act of killing yourself because you do not want to continue living.” Euthanasia is a form of suicide, but the two differ in their motives for death. People have taken their lives for a vast array of reasons, for protest, revenge, to end despair, madness, pain, honor, illness, social situations, and many others. (Williams-Boyd) Are all or any of these reasons justified?

Perhaps in the minds of those who attempted the taboo they are. To the “average,” life-loving human they are most likely not. A common proverb to prevent suicide is “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Some find meaning in this; others see its logical flaws. What if the problem isn’t temporary? To many suicidal people, the problem is life. Most people, who have problems with life, most likely have deeper, psychological issues. And those issues are truly the problem, but “ignorance is bliss,” and people overlook their small problems and blame life. Most suicidal people can find help if they choose to put in the effort to change.


Example #6 – The Moral and Ethical Views on the Goal of Euthanasia

The developments in the scientific environment have brought major changes to the normal healthcare delivery process by focusing on a number of processes, which are critical in the delivery of care. Euthanasia is one of the scientific focus in the recent past, which involves the intentional ending of an individual’s life to avert pain and suffering. Major arguments have been developed regarding the euthanasia process creating a difficult implementation environment considering the significant focus within the healthcare delivery that euthanasia is ethical and illegal(Julesz, 12).

The healthcare industry is developed on strict adherence to professional ethics, which means that any action that is performed is aimed at promoting the utmost good to the patient. A key aspect in the delivery of healthcare revolves around ensuring that the patient is happy. Euthanasia has brought significant focus on the underlying professional ethics with the healthcare environment. Euthanasia involves both voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary euthanasia involves a patient who wishes to end his or her life due to sustained suffering and pain, which cannot be taken away by any medication available. Involuntary euthanasia involves a situation where a patient cannot give consent but it is very much visible that the patient is in a lot of pain and there is nothing that can be done to avert the pain(Sandy MacLeod, 33-35).

The ethical principle of utilitarianism highlights that an action is ethically correct if the outcome is deemed to have the greatest success in bringing happiness. An ethically good action has to be in the best interests of many. When considering this basis, euthanasia is ethically good if it is done in the best interests of many. Many individuals are involved in the whole process of euthanasia either directly or indirectly. The patient, family, and the physician involved all have key concerns regarding the existing situation. Euthanasia is only done to avert suffering and pain to a patient but also family members must be able to provide a critical understanding of what needs to be considered that can limit their suffering. The continued presence of a patient who is suffering and in much pain has a negative influence on family members in terms of financial strain and emotional stress, which can be ended through euthanasia(Rachels,16).

Bentham’s Felicific Calculus provides a crucial understanding that the moral perspective of an action is measured by the total pleasure or pain that is produced based on the action. Thus, a morally wrong action will automatically be based on total pain therefore while a morally right action is judged based on the amount of pleasure as a result of the action. Euthanasia, in this case, provides total pleasure, which includes the end of suffering and pain, as well as eliminate the family suffering. This is pleasure based on Bentham’s felicific calculus. Thus, the action of euthanasia aims at total pleasure and not suffering which makes it morally and ethically correct. The success level helps all those involved to find peace. The manner in which an action is taken does not matter as long as the outcome is a total pleasure(Mathai and Haubold, 56-61).


Example #7 – Euthanasia: Your Right to Die?

When the person’s life is full of everyday sufferings because of diseases and there are no perspectives for the recovery, the question of possible euthanasia becomes urgent. The problem of euthanasia is discussed from many perspectives with references to the social, medical, ethical, and religious aspects. There are two opposite visions of the problem which are based on different backgrounds. Thus, those persons who are inclined to examine the issue within the social and medical contexts often support the idea of euthanasia as appropriate to follow the patient’s will and relieve the suffering.

The opponents of this vision build their arguments with references to the ethical and religious aspects of the problem (Tulloch). Although both positions can be supported with a lot of arguments, people should change their absolutely negative vision of euthanasia because the right to die with the help of physicians can be considered as one of the human rights; euthanasia is supported to help the person and relieve the torments; it is possible to choose the palliative treatment, passive or active euthanasia.

People have different human rights according to which they can regulate their personal life and choose the legal ways to follow. It is possible to discuss euthanasia as the right to die along with the accentuated right to live the desired life (Cavan and Dolan; McDougall and Gorman). Thus, LeBaron states that “the individual has certain rights guaranteed under the law and the Constitution that allow them to choose when they can die” (LeBaron). Those people who suffer from everyday pain and whose life resembles survival can choose death as the way to ease their suffering.

However, there should be strict criteria to choose euthanasia as the only possible variant to change the situation and help people to relieve the unbearable pain. Euthanasia should be discussed as the extreme means available for those patients who have no perspectives for further recovery (Burkhardt and Nathaniel). From this point, it is impossible to discuss euthanasia as the way to kill because it can be considered as the required medical procedure (Torr). That is why it is important to accentuate the necessity to concentrate on each individual case and make a significant decision to use or not euthanasia as the only method to resolve the problem.

Euthanasia can be realized with references to different techniques used. Active and passive methods of euthanasia should be chosen according to the patient’s state, the patient’s will, and the family members’ viewpoints (Nys). The supporters of euthanasia and their opponents discuss the controversial question of palliative treatment as one of the ways to realize euthanasia (Materstvedt). According to LeBaron, “theologically and morally it is acceptable for a patient to choose palliative treatments that may result in death” (LeBaron). The social vision of palliative treatment is not as negative as of euthanasia, but the procedures have the same results. The opponents of euthanasia can provide many arguments depending on the ethical and religious aspects of the question.

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Thus, Lahl pays attention to the fact that euthanasia is prohibited by the Hippocratic Oath because physicians must “never assist in suicide or practice euthanasia, nor suggest it” (Lahl 39). The religious argument is based on God’s right to give life and allow human death (Sheldon; Torr). However, medical science is often opposite to the religious principles, and ethical points should be discussed with references to the patient’s desire and perspectives for the recovery. Thus, euthanasia is possible, and the problem is only in the public’s opinion. Euthanasia should be discussed as the personal right to die along with the other human rights regarding personal life. Definite criteria to realize euthanasia in relation to the concrete cases should be stated clearly. It is the person’s right to choose active or passive euthanasia as well as palliative treatment.


Example #8 – interesting ideas

I am completely against euthanasia; I honestly think killing a person is does not answer any problems. The problem is in a philosophy class I’m taking I was forced to be the lawyer, or basically do all the talking, for the other side. The case: a boy with no arms or legs (cut off at the ankles and elbows) and could possibly have severe autism is born. It’s been five months, and the parents are not happy. They are a low-income family, both making a combined $37,500 a year ($7,000 above welfare). In 7 years they will need to pay over $900,000 for this child, leaving them in a half-million-dollar debt. What could I say to support/ go against euthanizing the baby? (arguments and counter-arguments)

Answer. Lucky you, for my English class we’re writing persuasive essays. I’ll give you my essay, you use what you want. (Im very passionate about this because my dad was terminally ill in the hospital with liver cancer and the doctors kept trying to tell him to try passive euthanasia and it was very painful.) Try to win the debate for me!

Two years ago, my father had liver cancer and was terminally ill in the hospital for ten days. From day one, many doctors suggested passive euthanasia for his condition, even though he was not in a lot of pain. He was under a lot of emotional stress, however, and the pessimistic doctors did not help. Had he agreed to euthanasia, not only would we have had even less time to say our goodbyes, but the decision would also have been influenced and pressured by the hospital. From my personal experience, it was an extremely painful time for my family because our last goodbyes were interrupted by many doctors who seemed to want nothing but to pull the plug. I want to make sure that this kind of treatment will never happen to another patient. After my father’s death, I started to do research on this controversial subject. Euthanasia, active or passive, should never be made legal. It weakens society’s respect for the sanctity of life. Secondly, allowing it will lead to worse care for the terminally ill. Finally, the gray area surrounding its usage will be abused if it is made legal.

Euthanasia weakens society’s respect for the sanctity of life. In other words, accepting euthanasia also accepts that some lives, such as those of the sick or disabled, are worth less than others. However, according to one of the documents that America holds highest in regard, the Constitution, all human beings are to be valued equally. Then how is it all right to purposely end the life of a patient but not all right to purposely end the life of someone else? Although euthanasia is a controversial topic, the issue has come up before. During World War II, the Nazis used euthanasia, then known as “mercy killing.” The point of “mercy killing” was to eliminate “life unworthy of life.” Six million people were killed, and without a doubt, we can all agree that this act did not value the importance of life.

If euthanasia is made legal, care for the terminally ill will become worse. It will undermine the commitment and motivation of doctors and nurses to saving lives in danger – why try if there is an easier, quicker solution? In other words, if “plan B” is easier and faster than “plan A”, there might as well not be a “plan A”. Another reason euthanasia should never be made legal is that as long as the patient is still alive, it is up to the hospital and loved ones to care for the patient and make him or her as comfortable as possible. If there are no loved ones, then it is the government’s responsibility. Civilized societies are defined by their treatment of their most vulnerable. Legalized euthanasia can also discourage a search for new cures and treatments for “incurable” diseases.

Many diseases were thought to be fatal until more advanced medical research provided cures for nowadays-simple diseases such as the common cold. What would’ve happened if euthanasia were used for the common cold years ago? Today, many diseases such as cancer are thought of as untreatable, but years into the future of medical research will make it easy to cure. If euthanasia will be used instead of finding treatment, we will not advance in medical technology. If euthanasia is made legal, the gray area surrounding its usage can easily be abused. Without a doubt, each patient’s case differs. There is no legitimate cutoff for the law to decide how ill is “ill enough”. Also, the law’s declaration of who decides the suicide has no way of being enforced, and according to whom is the suicide carried out? Who decides? The government that neither does know of nor has the time to research each specific case?

The family, who must pay the bills? Or the suffering patient, who is under the influence of painkilling drugs? The government will not be able to decide the laws because it is a subjective matter. Therefore, it is easy to abuse it, since there is no clear line, just a gray area. This gray area includes: can euthanasia be used even if the patient is treatable, but the hospital, family, or patient prefers death rather than a struggle for life? Then, what if the patient is clinically depressed? People say people have the right to their own deaths, then is normal suicide to be encouraged? As you can see, euthanasia would be hard to keep under control, as abuse and mistakes are impossible to entirely eliminate. People supporting euthanasia usually say these three points; first, if a terminally ill patient will die in a few days anyway, their suffering and pain should be ended, so it is humane. Second, humans have a right to their own deaths.

Please can anyone help me? I have a debate tomorrow on Euthanasia (pro side) and I don’t know what to say; the teacher told us to write a paragraph about what I’m supposed to say and it should last for about 4 minutes and I don’t know what to write about, I’ve been TRYING to find things I can write about but…it’s no good I have to state my reasons for why it’s right to die *sighs* but I’m hopeless.

Answer. I am a hospice nurse and I am not pro-euthanasia. I can tell you what some of the arguments for euthanasia are. Some people are just totally frightened of pain and being unable to control it. A painful death, not death itself is what most people will tell you that they fear. If a person has a terminal illness especially a slow-moving one like HIV or cancer that they believe will eventually end in a great deal of pain they may look at euthanasia as a very real and desirable option for the very end of their lives.

Many people are frightened of not being in control of their lives due to an illness like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) which robs you of the ability to move but leaves your mind intact. You are virtually trapped in your own body aware of what is happening around you but unable to help yourself. Those people may think that the only way to die with any dignity is by euthanasia. They get to control the time, place, and the way that they will die. Type euthanasia into your search engine. Also, type in the Hemlock Society. You will find plenty of pro-euthanasia information. It’s really interesting if you read it. If you ever have to debate the con side of euthanasia let me know, as a hospice nurse I can give you plenty to write about.

Euthanasia debates arguments and help, please!!? So I need to make and euthanasia debate with arguments in favor, I did it but mine was pretty bad so please can you tell me some arguments in favor of euthanasia or how to start my debate or something that really could help me please I am desperate I don’t know how to write a debate!!

Answer. Well, I’d start with the ‘Some diseases are incurable and isn’t a voluntary death under anesthesia preferable to a slow painful death’ Then I’d argue that ‘Dying is frightening and if that fear can be lived with for the shortest amount of time possible the shouldn’t it? No one should be afraid before they die. People fear dying, not death.’ Also, I’d probably mention how people say it is ‘kind’ to put an animal ‘out of its misery’ when they are suffering. Why is the same kindness not given to humans who ask for it?

Also: Euthanasia: Can quickly and humanely end a patient’s suffering, allowing them to die with dignity. Can help to shorten the grief and suffering of the patient’s loved ones. Everyone has the right to decide how they should die. Death is a private matter, and if you are not hurting anyone else, the state should not interfere. Most people would have their pets put down if they were suffering – this would be regarded as kindness. Why can’t the same kindness be given to humans? Illness can take away autonomy (the ability to make choices) and dignity, leaving you with no quality of life; euthanasia allows you to take back control in deciding to die Keeping people alive costs a lot of money, which could be used to save other people’s lives.

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