In the medical field, there are countless issues that are highly debated in reference to their ethicality. From stem cell research to health care laws, the topics of discussion spread far and wide. One of the most controversial of these subjects is euthanasia. Euthanasia, defined as the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy, is often called assisted suicide or mercy killing (WEBSTER’S). It is a practice that many are familiar with, but most don’t accept as ethical.
Euthanasia is such a multi-faceted issue that it is difficult to decide where to start a discussion about it. The author perceives it to be an ethical dilemma because it involves voluntary death or what some people may term “playing God.” With Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS), the terminally ill patient’s physician prescribes them a lethal medication to take at their leisure. Essentially, one’s doctor is giving them the chance to end their life, when a doctor’s real job is supposed to be to keep you healthy and alive. This seems like a reversal of duty, but what if the life the person has is not able to be celebrated because of a terminal illness that has wracked their body with pain? It is for this reason that the author thinks euthanasia should be a legal option for terminally ill people. If someone is of sound mind, the author doesn’t see why they shouldn’t be able to make the decision to end their suffering and therefore their life. It’s their right to choose. Having a physician prescribe a medicine they can take on their own terms is a much kinder way to go than committing suicide, which is really the only other option for the terminally ill. By allowing and promoting euthanasia as a choice, it gives them the chance to die with a little dignity. They can even make their final arrangements and plan their death with their loved ones. It gives control to those who don’t have control over their body because of the disease that ravages it. It doesn’t seem fair to me to force someone to live out their life when they are in a constant state of pain and uncertainty.
Euthanasia is, in the author’s opinion, a more humane option, but most Americans disagree. According to a Zogby poll, only one third would choose assisted suicide if they were stricken with a terminal disease (ZOGBY). In fact, it is only legal as Physician Assisted suicide and only in five areas in the world, including Washington, Oregon, Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg (LEGAL). The lack of availability highlights how controversial this topic really is, but the author doesn’t think it speaks for how many would choose this route if given the legal option.
While the author’s feelings on euthanasia are very strong, most people have opposing views. Some people say euthanasia is murder because someone’s life is being taken before their time. The term “playing God” is often used because doctors are deciding on when someone will die rather than letting nature take its course. Another reason some feel euthanasia is wrong is because of the potential for those who aren’t terminally ill to request it because they don’t want to live. Current laws under the Oregon and Washington Death with Dignity Act require the person requesting PAS to be of sound mind and suffering from a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months, but what if those laws are amended (DEATH)? Potential for changes to include any persons who just want to cease living is definitely something to fear. While these non-terminally ill patients do have the right to choose to die, the author doesn’t see the laws being modified to include them in the legalization of euthanasia. The author thinks that would cause a much bigger controversy than mercy killing itself.
There are many reasons people have views opposite mine in regards to