As new technologies and research have enabled physicians to delay the lives of terminally ill patients, the controversy surrounding the debate over euthanasia continues to grow. Euthanasia is the act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition. It is performed with a lethal injection or the delay of any needed medical treatment. Because of the morals I uphold, I strongly disagree with physician assisted suicide (PAS) or euthanasia.
What is a physician’s duty to a patient? To engage in killing patients destroys the essence of what it means to be a physician. The Hippocratic Oath forbids the use of deadly drugs or the idea of their use. The International Code of Medical Ethics says that the “physician shall always bear in mind the obligation of preserving human life”. The statement proves that it is wrong for physicians to kill or assist in the suicide of patients. We can do much to relieve the pain and suffering of a patient, but we should never go as far as killing the patient. It is not a human responsibility to determine when it is “right” to intentionally end someone’s life.
In 1993, Robert Latimer was convicted of second degree murder in the death of his severely disabled daughter, Tracy. At the time Tracy had Cerebral Palsy and Latimer called it an act of mercy to end her life. Latimer did confess to the murder and said that he could not bare to see his daughter suffer any longer. Tracy was a 40-pound quadriplegic, twelve year old who functioned at the level of a three month old child. She had undergone repeated medical operations and at the time of her murder she was due for more surgery- this time to remove a thigh bone. Tracy was unable to walk, talk or feed herself. She was in constant, excruciating pain however she could not be treated with any painkiller stronger than Tylenol. So Robert Latimer placed her in the cab of his Chevy pickup, ran a hose from the exhaust to the cab, climbed into the box of the truck and watched his own daughter die. Robert served 20 years in prison and now seventeen years later, has been granted full parole. When I discuss this case it makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. Tracy’s own father killing her because he thought she was better off that way was just not fair or moral in my opinion.
Euthanasia is a rejection of the importance and value of human life. People who support euthanasia often say that it is already considered permissible to take human life under some circumstances such as self defense. But, they miss the point that when one kills for self defense they are saving innocent lives, either their own or someone else's. With euthanasia no one's life is being saved, life is only taken. Is it right to kill someone for no reason? No. Therefore the allowance of assisted suicide should be outlawed for this exact reason.
History has helped to teach us the dangers of euthanasia. This is why it is only legal in two countries in the world. Almost all societies, even non-religious ones, have