In the world today, there are trials in life that really cross our ethical boundaries. One of the example is medical challenges. Euthanasia is also called mercy killing for someone who is terminally ill or for somebody who is suffering from a disease that is painful and cannot be cured. This act of killing is in a painless way in order for the person to die with diignity. Euthanatos is a Greek word of the term euthanasia which means good and easy death. Euthanasia has different types such as active (introducing something to cause death), passive (withholding treatment or supportive measures), voluntary (consent) , involuntary (consent from guardian) and physician assisted (where physician’s prescribe the medicine and patient or the third party administers the medication to cause death). In 2019. euthanasia is currently legalized in countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg and Colombia. Most of the time euthanasia is completed on the grounds that the individual requests for it for the reasons like feeling of severe despondency and dejection, fear of putting heavy burdens to others, or loss of self-worth. However, there are situations where an individual can’t make such a call. In this time of crisis, some people agree on it as they see it as mercy killing and some people don’t as they see it as a murder.
Euthanasia is not always given to the very sick patients and it is a serious topic in today’s society as it goes against the standard of customary medicine. There are people who have the incapacity to do the decision-making in this time of crisis. Often factors for euthanasia application are the ones who have been in unfortunate incident or diseases that causes stroke or heart attack that results them into a vegetative state. This means they can’t speak up for themselves and they can’t make an individual decisions. Mostly the authorized person who will decide in behalf of them is the family member. But considering that the person is in permanent vegetative state, would it be ethical to just decide in behalf of him/her?
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Self-determination or the nature of autonomy. A person has the right to control his/her life, has the ability to make choices without asking anyone’s. Let me clearly state my opinion to these questions. First, Is it mercy when you take the existence of an individual who wants to stop the suffering? We can apply the role of beneficence in this aspect as it means a practice of mercy and kindness with a strong implication of doing good to others in consideration of ethical motives. It is a matter of personal choice when we talk about the right to terminate our lives. In life, we have the ability to choose everything that we want and when it comes to ending our life whether it is because we are terminally ill or we have incurable diseases, we should have that freedom to decide on what options should we take about what’s gonna happen to us. Lots of people who are into pro life actually as they want to live longer as they can, but personally I believe that you have the right to wish to end your suffering when you have severe medical condition and that you can’t bear the pain anymore. According to an article in the Independent newspaper in March 2002, that; “In cases where there are no dependants who might exert pressure one way or the other, the right of the individual to choose should be paramount. So long as the patient is lucid, and his or her intent is clear beyond doubt, there need be no further questions.” This means that the respect for this right protects euthanasia from being abuse or use it in a wrong way or in the wrong purpose as by ending one’s life without a consent would fail to respect someone’s rights. And if this decision will not endanger anybody then there’s no reason to decline the person’s wish. People who agree in voluntary euthanasia believe that it is morally agreeable as it has no violation for human rights. Second, Is it a murder when you inject something to cause the death of a hopeless patient? Many people believe that when there is an option of relieving the pain without dealing with the cause of the condition, euthanasia is not necessary. There are available drugs and other types of life support available for the terminally ill patient as the purpose of medicine is to preserve the health of the patient, restore it when it is lost, or remove the ailment orf a person to give a better quality of life. It has been stated by the World Health Organisation or WHO that “palliative care affirms life and regards dying as a normal process; it neither hastens nor postpones death; it provides relief from pain and suffering; it integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of the patient.” Most people agree that you should live your remaining days in life here in this world less emotionally and physically distress as possible. When palliative care is productive then it will allow the patient and the rest of the families the likelihood to spend their quality time together. Here we can apply the role of non-maleficence which means to cause no harm to others. This principle acts as a threshold for treatment or it is the unchanging factor in clinical practice. Let me give an example, if you see somebody in an emergency situation, you have the duty to provide medical attention or to seek one to help and to prevent any harm to that person. So when the patient is terminally ill, it is the duty of the healthcare professionals to do the best as they can to prolong the life and to treat the patient with dignity and respect.
But what is really the church’s stance on this issue? According to Catholic News Agency on vatican document about euthanasia, “No one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly, nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action. For it is a question of the violation of the divine law, an offense against the dignity of the human person, a crime against life, and an attack on humanity.” It is obviously that the religious community has taken a negative stance on the issue of euthanasia. Its application to those who are terminally ill ban by the majority of Christian religions. Also we can read in the bible that taking another human being’s life is an absolute sin and a heinous act of crime. However, there are people who believe that God doesn’t want us to suffer, doesn’t like us to be in unbearable pain. So for them it is also a sin to keep going even if you don’t have purpose anymore in the society. It’s better to end the suffering that continue to give burden to others. In general, people is scared of death, they will avoid death as much as possible because they love to live, they love being alive but to those very sick individuals, it will just make them feel worst and unappreciate life in the long run. There are also instances that if the patient’s wish to end one’s life, it may have undesirable effect to the rest of the family.
In conclusion, it is apparent that on both sides there are firm arguments about euthanasia. For me, if the person request to end own’s life since he/she is suffering and holds nothing but the unbearable pain then it must be accepted and respected. Although I am a pro life and that we should be grateful for life but seeing your family member in pain will also give me some guilt on keeping him/her alive as that person really wants to rest and not be able to feel the pain and discomfort anymore. Yes, Marcus Tullius Cicero once said that “While there’s life, there’s hope.” But sometimes, you became hopeless in a way that you can’t find your life purpose anymore in this world.