Euthanasia: Voluntary Euthanasia and Dr. Jack Kevorkian Essay

Submitted By garrettw12
Words: 856
Pages: 4

Euthanasia, or the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering has been a very highly debated and hot ethical issue for many years. A renowned activist, follower and practitioner of Euthanasia was Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Kevorkian performed many lethal injections for elderly and severely ill patients in the 90’s while staying in accordance to the law but was highly scrutinized. The issue didn’t see legal ramifications until Kevorkian’s last performed injection, which he administered the lethal drug himself. On September 17th, 1998, Thomas Youk, a 52 year old man in the final stages Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, sought euthanasia from Dr. Kevorkian. Filming the entire process, Kevorkian obtained Youk’s fully informed consent to being lethally injected and then gave him the lethal cocktail of controlled substances to finally put an ease to Mr. Youk’s pain and suffering. This procedure was the same as all the others except for crucial component; Dr. Kevorkian, not the patient themselves, had administered the lethal injection. Which brought on the never-ending ethical dilemma, should we have the choice to end a life that is full of pain and suffrage?
When applying Act Utilitarianism to any act, one examines all the possible alternatives and positive consequences (Good) that is associated with them. When applying it to the dilemma of euthanasia it can be seen that the other possible alternative to it would be to continue living the life that was given and continuing the prescribed medical treatment so that one could live their life to very best they could. This would result in happiness for family, friends, lovers, and economically gleaning healthcare professionals. Though, the individual itself would not glean or receive happiness from this decision. Alternatively, when choosing the other decision to proceed with Euthanasia, the patient would receive happiness from the release of the everyday pain and suffrage felt from their terminal diseases and also release from the pressure of dying to loosen the strain on family/friends. Family, friends, and doctor may not receive happiness from this decision but it is likely they may receive it from losing the burden of having to constantly care for their loved one. Also, not having to financially worry about expensive medical bills and treatments would also be a gained pleasure from the decision. With this constant care and worry would no longer be a problem to the patient or loved ones of the patient and the patient would be completely free from unbearable and suffering for once and for all. As one may see, Euthanasia, according to the Principle of Utility, would actually be an acceptable and possibly best choice for an individual in this situation.
When applying Rule Utilitarianism to a decision, one may deem an act right and only right if it is required by a rule that is itself a member of a set of rules, the acceptance of which would lead to greater good for society than any available alternative. Put simply, actions are considered moral when they conform to rules that lead to greatest good. In respect to the party whose interest is in question, with a debilitating disease such as ALS, dignity is lost through the disease and the limitations it coincides with so by allowing this decision we would give greater and more dignity