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Euthanasia is a Moral, Ethical, and Proper Social Policy
hen it is carried out with a competent physician in attendance and appropriate family members understand the decision and the desire of the ill person -- or there has been a written request by the infirmed person that a doctor-assisted death is what she or he desired -- euthanasia is a moral, ethical and proper policy. It offers a merciful end to a painful, hopeless and incurable illness or otherwise tragic situation. This paper argues that euthanasia is ethical and moral and moreover, notwithstanding objections from some individuals based on religious beliefs, is a perfectly honest and acceptable end to a life that is unwilling to go through a tortured and painful last few days.
The Literature on Euthanasia -- Public Opinion
Public opinion has varied over the years as to the morality and social acceptability of euthanasia. Some recent polling…
Abramson, Neil, Stokes, Jason, Weinreb, Neal J., and Scott, Clark. "Euthanasia and Doctor-
Assisted Suicide: Responses by Oncologists and Non-oncologists." Southern Medical
Journal, 91/7 (1998): 1-10.
Behuniak, Susan M. "Death with 'dignity' -- the wedge that divides the disability rights
Law of Euthanasia in California and New York
Types of Euthanasia
Is Euthanasia Justified in any Case?
Effect of Euthanasia on Special Population
Laws of Euthanasia in California and New York
The old saying life is not a bed of roses is as true today as it was centuries ago. There are uncountable joys in life which make life worth enjoying, while there are many hardships which make it tough. At times, the difficulties become so severe that people prefer death to life. One of the difficulties in life is in the form of disease. Sometimes diseases become so painful that the patients lose hope for their recovery and plan death. Sometimes, they ask the doctors to help them in getting relief from pain. This practice of ending one's life with the help of physician is known as physician-assisted suicide. It is also known as euthanasia.
Department of Health. (2011). Chapter 4 -- Decisions at Life's End: Existing Law. Retrieved from http://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/task_force/reports_publications/when_death_is_sought/chap4.htm
Euthanasia Procon. (2012). Top 10 Pros and Cons. Retrieved from http://euthanasia.procon.org/ view.resource.php?resourceID=000126
FindLaw. (2012). California Euthanasia Laws. Retrieved from http://statelaws.findlaw.com/california-law/california-euthanasia-laws.html
Euthanasia: Why it Should Be Permitted
Known as mercy killing in some quarters, euthanasia has over time become one of the most hotly debated issues. As with other controversial debates, many arguments have been presented both in support and in opposition of euthanasia with those actively involved in the debate basing their viewpoints mainly on ethical, medical as well as religious considerations. However, taking into account the various viewpoints on the same that have been presented over time, it would be prudent to permit euthanasia in certain conditions.
Euthanasia: An Overview
Euthanasia according to Thamson (1999) is "bringing about someone's death because to do so would be in that person's interests." In most cases, it is those with conditions considered incurable who undergo euthanasia. However, in some scenarios, people could ask that their life be ended for a variety of other reasons including but not limited to pain and mental…
The power to control the destiny of another person's life is an opiate which no person should have the ability to ingest when the control is over the persons life, or death. While medical technology has been creating new conditions by which individuals can live longer, and medical science has entered a new era regarding treatment of conditions which only a few years ago would haven the lives of those thus afflicted, there is one area over which medical science, and public policy, should not be allowed to reign. The subject of euthanasia contains within it a moral boundary over which we dare not cross.
There are two sides to the debate over euthanasia. Those in favor of the procedure claim that individuals should have a right over the destiny of their own life's course. The person who is suffering should be able to take up the right to…
P. Singer, Practical Ethics Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979.
P. Singer, "Bioethics and Academic Freedom" Bioethics, 4, no. 1, 1990
Wright, W. Historical Analogies, Slippery Slopes and the Question of Euthanasia. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Vol. 28, 2000
O. Tolmein, cited in B. Schone-Seifert and K-P. Rippe, "Silencing the Singer: Antibioethics in Germany," Hastings Center Report, 21, no. 6 (1991): 20-28.
Euthanasia is a difficult topic for many people, and opinions about it are often very strong. These opinions generally fall into two distinct categories: those who think everyone should have the right to choose, and those who think the practice should be completely illegal. There are several reasons why people have these deep-seated views regarding the issue, and it is important to address those in order to facilitate a better understanding of ideas and opinions on both sides. It is also important to be aware that some of the opinions regarding euthanasia are misguided in that they are formed without having enough knowledge about the issue. When people are not sure of the entirety of the issue, they can end up believing something negative (or positive) about an issue. Their views might be very different if they had all the information they needed to make a truly informed decision.
Harris, N.M. (2001). The euthanasia debate. JR Army Med Corps, 147(3): 367 -- 70.
Rachels, J. (1986). The end of life: Euthanasia and morality. Oxford University Press.
Torr, J.D. (2000). Euthanasia: opposing viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press.
There are many other related reasons for arguing against euthanasia and its acceptance or legalization. One is that it contradicts the medical code of ethics and the Hippocratic Oath, which, "…expressly forbids the giving of deadly medicine to anyone who asks" (Cauthen). The argument that euthenasia is an act of compassion and mercy can also be contradicted. There are many drugs available today that can be used to control pain; "Nearly all pain can be eliminated and - in those rare cases where it can't be eliminated - it can still be reduced significantly if proper treatment is provided" (easons for Euthanasia). There is also the contention that is euthanasia was legalized in society it could easily be abused for other purposes. It would be very difficult in some cases to distinguish acts of compassion from murder (Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: The Current Debate).
In the final analysis the argument…
Cauthen K. Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. Retrieved July 30, 2009, from http://www.frontiernet.net/~kenc/asuici.htm
Deontological Ethics. Retrieved July 30, 2009, from
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. hile 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…
De Boer, Marike E., Rose-Marie Dro Es, Cees Jonker, Jan A. Eefsting, and Cees M.P.M. Hertogh. "Advance Directives for Euthanasia in Dementia: How Do They Affect Resident Care in Dutch Nursing Homes? Experiences of Physicians and Relatives." Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 59.6 (2011): 989-96. Print.
Fenigsen, Richard. "Other People's Lives: Reflections on Medicine, Ethics, and Euthanasia." Issues in Law & Medicine 27.1 (2011): 51-70. Print.
Lewis, Penney. "The Empirical Slippery Slope from Voluntary to Non-Voluntary Euthanasia." Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (2007): 197-210. Print.
McGee, Andrew. "Me and My Body: The Relevance of the Distinction for the Difference between Withdrawing Life Support and Euthanasia." Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (2011): 671-77. Print.
Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, as what the most common definition says, is the (medical) process of killing somebody in a merciful manner and is aimed at putting an end to that person's pain and suffering.
The claimed justification for euthanasia first takes the moral high ground of compassion. When a truer form of compassion is found in palliative care, the ground shifts to an appeal to human rights, especially to the sovereignty of self- determination." (Gormally, 1997).
The questions that are attached to this process lies in the moral and humane aspect. Is it morally right to commit such action towards your loved one? Do you really think that you are helping that sick person by ending his life? Is euthanasia the only way to ease him/her from such pain and suffering? And what about the power of miracles and prayers coupled with the determination of that sick person to…
Arguments Against Euthanasia..2004. http://www.*****/Politics/97.htm
Brock, Dan. Deciding for Others. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Brody, Baruch. Life and Death Decision Making. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Callahan D. The Troubled Dream of Life. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.
Euthanasia is the practice of voluntarily ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering (Euthanasia.com/definitions). The act of euthanasia differs from the act of murder in that the person who will die makes the decision to end their life. In the case of murder, the person does not wish to end their life, but anther person intervenes to bring about their death against their wishes. Euthanasia is categorized as active and passive (Euthanasia.com/definitions). Passive euthanasia means failure to provide life prolonging medical treatment and letting a disease state take its natural course without intervention. Active euthanasia means to take measures to end a person's life (Euthanasia.com/definitions). hen the topic of euthanasia is discussed, active euthanasia is typically to what is being referred.
The debate over whether euthanasia, particularly physician-assisted suicide, is acceptable is a debate of global concern. The question has clearly defined sides of opposition.…
Hershey, Laura. "Euthanasia Opponents React to Holland's New Law." Disability world. 2011. Web. < http://www.disabilityworld.org/05-06_01/gov/euthanasia.shtml >. 18 May 2011.
Euthanasia.com. "Euthanasia Definitions." 2011. Web. < http://www.euthanasia.com/definitions.html > 18 May 2011.
Euthanasia.com. "History of Assisted Suicide." < http://www.euthanasia.com/history.html
Euthanasia.com. "Reasons for Euthanasia." 2011. Web.
This literature review supports the premise that opinions regarding euthanasia differ among various groups of professional. This literature review demonstrates that the nurse plays an important role in the perceived quality of the death experience. The study indicates that there is a need for training in a number of clinical settings regarding care of the dying and futile treatments. Literature indicated that differences exist between nurses that are new to palliative care and those that have been in the job for quite some time. The literature review supports the importance of this study and indicates that differences exist among various specialties and facilities. This study will play an important role in understanding how differences in attitudes towards euthanasia are affected by years of experience and clinical setting. The ultimate goal of the study will be to find ways to improve the experiences of dying patients and their families.
Badger, J. 2008. Critical Care Nurse Intern program: addressing psychological reactions related to critical care nursing. Crit Care Nurs Q. 31(2): 184-7.
Beckstrand, R. (2006). Providing a "good death": critical care nurses' suggestions for improving end-of-life care. Am J. Crit Care 15(1): 38-45.
De Bal, N. (2006). Involvement of nurses in caring for patients requesting euthanasia in Flanders (Belgium): a qualitative study. Int J. Nurs Stud. 43(5): 589-99
Emanuel EJ, Fairclough D, Clarridge BC, et al. (2000). Attitudes and practices of U.S. oncologists regarding euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Ann Intern Med. 2000;133:527-532
Again, my rebuttal to this argument is that proponents of euthanasia are not trigger-happy killers. Any legal request for euthanasia would have to be processed for validity by qualified doctors. Any signs of depression would be properly treated and a reasonable "cooling-off period" be provided to the patients to change their minds. Only a bare-minimum number of patients who are suffering without any chance of relief and only those who persistently wish to end their lives to avoid an undignified death would qualify for euthanasia.
It is also argued that advances in modern medicine have made it possible to alleviate all kinds of pain; hence there is no reason why any seriously ill person should suffer unbearable pain. This is a sweeping argument that is again not supported by solid facts. There are many terminal conditions such as full-blown aids and several forms of cancer in which no amounts of…
Moreland, J.P. And Norman L. Geisler. The Life and Death Debate: Moral Issues of Our Time. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1990.
Otlowski, Margaret. Voluntary Euthanasia and the Common Law. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997
Young, Robert. "Voluntary Euthanasia." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2002. April 15, 2005
I believe that the most important factor which supports the argument according to which euthanasia should be your legal right is represented by the individual's right and freedom to choose. And by this I mean that all people ought to be allowed the right to this sort of decision and not only the ones who are terminally ill. For example, people in an advanced state of Alzheimer or people who have to deal with painful effects of other diseases. "In exercising autonomy or self-determination, people take responsibility for their lives; since dying is a part of life, choices about the manner of their dying and the timing of their death are, for many people, part of what is involved in taking responsibility for their lives. Many people are concerned about what the last phase of their lives will be like, not merely because of fears that their dying might involve…
Arguments against euthanasia, BBC Ethics Guide, Retrieved September 29, 2010 from http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/euthanasia/
Arguments for euthanasia, BBC Ethics Guide, Retrieved September 29, 2010 from
It is important to realize that this perspective is still highly prevalent in many countries, and that even the notion of euthanasia could be hugely offensive to some people, especially in sensitive situations such as end-of-life discussion. While this argument is admittedly built on subjective individual views of morality, it is still a very valid ethical view (Paterson 2003).
Other ethicists take a more moderate, middle view of the issue, arguing that the right to decide when to die does apply in certain instances, but that abuses are too easily allowed in the systems set up by many countries (Cohen-Almagor 2001). The issue hinges upon the relationship between the physician and their patient, and the nature of advice, information, and persuasion. Specifically, it is the fine and often invisible line that exists between the presentation of full information to the patient and the use of persuasion on the part of…
The committee then informs the family about the decision and, when the request is granted, discusses with the patient how he or she will go through the procedure of euthanasia or PAS. When possible, the patient is asked to sign a declaration of will, which, together with a report on the procedure, will be included with his or her hospital records (Scheper 1994).
Some debaters have called attention to the significant moral difference between terminating life by euthanasia/PAS and allowing death by the withdrawal of life-sustaining, cure-oriented but useless equipment and treatment. Charles MckHann and other advocates advanced that respect for an autonomous and informed patient's request entitles his or her to respect for a request for help in dying (Gula 1999). ut opponents insisted on the moral difference between the withholding or withdrawal of treatment when nothing more can be done to significantly reverse the patient's physical state and…
1. Capron, Alexander Morgan and Michel, Viki. Will California Legalize Euthanasia? Commonweal, September 25, 1992 http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1252/is_n16_v119/ai_12302893
2. Gula Richard, reviewer. Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide: Killing or Caring? By Michael Manning. Christian Century: Paulist Press, May 5, 1999. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_14_116/ai_54588537
3. Philippsen, Bregje D. Onwuteak. Euthanasia and Old Age. Age and Ageing, November 1997. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2459/is_n6/_v26/ai_0206885
4. Scheper, TMJJ olde. Euthanasia: the Dutch Experience. Age and Ageing, January 1994. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2459/is_n1_v23/ai_14904640
Euthanasia has long been considered a compelling issue based on religious beliefs for which there are serious legal and ethical consequences. Those who support Euthanasia argue that it is the only viable solution for many people who do not desire to end their lives in a miserable fashion. They believe that terminating life by choice is the best possible resolution. On the other hand, many individuals believe that Euthanasia is a criminal act and that the behaviors surrounding the event are unethical. They argue that physicians who assist in the events leading up to a death by Euthanasia are immoral and should be punished for their crimes. However, another viewpoint exists that combines the two basic perspectives, created by Father Ned Cassem. If a person chooses to end life at the hands of Euthanasia, has settled all affairs, has been surrounded by family and friends at the time of death…
Hook, S. "In Defense of Voluntary Euthanasia." The New York Times 1 March 1987: 7-13.
Kass, L.R. "Why Doctors Must Not Kill." Commonwealth 118 (1991): 8-12.
Rachels, J. "Active and Passive Euthanasia." The New England Journal of Medicine 292 (1975):
Stein, C. "Ending a Life." The Boston Globe Magazine 14 March 1999: 13-21.
he findings reveal that the pain is unbearable yet the patients tend to become immune from it, or at least surrender to it. he purpose of this article as it relates to the topic of euthanasia is that one popular argument for the legalization of euthanasia is that it is inhumane to let a patient suffer. his study attempts to validate this argument by showing what exactly the patient is suffering from.
Coyle, N., Adelhardt, J., Foley, K.M. "Character of erminal Illness in the Advanced Cancer Patient: Pain and Other Symptoms During the Last Four Weeks of Life." Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 1990, Issue 5, p.p. 83 -93.
his study focuses on assessing and evaluating the levels of pain that a terminally ill, advanced cancer patient suffers from, particularly during the last four weeks of their life. his article relates to the topic of euthanasia in that it…
This is a collection of twenty-one essays presenting both sides of the euthanasia debate. Each essay addresses a specific issue on the topic but all focusing on either the fields of medial ethics, public policymaking or social philosophy as they relate to euthanasia. Such questions as the decisions facing the medical and political policymakers and how the answer to these questions will effect the elderly and terminally ill are what makes this text stand out from others on the same topic.
Schacter, S. "Quality of Life for Families in the Management of Home Care Patients with Advanced Cancer." Journal of Palliative Care. 1992, Issue 8, p.p. 61-66.
This study evaluates the quality of life of the caregiver of a home care patient suffering from advanced stages of cancer. The results are high satisfaction with the system.
There can be little doubt that most humans cherish life to the extent that they would choose immortality in a heartbeat, if that option was ever made available. However, while this observation may undoubtedly be true, there is an unstated qualification. And, that is, that humans will choose life only as long as it is imbued with dignity and vitality. In fact, the importance of this qualification is reflected in arguments favoring euthanasia. For, the case for euthanasia is usually built on the premise that life or the process of dying can prove to be a long and painful process, which slowly robs a person of his or her vitality and dignity. An agreement on the fact that human pain and suffering should be alleviated, and that human dignity is important, does not, however, automatically make euthanasia morally permissible or socially desirable. This is because there are several other…
BBC News. "Fireman's recovery stuns doctors." May 4, 2005. Accessed May 7, 2005:
Brock, D.W. "Voluntary Active Euthanasia." The Hastings Center Report. Vol. 22:2,
1992, p. 10+.
The philosophy for example recognizes that more than one person is involved in the euthanasia process. The person in most physical distress is the one afflicted with illness and requiring euthanasia as a solution. What deontology does not recognize is the suffering of family members. Consequentialism also considers the suffering of family members, who are emotionally and mentally distressed by observing the long-term suffering of the ill person. They are also often in financial distress because of increasing medical bills. When considered in this light, voluntary euthanasia has the best consequences for both the ill person and others suffering as a result of the illness.
When involuntary euthanasia is the question, the same arguments could hold. When the ill person is no longer rational, such as being in a coma or in a much deteriorated mental state, he or she can no longer significantly contribute to society. There is indeed…
Kay, C.D. Notes on Deontology. 1997. Retrieved from http://www.euthanasia.cc/telfer.html
Lacewing, M. And Pascal, J-M. Revise Philosophy for AS Level. 2007. New York: Routledge.
Ord, T. Consequentialism and Decision Procedures. University of Oxford, June 2005. Retrieved from http://www.amirrorclear.net/academic/papers/decision-procedures.pdf
Telfer, E. Philosophical approaches to the dilemma of death with dignity. Retrieved from http://www.euthanasia.cc/telfer.html
The most reported cases involved cancer patients, and in the majority of the cases, the procedure was conducted at home (Euthanasia pp).
Oregon is the only state that has legalized physician-assisted suicide, as residents voted for it at the Oregon Ballot Measure 16 in 1994, and voted against repealing it at the Oregon Ballot Measure 51 in 1997, however the state law has been attacked by a variety of organizations, as well as the United States government (Euthanasia pp). In 2003, some forty-two cases of physician-assisted suicide were reported in Oregon, which involved twelve cases where the physician was actually present, and all by drinking a barbiturate potion (Euthanasia pp).
In April 2005, it was reported that approximately 57% of the 1,000 physicians surveyed in a national poll believed that physician-assisted suicide was ethical, and 41% said they would endorse the legalization of physician-assisted suicide under a wide variety of…
Euthanasia. Retrieved September 26, 2005 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthanasia
Silverman, Jennifer. "Most doctors say physician-assisted suicide is ethical."
OB GYN News. April 01, 2005. Retrieved September 26, 2005 from HighBeam Research Library Web site
Moral Philosophy: Euthanasia
Euthanasia has been a hotly debated topic, off and on, for several decades. Public opinion was enflamed by the case of Dr. Kevorkian, in which the doctor claimed to be helping people claim their right to a dignified death. Euthanasia, also termed assisted suicide, has colored the moral discussions of individuals since the time of early philosophers. In taking a view point, people usually choose a philosophy based on their personal ethic. Either they say that no one has the right to choose the time they die, or they say that it is based on the utility of the decision. Whether that person takes the extreme Kantian view or the utilitarian, they have made a decision that can have consequences for others besides themselves. This essay will outline the philosophies of Kant and the Utilitarians, discuss how they look at euthanasia, and give an opinion as…
Rachels, J., & Rachels, S. (2006). The Right Thing to do: Basic Readings in Moral Philosophy, (4th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill, Education.
There is no question, the dying process is one of consummate emotional and physical loss for the individual dying and the individual(s) who is left to repair the life they have put on hold to lovingly usher their loved one out of this world. The situation is often so extreme that care providers see and do things that in life would have seemed improbable if not impossible and the dying patient can be left feeling debased and completely helpless to do anything about it. For the dying patient not having the ability to spare the care provider from having recurring remembrances of this gory and debasing existence, rather than the remembrances that are reflective of the individuals life can and often is emotionally devastating.
Opponents of the right to die demonstrate an unwavering expression of the need for individuals to have as much time as they can with…
Kamisar, Yale. "Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Problems Presented by the Compelling, Heartwrenching Case." Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 88.3 (1998): 1121-1146.
Palmer, Larry I. Endings and Beginnings: Law, Medicine, and Society in Assisted Life and Death. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2000.
Salem, Tania. "Physician-Assisted Suicide." The Hastings Center Report 29.3 (1999): 30.
Woodman, Sue. Last Rights the Struggle over the Right to Die. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing, 2000.
Ironically, before Dr., Kevorkian deliberately forced the hand of prosecutors by crossing the line between advice and action, all his prior involvement in assisting terminally ill patients to end their lives precisely demonstrated many of the very ethical principles that would be crucial to the application of laws to the physician's role in the choice to end one's life (Humphry, 2002).
Kevorkian restricted his efforts in that regard to patients who were already suffering from terminal illness; he eliminated clinical depression or other medical or psychological conditions known to cause suicidal desires; he interviewed patients extensively along with their families, he reviewed their medical histories carefully to confirm diagnoses; and he very specifically documented his patients' expressed desires in writing as well as on videotape in the presence of witnesses (Humphry, 2002).
Undoubtedly, the decision to end one's life is one of the most serious decisions that any person can…
Abrams, N., Bruckner, M.D. (1983) Medical Ethics: A Clinical Textbook and Reference for the Health Care Professional. Massachusetts: MIT.
Humphry, D. (2002) Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying. Junction: Norris Lane Press.
Martindale, M. (10/8/07) Kevorkian: Jail Reform Is His New Cause. The Detroit News. Retrieved, November 4, 2007, from: detnews.com Web site, at www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071008/METRO/710080323/1409
Miller, a.R. (1983) Miller's Court. New York: Random House.
ALLOWING AMERICANS TO END THEIR LIVES USING EUTHANASIA
Euthanasia is defined as the act of a physician intentionally ending the life of a person at the person's request. The physician will then administer the lethal substance to the person to end their life to relieve the pain and suffering they have been undergoing. The vital thing to note is that euthanasia is carried out by the physician upon the request of the patient who has a terminal illness and they are in severe pain (Cipriani & Di Fiorino, 2019). Considering there are conditions that are terminal and there is no likelihood of the patient recovering from the condition, it would be vital to allow the patient to make the ultimate decision to end their life and receive euthanasia. The suffering the patient will be going through could be severe and physicians cannot relieve the pain as pain medications are not…
Cipriani, G., & Di Fiorino, M. (2019). Euthanasia and other end of life in patients suffering from dementia. Legal Medicine, 40, 54-59.
Fontalis, A., Prousali, E., & Kulkarni, K. (2018). Euthanasia and assisted dying: what is the current position and what are the key arguments informing the debate? Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 111(11), 407-413.
Young, R. (1996). Voluntary euthanasia. In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford, CA: Stanford University.
In addition to racism, political and philosophical ideologies, and abortion, euthanasia is one of the foremost issues that divide people in the United States and the rest of the world. Some deem euthanasia as mercy killing. Others simply call it, killing. It is the taking of one's own life when a medical condition or illness becomes unbearable in terms of physical or emotional manifestations. Euthanasia is also called Physician's Assisted Suicide. The political mongering and the role of the religions cloud the whole issue of euthanasia. The Hippocratic Oath also becomes a football that is tossed around with abandon. How literally can, "(Physicians) First, Do No Harm" be taken. (Miles, 2004) In fact, does prolonging pain serve the Oath to its original intent? This essay will discuss these manifestly arguable issues.
Dr Kevorkian is known as Dr. Death. (Vonnegut, 1999) This benevolent, unassuming medic made it his lifelong ambition…
Betterhhumans.org. (2003). No Good Arguments against Euthanasia: Report. Betterhumans.org. Retrieved August 20, 2003, from the World Wide Web: http://www.betterhumans.com/Errors/index.aspx?aspxerrorpath=/searchEngineLink.article.2003-02-21-3.aspx
Biblegateway.com. (2003). Bible. Biblegateway.com. Retrieved August 20, 2003, from the World Wide Web: http://www.biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/bible
Griffiths, J., Bood, A., & Weyers, H. (1998). Euthanasia and law in the Netherlands. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Hare, R. (1971). Personality and Science: an interdisciplinary discussion. Edinburgh: CIBA Foundation.
Taking one's life as a result of the fact that the respective person is expected to suffer inhumane pain for several years until his or her death cannot possibly be compared with murder or suicide. Morality should actually be combined with logics in understanding euthanasia and people need to be more sympathetic and less egocentric regarding individuals who prefer euthanasia as the "safe way out."
Allen, Jen & Chavez, Sonia & Desimone, Sara & Howard, Debbie & Johnson, Keadron & Lapierre, Lucinda & Montero, Darrel & Sanders, Jerry "Americans' Attitudes toward Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide, 1936-2002," Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare 33.2 (2006)
Dowbiggin, Ian a Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003)
Gailey, Elizabeth Atwood Write to Death: News Framing of the Right to Die Conflict, from Quinlan's Coma to Kevorkian's Conviction (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003)
Neuhaus, Richard John "The…
Allen, Jen & Chavez, Sonia & Desimone, Sara & Howard, Debbie & Johnson, Keadron & Lapierre, Lucinda & Montero, Darrel & Sanders, Jerry "Americans' Attitudes toward Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide, 1936-2002," Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare 33.2 (2006)
Dowbiggin, Ian a Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003)
Gailey, Elizabeth Atwood Write to Death: News Framing of the Right to Die Conflict, from Quinlan's Coma to Kevorkian's Conviction (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003)
Neuhaus, Richard John "The Always Lively Newsletter Catholic Eye Reflects on Why it Is That Older People Who Are Strongly Pro-Life Are Tempted to Succumb to a Measure of Ambivalence When the Subject Turns to Euthanasia," First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life May 2007: 65
In North America most people die that can be called a bad death. A study found that "More often than not, patients died in pain, their desires concerning treatment neglected, after spending 10 days or more in an intensive care unit" (Horgan, 1996).
The term Euthanasia has originated from the Greek language: eu meaning "good" and thanatos meaning "death." However, according to the Netherlands State Commission, another meaning given to the word is "the intentional termination of life by another at the explicit request of the person who dies" (Netherlands State Commission).
Thus, the word euthanasia generally means that the person who wishes to commit suicide must commence the action. However, according to some people definition, euthanasia comprises both voluntary as well as involuntary execution of life. According to the moral, religious, ethical terms, the word "euthanasia" has many meanings, resulting in mass confusion. Therefore, it is vital…
Horgan, John. Right to Die. Scientific American, May 1996.
Netherlands State Commission on Euthanasia. Definition of Euthanasia.
DeathNet. Oregon Death With Dignity Act. http://www.rights.org/~deathnet/ergo_orlaw.html
Matas, Robert. Oregon Reconsiders Death-With-Dignity Law. The Globe and Mail Newspaper, Toronto ON, Nov 3, 1997 (p. A1)
As palliative care specialist Dr. Gilbert puts it, "Despite this close involvement with the very patients for whom euthanasia is advocated we do not encounter any persistent rational demand" [Southern Cross ioethics Institute]. The very point of 'Advanced Directives' is in itself confounding issue as frequently it is the patient's imaginary fears about loss of body functions and pain that drives them to such conclusions.
So it is cleanly obvious that in palliative care settings it is not uncommon for patients to succumb to momentary pain and wish for euthanasia but very rarely such requests are persistent. Instead of legalizing euthanasia, efforts must therefore be concentrated on improving the palliative care. This could take the form of improving pain control measures and providing loving and caring service to patients.
Legalizing Euthanasia (Implications)
Very few nations in the world have legalized euthanasia. Holland was the first country to do so and…
Eric Gargett, "Changing the Law in South Australia," World Right-to-Die
Newsletter, May 2001, p. 3. (a World Federation of Right to Die Societies
Richard a. Epstein, "Voluntary Euthanasia," Accessed on November 29th 2004, http://www.lse.ac.uk/clubs/hayek/Ama - gi/Volume1/number1/voluntary_euthanasia.htm
" This action according to Humphrey allows personal responsibility for family decision making to be broadened to a reasonable level.
Humphrey also lays strong claims for the medical responsibilities of euthanasia because of the overemphasis on life-support to prolong human suffering rather than allow certain and peaceful death. Humphrey's believes that the medical community needs be an example to individuals by stopping making decisions for the family based on technological progress of aggressive treatments. "People dread having their loved ones put on such equipment if it means they are never likely to be removed if that proves later to be the mores sensible coarse." (155) in short, Humphries contends that passive euthanasia is a personal and private responsibility and that the medical responsibility lies in stepping back and allowing individuals to make such decisions without fear of reprisal.
Ledermans's more personal account is of herself having to make decisions for…
The foremost contentious concern lately has been the issue of granting legal status to the right to die with dignity, or euthanasia. Similar to the issue of death sentence or suicide, euthanasia is contentious as it entails killing an individual through a conscious decision. (The right to a dignified death - need for debate) "Euthanasia" derived from the Greek term implying "good death" is some activity we perform or otherwise which results in, or is planned to result in death, to liberate a person from pain. This is occasionally known as "mercy killing." (Reflections on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide) Giving a legal sanction to euthanasia is a vital referendum upon the social standing of those incapacitated in America nowadays. (Euthanasia: The Disability Perspective on the Right to Die Movement) Euthanasia can be attained either though an intentional process, or by refraining to take an action intentionally. In any one…
Abergavenny, Roger Dobson. (22 February, 2003) "Society should accept that euthanasia is a personal decision, report says." British Medical Journal. 326:416. Retrieved from http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/326/7386/416/d Accessed on 4 May, 2005
"Arguments against Euthanasia: Euthanasia is against the word and will of God." Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/ethics/sanctity_life/euthagod.shtml Accessed on 3 May, 2005
"Arguments against Euthanasia" Retrieved from http://www.euthanasia.com/argumentsagainsteuthanasia.html Accessed on 3 May, 2005
'Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia" Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?rid=cmed.section.17469 Accessed on 3 May, 2005
This can ultimately become the justification for refusal to euthanize a person even if they have given their permission. While the rights of the individual must be respected, even if they wish to die, others cannot, must not, accede to the individuals' wishes if they do not agree with it. The underlying basis of euthanasia must be the ending of a life who's continuance is generally accepted as an "evil." Many times the individual seeking to be euthanized, because they are at the center of the issue, cannot make an objective decision about their future. And since they need the assistance of others to complete the act of euthanasia, it is up to the others to refuse to euthanize a person they feel is not continuing a life that can be considered "evil."
This leads to the question of when does the continuance of a life constitute an "evil," and…
Foot, Philippa. (1977). "Euthanasia." Philosophy and Public Affairs, 7(2). Print.
Euthanasia: The Right to Die, the Right to Life -- a Continuing Controversy
The idea of willing terminating an individual's life, even according to his or her consent, remains one of the most controversial "rights" in today's contemporary debate over where the state's ability to intrude upon the individual body begins. As Ronald Dworkin notes in his article, "Sex, Death, and the Courts," it is true that "millions of people think that doctors are murderers if they help patients, even those dying slowly in great pain, to kill themselves." Yet, the American Medical Association confirmed its longstanding opposition to euthanasia, "and most states have made assisting suicide a crime." (Dworkin, 1996) Individuals claim that the state has no right to poke its nose into what they do, behind closed curtains. Yet euthanasia often requires a physician's assistance. Moreover, in legal cases that involve the hospital, the courts are forced the…
Dworkin, Ronald. "Sex, Death and The Courts." The New York Review of Books. August 8, 1996. Retrieved from the Web at http://www.nybooks.com/authors/90
Dworkin, Ronald. "Assisted Suicide: The Philosopher's Brief." The New York Review of Books. March 27, 1997. Retrieved from the Web at
Science and technology has allowed humans to treat a myriad of diseases that were previously terminal. This is no longer a question of whether prolonging life is possible. Instead, physicians and scientists must grapple with a more difficult dilemma - whether life should be artificially prolonged in the first place.
Despite the passing of the Physician Assisted Law (PAS) in Oregon and the legality of assisted suicide in the Netherlands, people generally frame euthanasia as a moral instead of a legal issue.
Terry Golway, frames the issue in its larger effects of society. Euthanasia threatens the current way of life of people of are "God fearing and life-affirming" (629). It threatens to erode the respect and compassion traditionally accorded to the elderly, who are now merely "people who want to be gotten rid of" (629).
Furthermore, together with abortion, the growing acceptance of euthanasia brings the United States closer…
Golway, Terry. "The Culture of Death."
Goodman, Ellen. "Who Lives? Who Dies? Who Decides?"
McMahan, Jeff. The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
In this case, there would be little benefit to society as compared to the individual's right to be free from pain and to make autonomous decisions. According to Singer's utilitarianism, euthanasia is therefore the ethical choice.
Sarah Banks writes on the practical application of these ethics, with a special focus on the caring professions. For Banks, codes of ethics are not rigid rulebooks with prescriptions on the minutiae of professional practice. This thus opens the possibility that there are cases where social workers could find euthanasia to be the ethical choice, such as cases of extreme pain and suffering for terminally ill patients.
Since euthanasia is largely a question of morality and ethics, addressing this question through legislation will do little to quell the debate. The only certainty is that as science continues to advance, society will continue to grapple with the moral questions raised by…
In this way, scare scenarios would be avoided.
Girsh places euthanasia in a rights-based framework, indicating that physician-assisted suicide should be a right protected by the law. Furthermore, she notes that doctors should never have to endure the humiliation of imprisonment or the scourge of losing their job and sabotaging their careers. Euthanasia is not the evil that many Americans perceive it to be. It does not entail wanton killing of innocent persons against their will and it also does not entail allowing a person to commit suicide on a whim, because they are temporarily in pain. Euthanasia is permissible in certain extreme circumstances such as when a terminal disease has reached an end stage. If laws are drafted clearly and interpreted correctly by the courts then euthanasia will not be an abused privilege like many fear, but a legitimate way to ensure quality of life for all American citizens.
He argues that if society were to allow the terminally ill to commit suicide, then it would be a small step to allow other members of society -- like the handicapped -- to do so as well. This is not a completely trivial argument for two reasons: first, it is the point-of-view held by the majority of the Christian right -- a powerful political force in the Untied States; and second, if we accept his principle that life is intrinsically valuable, regardless of individual's rights over their own bodies, then we should be inclined to believe that active euthanasia is always wrong. Yet, Otremba is willing to concede that passive euthanasia may, sometimes, be permissible; this, however, only under the conditions of extreme suffering and impending death.
Fundamentally, it is a precarious moral position to contend that each and every human life demands society's active preservation. Otremba, and many others,…
Callahan, Daniel. (1992). "When Self-Determination Runs Amok." Hastings Center Report, March/April.
Dworkin et al. (2003). "Assisted Suicide: the Philosophers' Brief." Ethical Issues in Modern Medicine: Sixth Edition. London: McGraw-Hill. Pages, 382-393.
Emanuel, Ezekiel J. (1994). "The History of Euthanasia Debates in the United States and Britain." History of Medicine, Vol. 121, Issue 10.
International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force. (2000). "Arguments for Euthanasia are Unconvincing." Euthanasia: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press.
A person should always have the opportunity to die with dignity and perhaps even "discover the meaning of one's life" as pointed out by Pythia Peay.
At the very least, those that hold contrasting opinions on euthanasia should be able to come to an agreement that medical treatment must never be superseded by moral treatment. Even though the science of medicine is often highly specialized, it must never go against the moral ideals of the terminally-ill patient. Undoubtedly, there are many risks associated with euthanasia, but in the end, it should be the patient who decides. But in cases where the patient cannot respond nor make decisions, a living will appears to be the best solution, for this document clearly states the wants and desires of the person in case their lives turn for the worse and if they end up connected to a machine in order to stay alive,…
Athanaselis, Sotiris. (2002). "Asphyxial Death by Ether Inhalation and Plastic Bag Suffocation Instructed by the Press and the Internet." Internet. Vol. 4. Issue 3. Article e18. Journal of Medical Internet Research. Accessed May 1, 2005. http://www.jmir.org/
Brock, Dan W. (2002). "Physician-Assisted Suicide is Sometimes Morally Justified." Physician-Assisted Suicide. Ed. Gail N. Hawkins. San Diego: Greenhaven Press.
Euthanasia.com -- Definitions." (2005). Internet. Euthanasia.com. Accessed May 1, 2005. http://www.euthanasia.com/definitions.html .
Euthanasia Is Illegal
Euthanasia otherwise known as assisted suicide refers to the painless extermination of a patient suffering from terminal illnesses or painful or incurable disease. According to Cavan & Dolan, euthanasia is the practice or act of permitting the death of hopelessly injured or sick individuals in a painless means for the purpose of mercy (Cavan & Dolan 12). The techniques used in euthanasia induce numerous artifacts such as shifts in regional brain chemistry, liver metabolism and epinephrine levels causing death. Advocates of euthanasia trust that sparing a patient needless suffering or pain is a good thing. If an individual is hopelessly hurt or ill with no hope of ever getting well, if such a person is in an unending and unbearable pain and cannot experience the things that make life meaningful, the best option for such patients is euthanasia. Euthanasia raises questions on morals, legal and essence of…
Baird, R. Caring for the Dying: critical issues at the edge of life. New York: Prometeus Books 2003, pp.117
Cavan, Seasmus, Dolan, Sean. Euthanasia: The Debate over the right to die. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, Oct 1, 2000.
Cohen-Almagor, R. Euthanasia in the Netherlands: The policy and practice of mercy killing. Netherlands: Springer, Aug 3, 2004.
Devettere, Raymond. Practical decision making in health care ethics: Cases and concepts. Georgetown: Georgetown University Press, 2009.
56). This refers the fact that the AMA "…allows the withdrawal of what it calls extraordinary means of preserving life" (Sullivan, 1977, p. 56). Ordinary means refers to " & #8230;All medicines, treatments and operations which would offer a reasonable hope of benefit for the patient ands which can be obtained and used without excessive expense, pain and other inconveniences" (Sullivan, 1977, p. 57). Extraordinary means refers to "… all those medicines, treatments, and operations which cannot be obtained without excessive expense, pain, or other inconveniences, or which, if used, would not coffer a reasonable hope of benefit" (Sullivan, 1977, p. 57).
The implied intention is therefore to do as much as possible ensure the continuation of life without promoting suffering in the face of a hopeless situation.
If we take this point into account then the intention of the AMA document becomes clear and the views that achels suggest…
Decisions Near the End of Life: CEJA Report (1992) Jama, 267( 16), pp. 2229-2233)
Callahan D. ( 1992) When Self-Determination Runs AmoK. Hastings. Hastings Center
Report, March- April.
Kuhse H. And Singer P. Killing and Letting Die (Publishing details not provided)
The word Euthanasia has been the cause of much debate about its legality and whether such a practice is even ethical or not. The anti-argument for this cause has mostly been raised from more controversial background, while the pro argument has come up from the liberal camp. The reason for such ferocity in the debate has been the resultant of the lack of understanding of the real meaning of the world, since mostly its real meaning has been distorted to find definitions that would suit each camp. Therefore the most primary step in this regard than becomes to take into consideration the definition of the word itself.
The dictionary defines the term Euthanasia as "the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in relatively painless way for reasons of mercy" (Euthanasia). However, the general perception of…
Definition of Euthanasia. 4th April 2011. 24th September 2011 .
Euthanasia. n.d. 24th September 2011 .
Booker Prize-winning novel Amsterdam by Ian Mcewan is not really about euthanasia per se; it is about the twisted relationships between the two main characters, Clive Linley, composer, and Vernon Halliday, newspaper editor. Deeply affected by the death of their mutual friend and lover Molly Lane, Clive and Vernon agree that if they should ever exhibit the symptoms of some deadly illness, that they agree to assist the other in euthanasia. Thus, the two friends initially start out by presenting a view of euthanasia that is strongly ethical; euthanasia is a meaningful and sometimes even necessary means to alleviate unnecessary suffering. After all, life is already filled with enough suffering. Extension of life by a matter of days, weeks, or even years does not necessarily equate with promoting the values inherent to a good quality of life.
As the events of the novel progress, however, Vernon and Clive demonstrate that…
McEwan, Ian. Amsterdam. New York: Anchor, 1999.
Collaborative Learning Community -- Analysis of an Ethical Dilemma
Collaborative Learning Community: Analysis of an Ethical Dilemma
Euthanasia and related ethical implications
Euthanasia, referred to as "mercy killing" in common parlance, is the action of ending the life of an individual suffering from painful and extended injury or illness (Center for Health Ethics, 2011). Euthanasia implies that another individual, excluding the patient carries out an action with the intention of ending the patient's life, for instance, a lethal dose of medicine being injected into the patient. It might be voluntary if the patient approves of it, involuntary if the patient says no to it, or even non-voluntary if the patient is unable to approve of it. In euthanasia, an individual makes the means of death available in addition to acting as death's direct agent (American Nurses Association, 2013).
Euthanasia is the act of putting the life of a patient to…
American Nurses Association . (2001). Code of Ethics for Nurses with interpretive statements. Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Publishing.
American Nurses Association. (2013). Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and Aid in Dying. ANA Center for Ethics and Human Rights.
Bartels, L., & Otlowski, M. (2010). A right to die? Euthanasia and the law in Australia. J Law Med, 532-55.
Bulow, H., Sprung, C., Reinhart, K., Prayag, S., Du, B., & Armaganidis, A. (2008). The world's major religions' points-of-view on end-of-life decisions in the intensive care unit. Intensive Care Med, 423-30.
Suffering is part of life. People feel joy and they feel pain. Christianity and Buddhism share many similarities when it comes to suffering. Christianity provides the story of Job and his suffering at the hands of Satan. Buddhism offers Siddhartha and his journey into enlightenment. While Christianity and Buddhism differ in how they respond to suffering, both are aware suffering is inevitable. The case study of George and his diagnosis of ALS is similar to the stories of Job and Siddhartha. All three came from a means of success and then suffered later on. But it is how that suffering is interpreted that the worldview of each faith can be examined and thus applied to the case of George and his difficulties with ALS.
To begin, Christianity has always included the idea of suffering, with the story of Job being the most prominent example. Job was a good man that…
Hesse, H. (2008). Siddhartha (1st ed., p. 19). [Waiheke Island]: Floating Press.
Jordt, I. (2007). Burma's mass lay meditation movement (1st ed.). Athens: Ohio University Press.
Kruse, C. (2012). Paul's letter to the Romans (1st ed., p. 467). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.
Olson, C. (2005). The different paths of Buddhism (1st ed., p. 49). New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.
Euthanasia (active and Passive)
A Moral Philosophy Paper
Euthanasia is the practice of ending a person's life for the sole purpose of relieving the person's body from excruciating pain and suffering due to an incurable disease. The term euthanasia is often referred as mercy killing or the 'good death' as derived from the Greek. Euthanasia can be classified into four categories. In active euthanasia, a person's life is terminated by a doctor through a lethal dose of medication. Passive euthanasia implies non-provision of life-sustaining treatment to a patient based on logical reasoning or in other words doing nothing to save a person's life by abstaining to give life saving measures like putting a person on artificial respirator. Simple way of distinguishing active and passive form of euthanasia is a mere difference between act and omission. The other forms include voluntary euthanasia in which a person's consent is obtained for either…
Article on Introduction, background, laws, prevalence and ethical concerns on Euthanasia, Msn Encarta
Euthanasia Should Be Legal, The Guardian Newspaper, 12/9/2004
Euthanasia, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Euthanasia comes from the Greek phrase meaning "good death," ("Euthanasia" 112). The various practices that fall under the general rubric of providing a person with the means for a "good death" include physician-assisted death, also referred to as physician-assisted suicide. Until recently, all forms of euthanasia were illegal in the United States and in most other developed countries but within the past generation, these laws have been liberalized so that citizens in democratic societies increasingly have access to a "good death." Physician-assisted suicide occurs under the guidance of an experienced and qualified physician, who is not legally obliged to agree to the practice. Therefore, no coercion takes place. The doctor is not permitted legally or ethically to coerce a patient into dying prematurely and the patient is likewise not ethically or legally allowed to persuade their doctor to intervene on their behalf. hat physician-assisted death laws do allow is for…
"Euthanasia." Chapter 10.
Lee, Richard. "Kant's Four Illustrations." Retrieved online: http://www.uark.edu/campus-resources/rlee/iethsu06/oh/k-4egs.html
"State-by-State Guide to Physician-Assisted Suicide." Retrieved online: http://euthanasia.procon.org/ view.resource.php?resourceID=000132
Warren, Mary Anne. "On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion."
The word euthanasia originates from the Greek, its root words meaning "good" and "death." This understanding lies at the heart of the concept, which in the modern sense is defined as a person choosing to end their own life. This is not normally taken in the same context as suicide, but rather as a physician-assisted death, so that the person chooses how and when they will die, and that they may do so in a peaceful and painless manner. The term is not usually understood to encompass things like 'do not resuscitate" orders, where a physician is ordered not to save a person, but rather is specifically applied to situations where the person is actively killed, usually through the administration of drugs.
Euthanasia has become a hot button topic of late in the medical community, in particular in the field of medical ethics. In most societies, there are taboos…
Gorsuch, Neil M.. Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press, 2006. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 15 March 2016.
Hippocratic Oath. Retrieved April 6, 2016 from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/greek/greek_oath.html
Nielsen, T. (1998). Guidelines for legalized euthanasia in Canada: A proposal. Annals of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Canada, Vol. 31 (7) 314-318.
Sanson, Ann, Elizabeth Dickens, Beatrice Melita, Mary Nixon, Justin Rowe, Anne Tudor, and Michael Tyrrell. "Psychological Perspectives on Euthanasia and the Terminally Ill: An Australian Psychological Society Discussion Paper." Australian Psychologist 33.1 (1998): 1-11. Web.
Euthanasia is an emotionally charged topic of debate, and it is easy to lose sight of the facts when people talk about wanting to kill themselves for whatever reason. Most of the people that seek physician-assisted suicide are suffering from terminal illnesses that cause them a great deal of pain that cannot be properly controlled with medications. For these individuals, the relief of death is preferred to their continuing suffering. The ethical debate over euthanasia, though, is colored by millennia of human thinking concerning the value of life and biblical proscriptions against suicide in any form. This paper examines the arguments in support of euthanasia as well as arguments against the practice to determine the facts and to provide rationale in support of legalizing euthanasia.
Humans can be said to really own one thing outright: their lives. There are laws in most countries, though, that prevent people from…
Keown, J. (2002). Euthanasia, ethics, and public policy: An argument against legalization.
Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Marcoux, I. & Mishara, B.L. (2007, May/June). Confusion between euthanasia and other end-
of-life decisions. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 98(3), 235.
The author of this report has been asked to answer a few brief questions and take a position on the subject of euthanasia. The first question will be a definition and distinction between active euthanasia and passive euthanasia. The question of ethical issues for each type will be raised. The laws in each state regarding euthanasia will be covered. Finally, there will be a position taken by the author of this report and it will be based on scholarly research from roughly four sources. While euthanasia may be controversial to some, there are some situations where people are going to do what they are going to do and allowing them the easier and more dignified path is the way to go.
When it comes to the definition of active or passive euthanasia, the difference is pretty clear. Active euthanasia, as defined by the British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) is…
Barone, E. (2014). See Which States Allow Assisted Suicide. TIME.com. Retrieved 4 June 2015, from http://time.com/3551560/brittany-maynard-right-to-die-laws/
BBC. (2015). BBC - Ethics - Euthanasia: Active and passive euthanasia. Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2015, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/euthanasia/ overview/activepassive_1.shtml
BBC. (2015). BBC - Ethics - Euthanasia: Religion and euthanasia. BBC.co.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2015, from
Euthanasia, Should Terminally Ill Patients Be Allowed to End Their Lives Via Assisted Suicide
TEMINALLY ILL PATIENTS BE ALLOWED TO END THEI LIVES VIA ASSISTED SUICIDE
Euthanasia, notably called assisted killing or mercy killing, is perhaps one of the medical prescriptions that have always raised varied and multifaceted arguments, most of which have never reached any solid conclusion. Clinicians are prone to take every necessary step necessary to keep the health of a patient at stable conditions. Nonetheless, there come a time when the patient knows, together with the clinician, that there is a lesser chance of survival. In such situations, health professionals are stuck between assisting the patient to die, notably by using an external means, or letting him or her to fight for life until death, something that might be painful, both to the clinicians, the patients, and even the loved ones. Assisting a patient to die, with…
Weber, W. (2000). Dutch Proposal for Children's Right To Euthanasia Withdrawn. Lancet, 356(9226), 322.
Euthanasia Should e Illegal
Euthanasia is the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing death, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, often painful, disease or condition (Euthanasia, Infoplease.com). Today, medical advances have made it possible to prolong life in patients with no hope of recovery, and the term negative euthanasia has arisen to classify the practice of withholding or withdrawing extraordinary means (e.g., intravenous feeding, respirators, and artificial kidney machines) to preserve life. Positive euthanasia, on the other hand, has come to refer to actions that actively cause death such as administering a lethal drug.
Much debate has arisen in the United States among physicians, religious leaders, lawyers, and the general public over euthanasia (Euthanasia, Infoplease.com). Pro-euthanasia societies were founded in 1935 in England and 1938 in the United States. The Hemlock Society is one group that has pressed for right-to-die…
Active Euthenasia - A Kantian Perspective." PlanetPapers. 07 Dec. 2003. http://www.*****/Assets/1710.php.
Bopp, James, and Coleson, Richard. "The Constitutional Case Against Permitting Physician-Assisted Suicide for Competent Adults with "Terminal Conditions." Oregon Right to Life. 07 Dec. 2003. http://www.ortl.org/suicide/constitutional_case_2.html.
Burke, J. Balch and O'Steen, David N.. "Why We Shouldn't Legalize Assisting Suicide." National Right to Life Committee. 08 Dec. 2003. http://www.nrlc.org/euthanasia/asisuid4.html.
Chastain, Jane. (2003, Sept. 4). "Another 9-11 Date With Death." WorldNetDaily.com. 08 Dec. 2003. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=34416 .
euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide on ReligiousTolerance.org, most people in North America die "a bad death," one characterized by pain, being unable to participate in their medical treatment program, or after spending over ten days in intensive care. A prevailing belief that any sign of life is preferable to death fuels arguments against the practice of voluntary euthanasia, distinguished from involuntary euthanasia in that the suicide is requested directly by the person in question. Euthanasia is one of the most controversial subjects in medial ethics today. On one side of the argument, organizations like the Hemlock Society have pushed for legislation that permits physician-assisted suicide (PAS). These efforts have met with a degree of success in the United States; in 1994 Oregon passed the Death with Dignity Act allowing PAS. However, there is even a distinction between voluntary euthanasia and PAS: with PAS, the physician simply provides the means with which…
Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide: Introduction." Religious Tolerance.org. http://www.religioustolerance.org/euth1.htm .
Gula, Richard. "Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide: Killing or Caring?" Christian Century. 5 May 1999. Online at Find Articles.com. http://www.findarticles.com/cf_0/m1058/14_116/54588537/p1/article.jhtml?term=euthanasia .
Leutwyler, Kristen. "In Cases of Euthanasia, Men Most Often Kill Women." Scientific American. 24 Sept 2001. Online at http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000B5030-819D-1C61-B882809EC588ED9F&catID=1 .
Detriments of Euthanasia
In recent years there have been increased calls for the acceptance of euthanasia. The practice has been legalized in some European states, such as Switzerland, Holland and Belgium as well as some U.S. states, including Oregon, Montana and Washington (Steck et al., 2013). The increasing acceptance appears to indicate that the benefits of the practice outweigh the costs, but any consideration of euthanasia should also consider the potentially severe detriments. Three hypotheses will be considered in this paper; that euthanasia may lead to the devaluation of life, that euthanasia may increase social divisions, and euthanasia may reduce the attention and commitment to developing effective palliative care.
Euthanasia may result in a devaluation of life
One of the main detriments is the way that the availability of euthanasia may devalue life; it can be easily forfeited when it is perceived as being of a lesser quality, the…
An area of significant concern may be the way in which social divisions may impact on the practice of euthanasia. In Oregon, where euthanasia is legal, Kaldjian (2001) found that of those requesting euthanasia, 60% indicated that one of the influences was a desire not to be a burden. Invariably, those who are most likely to feel there are a burden will come from backgrounds where they will require a higher level of social support, often families of a lower social or economic status, which may also be aligned with ethnic minorities and lower education (Ward, 1980). The disparities which may lead to the desire to avoid being a burden are known to more prevalent with in ethnic minorities, and disadvantaged social groups, were ironically, there is likely to be a higher level of terminal illnesses at younger ages due to the health disparities (Geiger et al., 2007). Interestingly, it is noted that ethnic minorities tend to have a lower level of trust in authorities with regard to decisions made euthanasia and the overall practice (Ward, 1980).
Euthanasia may reduce the attention and commitment to developing effective palliative care.
If increasing numbers of people request euthanasia, rather than live
Euthanasia is a big health controversy that has been discussed for many decades. People hold differing beliefs and opinions in regards to euthanasia. The term euthanasia basically means the practice of willingly terminating a person's life in order to relieve the person of any suffering or pain. Taking of the person's life is usually at the express instructions of the person. There are two different kinds of euthanasia involuntary and voluntary euthanasia. According to Jochemsen and Keown (1999)
voluntary euthanasia involves the patient having requested that their life be taken in case they suffer from an incurable disease which is causing them too much suffering and pain. Involuntary euthanasia occurs when a doctor or physician makes the decision to terminate a patient's life because the patient cannot recover and keeping them on life support will not have any positive effect.
Euthanasia does contradict with the basic moral principle of…
Asch, D.A., & DeKay, M.L. (1997). Euthanasia among U.S. Critical Care Nurses: Practices, Attitudes, and Social and Professional Correlates. Medical Care, 35(9), 890-900. doi: 10.2307/3767454
Campbell, N. (1999). A Problem for the Idea of Voluntary Euthanasia. Journal of Medical Ethics, 25(3), 242-244. doi: 10.2307/27718299
Jochemsen, H., & Keown, J. (1999). Voluntary Euthanasia under Control? Further Empirical Evidence from the Netherlands. Journal of Medical Ethics, 25(1), 16-21. doi: 10.2307/27718228
Moulton, B.E., Hill, T.D., & Burdette, A. (2006). Religion and Trends in Euthanasia Attitudes among U.S. Adults, 1977-2004. Sociological Forum, 21(2), 249-272. doi: 10.2307/4540938
A major factor underlying whether active or passive euthanasia is legal is whether the doctor intends to kill the patient or not (Lewis, 2009, p. 126). Rachels hits on the intent piece in one of his constructed examples, "Rather, the other factors - the murderer's motive of personal gain, for example, contrasted with the doctor's humanitarian motivation -account for different reactions to the different cases." The Colombian Constitutional Court actually ruled doctors are negligent if they ignore a terminally ill, competent patient's request for active euthanasia, a position which actually moves closer to Rachels' side of the debate (Michlowski, 2009, p. 192). The Canadian Medical Association's inquiry into Belgian euthanasia included asking about the doctors' "explicit intention of hastening the end of life or of enabling the patient to end his or her own life" (Chambaere et al., 2010, p. 896). This intent underlies the principle of "double effect,"…
Nor do professional associations provide a clear consensus to anyone outside their membership, because they often contradict each other. Many of them disagree with the AMA position Rachels frames his argument in terms of. The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) asserts "Most would choose to live if they had full confidence that the care system would serve them well," and so justifies continued prohibition of voluntary assisted suicide and monetary compensation for the practice thereof, using most of the criteria discussed in my research. On the other hand, the American Psychological Association's assertion that the cognition behind the terminally ill patient's decision to die differs from the logic employed by the clinically depressed in deciding to commit suicide is echoed by the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and the American College of Legal Medicine, who justify their recommendation against the negative associations between suicide and what they describe as "the principles of personal autonomy and free will" on grounds of material difference long recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court (Tucker & Steele, 2007, p. 325).
A fourth commonality that runs through the discussion but with much less prominence is a qualification that a patient's decision can be overridden if euthanasia has significant effects on people other than the patient, although those effects are even more rarely, if ever, defined. The Columbian courts qualified their acceptance of personal autonomy as sovereign under the constitution with the competency requirement but also where the exercise of that autonomy carried only " private nonpublic effects" (Michlowski, 2009, p. 192). The petitioner who brought the Columbian complaint claimed in part that non-voluntary euthanasia ("mercy-killing" to the 1973 AMA) left the doctor free to "end the lives of those who are regarded as an obstacle, a nuisance, or whose health raises high costs" (Michlowski, 2009, p. 186), but the court took it upon itself to generalize this even farther. This 'externality' effect rarely appears in such abstract terms, but runs throughout the research and opinion on the ethics of euthanasia in various guises.
The newer AMA policy statement claims euthanasia "would pose serious societal risks," without elaborating specifically what those may be (1996). Numerous patients have included consideration of their family's emotional pain caused by prolonged terminal illness as a factor leading them to choose euthanasia (Chambaere et al., 2010, p. 897); but fewer overtly discuss the callous topic of monetary expense as a factor in that decision. Tucker and Steele mention that voluntary euthanasia consumers may consider the cost to their estate, but only in passing (2007, p. 322). Campbell (2005, p. 45) claims family concern is justified under some Buddhist and Hindu perspectives if the choice to take life is made out of compassion for
The final two arguments aim at establishing whether suicide can even be considered as the rational solution. The avoidance of harm refers to the commonly accepted view that hurting oneself is irrational because life is the most precious possession we own. Nonetheless, this argument seems to weaken if we consider the fact that in case of terminal illnesses, suicide can become harm-avoiding since it ends the pain and humiliation which prevent the patient from truly enjoying any aspect of life. From this perspective, we must identify the "greater evil" between death and suffering, thus establishing whether or not suicide is rational (Werth 19). The accordance with fundamental interests means that one's decisions must be in accordance with one's fundamental values (Williams, 1976, in Werth 19). This argument makes suicide seem like the irrational solution in any given case because it brings about the end of life which in turn, precludes…
James L. Werth. Contemporary Perspectives on Rational Suicide. Psychology Press, 1998
Brock, Dan W. "A Critique of Three Objections to Physician-Assisted Suicide." Ethics 109. 3 (1999): 519-547.
Foot, Philippa. "Euthanasia." Philosophy and Public Affairs 6.2 (1977): 85-112.
Velleman, J. David. "A Right of Self-Termination?" Ethics 109.3 (1999): 606-628.
Additionally, I believe:
Voluntary euthanasia devalues life, like the disabled, the mentally incompetent, the terminally ill. (Verhagen, Sauer and Callahan 6).
It is against the various religious beliefs, including the Islamic faith, Buddhism, and certain Christian creeds.
The attending doctor should have the final say over the treatment of the patient in keeping with the Hippocratic Oath .
Doctor- monitored palliative care can allow the affected patient to die in peace, in a natural course of death.
Counseling and support can ease fear of death and pain.
Voluntary euthanasia devalues life. A method for judging the morality of this act is the Principle of Double Effect. Arguments against this act include: the devaluation of life concern, going against various religious belief systems; palliative care options should be provided first; and counseling and support should be first choice options.
Sulmasey, D.P. And E.D. Pelligrino. "The Rule of Double Effect."…
Sulmasey, D.P. And E.D. Pelligrino. "The Rule of Double Effect." Archives of Internal Medicine (1999): 545-550.
Verhagen, a.A. Eduard, et al. "Are Their Babies Different from Ours?": Dutch Culture and the Groningen Protocol." Hastings Center Report 38.4 (2008): 4-7.
e. The exceptions made for impairment and age would open a Pandora's Box of legal precedence. The Death with Dignity Act and any other forthcoming active euthanasia laws will likely continue to follow the same line of reasoning, i.e. that it is the unimpaired individual who must shoulder the full responsibility of the decisions he or she is making regarding the end of his or her life. That is in fact the point of the law, that a physician's responsibility as well as the responsibility of anyone who is active in the act of euthanasia is relinquished entirely to the will of the dying individual. In the case of a child this decision cannot be made by a proxy, nor can this decision be made for an individual who is mentally impaired, by his or her guardians or care takers. Though the parents in this case have fundamentally compelling arguments…
Gilmore, J. (2005, April 4). Court-Ordered Euthanasia: Euthanasia Advocates Claim It Is Not a Crime to Kill as Long as the Victims Cannot Speak for Themselves. The New American, 21, 27.
Kamisar, Y. (1998). Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Problems Presented by the Compelling, Heartwrenching Case. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 88(3), 1121-1146.
Once again, the moral value of the matter in question is proven to be wrong.
Therefore, the fundamental principles which need to be taken into consideration when discussing the Kantian ethics are represented by the categorical imperative, humanity and autonomy. The most important value that man needs to respect is life. Just like he will not harm another person's life, he must never harm his own. Annulling one's self means not only annulling your own humanity, but also using it as a means for reaching happiness. This is wrong, because humanity in all its forms and manifestations should be dealt with as a goal in itself and never as a mere means.
It might be argued that happiness is the supreme goal of all the human beings. When life is made only of things which cause misery and it is clear that there is no hope for things to get…
Kant, Immanuel. The metaphysics of morals. Trans. Gregor, Mary J., Sullivan, Roger. Cambridge University Press, 1997
The ethics of euthanasia. Retrieved November 30, 2008 http://www.csus.edu/indiv/g/gaskilld/ethics/Euthanasia.htm
When death is sought. Assisted suicide and euthanasia in the medical context. NY State department of Health. Retrieved November 30, 2008 http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/consumer/patient/chap5.htm
Moral Permissibility of Euthanasia
Voluntary Active Euthanasia
Voluntary Active Euthanasia can be described as a perfectly competent patient's appeal and request to be aided in the process of dying. This act is completely voluntary and by the choice of the patient himself due to the medical condition that he or she might be facing. It is a simplistic appeal on part of the patient to be provided with the necessary ways or assistance in putting an end to their own life. There are various methods to go ahead with this process, which may involve giving the patient a certain form of drug, putting a halt to some kind of treatment that the patient was undergoing or any other means of assistance. This form of providing an access to the person to commit suicide is referred to as assisted suicide where the doctor, physician or person in charge aids the person…
Baird, R.M. (1989). Euthanasia: The Moral Issues. Prometheus Books.
Dowbiggin, I. (2003). A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America. Oxford Univeristy Press.
Gorsuch, N.M. (2006). The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. Princeton University Press.
Keown, J. (2002). Euthanasia, Ethics, and Public Policy: An Argument against Legalisation. Cambridge University Press.
Active and Passive Euthanasia, by James achels. Specifically, it will explain his arguments that active euthanasia is morally permissible, and the extent to which his arguments illustrate Kantian and utilitarian considerations.
ACTIVE AND PASSIVE EUTHANASIA
achels is an advocate of physician-assisted suicide, or euthanasia, and he wants to convince the American Medical Association (AMA) to change their definition of euthanasia, allowing doctors to allow terminally ill patients with no hope of recovery to be euthanized. His arguments for euthanasia are effective and compelling, and though directed at physicians, they are of interest to anyone thinking about euthanasia for themselves or a loved one. achels discusses the differences between "killing and letting die" (achels 561), and discusses specific cases where allowing the patient to simply die without further treatment could actually prolong their life and their suffering. "Part of my point is that the process of the 'allowed to die' can…
Rachels, James. "Active and passive Euthanasia." PLEASE ADD BOOK HERE.
A www.questia.com/PageManagerHTMLMediator.qst?action=openPageViewer&docId=85664345"Fletcher, Joseph. Moral Responsibility: Situation Ethics at Work. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1967.
Active Euthanasia With Parental Consent
This case provides an example of a situation in which active euthanasia was conducted with the consent of parents. There are three agents in this case among these three; the most important is the patient. The patient was a small girl named Andrea and her age was only nineteen years. Apart from her, the other two important agents in the case were the parents of Andrea and the physicians. The main fact of the case was the severe illness of the girl and the reaction of her parents at this disease. It was mentioned in the case that Andrea was severely suffering from cystic fibrosis when she was only thirteen months old, this disease is progressive. Not only is this but patients suffering from this disease has an average life span of thirty years.
Due to this dangerous disease, Andrea was admitted in…
Dworkin, G., Frey, R.G., & Bok, S. (1998). Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hamel, R.P. (1991). Choosing death: active euthanasia, religion, and the public debate. Philadelphia: Trinity Press International.
McCarrick, P.M. (1992). Active euthanasia and assisted suicide. Newyork: Kennedy Institute of Ethics.
Morgan, J. (1996). An Easeful Death?: Perspectives on Death, Dying and Euthanasia. Leichhardt: Federation Press.