The term euthanasia came from the Greek word ‘people’ where it was used to mean ‘painless’, ‘easy’, or ‘happy death’. In the modern times however, the term is used to refer to a situation where a physician causes the death of a patient by injecting him or her with very lethal dosage of medicine. This normally happens when a patient requests the physician to prescribe either a dose that would end his or her life because of the pain he is going through or for any other reason. The term should not be confused to mean the same thing with deaths that occurs when a medicine given to relieve pain causes a patient’s death.
The strong argument that has been witnessed before regarding legalization of sanctioned euthanasia is mainly due to empathy those patients who suffer and the need for patient autonomy (Atwood-Gailey, 2003). The two have seemingly been working in favor of the corroboration of the assisted death. Having compassion however does not prevent one from causing harm. Any doctor who does not have a deeper knowledge on how to reduce the suffering of a patient may find himself ending the life of the patient inappropriately, even though he or she had compassion for that patient.
With such confusing scenarios, there has been an ongoing debate of whether to legalize euthanasia. Some countries like Switzerland and Belgium have legalized assisted suicide. The Washington state has also permitted assisted suicide. The question there lies in where USA should legalize euthanasia.
The debate on whether to have assisted suicide legalized has seen some quotas arguing in favor while others argue against (Atwood-Gailey, 2003). For who argue against assisted suicide have explained that the practice lead to dehumanization of humankind and reduces the sacredness of the people’s lives. The rising cost of caring for the elderly members of the society is seen by this quota as one of the motivators towards the use of euthanasia on the elderly. Such arguments definitely do not look at the relieving of pain on the patients; they only look at it as a means of cost cutting on the medical expenses.
Some of the arguments against euthanasia state that the practices deny the patients the right to die and instead turn the right to duty to die. This is because the choice to die comes form either external or internal pressure .the so called quality of life choices and decisions made by physicians deny treatment to patients who really deserve it (Hendin & Foley, 2002). The practice has made many people lose hope in the physicians. They reason that physicals can never be trusted with human life because they can finish it anytime, without the knowledge of anyone. This lack of trust to physicians can make family members of the dead person to even commit suicide.
Euthanasia is said to have provided a good option for those greedy family members who want the sick not to survive the illness they are suffering from. Studies show that doctors can be coerced by family members to make critical decision of carrying out an assisted suicide on the patient (Kieran, 2014). The practice also undermines the religious values, which teaches about the preservation of life. Euthanasia may also corrupt family ties. Some may want the patient to stay around while others may argue that he or she should be left to die and rest. These issues of death and life decisions really devalue the patient’s worth.
On the other hand, Proposers of the practices argue that just as humankind has the right to live, they should also recognize that the right to live and the right to die solely rest with an individual (Humphry, & Humphry, 2007). Euthanasia is carried out with the approval of the patient or a very close relative. An example is given of a terminally sick patient who is going through a traumatizing pain and decides to dies. He may instruct the physician to either inject him with a lethal medicine, or stop injection of the drug that keeps him alive. This is also referred to as death with dignity, where the patient chooses to end his life so that the pain and suffering can stop.
Euthanasia does not violate any moral norm or law and therefore should never be considered immoral. Those who argue that euthanasia is immoral because it fails to preserve and protect life are not entirely honest. Life preservation is a personal choice and nothing can be done about it by other people around an individual once he has decided to end his life (Atwood-Gailey, 2003). Euthanasia also helps preserve human dignity by making it possible to avoid pain. Good death is characterized by less pain, and nobody should be denied that if they request for it.
Generally, legalizing euthanasia is not really bad as some make it sound. There is no need of holding on to a life when it all leads to a slow painful death. Assisted suicides help people retire from the earth peacefully while also reducing the burden on their family members. Proper regulations are a sure way to handle all the arguments of the anti-euthanasia movement. It is important to let individuals make that one choice, whenever it is needed most.
Atwood-Gailey, E. (2003). Write to death: News framing of the right to die conflict, from Quinlan’s coma to Kevorkian’s conviction. Westport, Conn: Praeger
Hendin, H., & Foley, K. M. (2002). The case against assisted suicide: For the right to end-of-life care Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Humphry, D., & Humphry, D. (2007). The good Euthanasia guide. Junction City, OR: Norris Lane Press/ERGO
Kieran, B. (2014). Dying to Kill: A Christian Perspective on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. Cambridge, Ohio: Christian Publishing House