Euthanasia is basically described as the intentional killing of an individual for his/her benefit, and is usually carried out because the person who dies requests for it. While it can also be referred to as physician-assisted suicide, it's known as euthanasia because there are situations where the individual can't ask for it. As one of the major issues in the medical field, there are various laws regarding euthanasia in almost every country. The issue has continued to generate huge debates regarding its morality and legality. One of the major issues that have emerged regarding the practice is voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. This issue has attracted various reasons in support and opposition of both the voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. Despite these reasons and opinions, a middle ground position is the logical solution regarding euthanasia.
The practice of medicine means that physicians involved in this work are treading a narrow path between the life and death of a patient. Since these physicians and doctors are ordinary people, they may be irritable, frustrated by failure of some of their attempts, exhausted because of more work, and troubled by the challenges and difficulties at home. In some cases, these physicians may be emotionally unstable people resulting in the difficulty to trace and examine some of their actions. Regardless of these difficulties, patients have continually been safe in the hands of these doctors since physicians derive this ability from their education. Generally, physicians have the responsibility of improving the patient's health with the aim of keeping him/her alive through effective medical procedures. The medical adage has maintained its total and exact meaning, i.e. human life is sacred and inviolable (Fenigsen p 62).
In the modern world, a new generation of doctors has emerged as they learn that a physician can treat a patient and even cause his/her death intentionally. As a result, this practice has contributed to the terrifying thoughts on what's happening to the most humane profession. The wide consideration of euthanasia by physicians and the public in some places like Holland has led to reports that doctors are getting confused in their double role as healers and killers. Actually, some physicians have murdered hundred of severely ill patients who didn't request for euthanasia, even though some of them were completely conscious and reasonable.
On the other hand, patients who killed sick patients without their consent did so to relieve the families of these sick people rather than the patient's suffering. Some doctors have also admitted to killing patients because they needed their beds. Physicians asked to relieve pain took this as a platform to administer lethal injections, while some of them have taken the role of executioners since the kill people who are grieving rather than sick. For traditionally educated physicians, euthanasia is unworthy, wild, and completely unnecessary practice. However, for young physicians, euthanasia is one of the practices that is likely to result in some ethical aphorisms that need to be addressed. Therefore, since some patients in the modern world are likely to ask for euthanasia unlike in the past, this practice requires a middle ground solution.
Euthanasia is not considered as a standard clinical practice as physicians are not obligated to follow its advance directives except in cases of non-treatment directives (de Boer et. al, p 989). In addition, physicians do not have a moral responsibility to transfer patients to other physicians in cases of non-compliance with euthanasia directive or request. As advanced legislation on euthanasia has been enacted, the oral request for the practice can be replaced by an advanced directive, especially due to incompetence. As long as the other requirements of due care have been met, physicians may conduct euthanasia following an advanced directive.
Permitting or legalizing euthanasia has emerged as a major argument regarding the practice in the medical field. This argument has been proposed as concept to promote social change since some patients are likely to request it as a means of alleviating their suffering. Actually, the legalization of physician-assisted suicide is seen as an acceptance of voluntary euthanasia. The relationship between a person's brain or mind and body is used as one of the reasons in support of voluntary euthanasia. If an individual's brain stops working forever, the individual is no longer referred to as a person because his/her body is a life-support system that is not similar to the patient (McGee p 674). Due to the immobility of the person's body and complete dysfunction of his/her brain, voluntary euthanasia is considered as a suitable solution. Nonetheless, this argument is in itself mis-conceived the relationship between the brain and the body is misconstrued and incorrectly linked.
In addition, voluntary euthanasia also has some major drawbacks since allowing such a practice have some consequences that are morally unacceptable. Actually, once voluntary euthanasia is permitted, there is a possibility of failure to make a critical distinction, which contributes to the ethically unacceptable result of permitting involuntary euthanasia. In areas where voluntary euthanasia has been legalized, there has been an increase in non-voluntary euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia is not an exclusive solution to the practice because some patients are likely to request for the practice not because of their suffering associated with the illness but due to being tired with life. When a physician administers euthanasia in such situations, it becomes unsuitable because it was not conducted for its main reasons.
The other argument that has been raised regarding this practice is involuntary euthanasia that has been associated with the legalization of voluntary euthanasia. Actually, there are arguments and studies that have been conducted to show that legalization of voluntary euthanasia can result in the morally unacceptable consequence of permitting involuntary euthanasia (Lewis p 198). Involuntary euthanasia can be described as the administering of the practice by physicians based on the request of the patient's families and advanced directives. In some cases, involuntary euthanasia is usually conducted without the request or consent of the patient. Notably, the practice has also been administered without the consent of the patient's families as physicians do so in order to alleviate the patient's sufferings.
Similar to voluntary euthanasia, involuntary euthanasia is not an exclusive solution because of various drawbacks associated with it. They include the fact that the decision to administer euthanasia is left on the patient's families and doctor. This is likely to contribute to the increase in patient killings and the possibility of doctors to assume the role of executioners.
Efficiency of a Middle Ground Position:
While voluntary and involuntary euthanasia are not suitable solutions to the practice, a middle ground position can be regarded as the most appropriate and logical solution. This is largely because the two practices are likely to contribute to too many killing opportunities as physicians are likely to turn from being healers to killers. A middle ground position is a logical solution because it promotes the respect for the patient's autonomy and enables physicians not to refrain from treatment. Such a position ensures that the practice is conducted in suitable conditions and prevents its use in morally unacceptable conditions.
Generally, the middle ground position involves the use of euthanasia based on the existing patient conditions rather than the legality or morality of the practice. Unlike the voluntary and involuntary euthanasia, this position enables both patients and their physicians to have the right to determine the suitability of the practice. In this case, patients can request euthanasia to alleviate their sufferings and physicians can administer it if it's the most appropriate solution to the patient's medical condition. The middle ground position provides terminally-ill patients with the right to end their suffering with compassionate, speedy, and dignified death as stated by proponents of euthanasia ("Should Euthanasia or Physician-assisted Suicide be Legal?" par, 1). On the contrary, this position also provides physicians with the moral…