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Euthanasia Essays

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The NHS defines Euthanasia as “Euthanasia is the act of deliberately ending a person’s life to relieve suffering.” The word “euthanasia” derives from the Greek ‘eu’ signifying ‘good’ and ‘Thanatos’ meaning ‘death.’ Countries such as Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, America, and the Neverlands have legalized euthanasia. However, at present Euthanasia remains illegal in the UK. Euthanasia is intensely debated due to its moral, ethical, and emotional complexities. Due to modern medical advances, people can live longer, so the question of euthanasia becoming legalized is raised. There are various arguments supporting and opposing legalizing euthanasia within the UK. This essay will outline the differing arguments for and against euthanasia. Highlighting, the ethical and moral debates and the implications of euthanasia being legal.

“Many of us would like to have some control over the time and manner of our deaths, should we find ourselves in a condition so hopeless that there is no point in going on…” (Thomas Nagel, London Review of Books. 2011.) One supporting argument for legalizing Euthanasia is having the choice. “It’s important to give people with dementia choice and control over their life whenever possible.” (George McNamara, Head of Policy at the Alzheimer’s Society, 2013.) This argument suggests, a person should have the choice of choosing when they die. This argument is based on the principles of human rights. It is suggested that a person has the basic human right to live, they should also have the right to choose when to die. If it is your body, it should be your preference. Furthermore, it raises the question is it right to keep someone alive if they want to die due to excruciating pain?

Secondly, an argument often debated in favor of euthanasia is allowing a patient to die with self-respect. “In refusing dying people the right to die with dignity, we fail to demonstrate the compassion that lies at the heart of Christian values.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Washington Post 2010.) The argument for authorizing euthanasia suggests Euthanasia gives a sense of control to a dying person consequently; they feel comforted that their wishes will be met. What is more, relatives feel comforted as the patient’s suffering and pain have ended. Euthanasia will enable a person to die with dignity. In addition, terminally ill people often become bedridden with terminal illnesses. Legalizing euthanasia in the UK would enable terminally ill people to die comfortably in a monitored environment. It offers a sense of control to the patient; it allows them to decide how they want to be remembered by relatives. Furthermore, patients no longer fear the pain and suffering they would endure without the option of euthanasia.

Additionally, Legalising euthanasia will enable the person to avoid caregiver guilt. For example, someone who does not want to continue to live with a debilitating terminal disease would opt for euthanasia to relieve themselves of being a financial burden or burden to relatives who would care for them. Euthanasia would also allow a patient to die in their own country without having to travel.

Furthermore, and conceivably the strongest argument supporting Euthanasia being legalized in the UK, is the ending of pain and suffering for the terminally ill. By enabling euthanasia to be legalized within the UK, it will enable a person to die without having to endure potential years or months of suffering. As Stephen Hawkins stated, “We don’t let animals suffer, so why humans?’

On the other hand, one counterargument for legalizing euthanasia for the terminally ill is terminal diagnosis is not always accurate. The argument disputes it difficulty of determining a person’s life expectancy. In 2005 a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found one in five people had an accurate diagnosis. Some people live longer. Therefore, legalizing Euthanasia it has the potential to end a person’s life prematurely.

In addition, the argument regarding consent is highly debated. This argument expresses the issues regarding a person’s frame of mind in order to give consent. For example, a person in extreme pain may opt for euthanasia without fully understanding and considering consequences and other options of care.

Moreover, the argument of the potential misuse of euthanasia is often conveyed. A disadvantage to legalizing euthanasia for the terminally ill is the potential for misuse and abuse of the vulnerable. This argument suggests a patient may be subject to pressure from the family or doctors to opt for euthanasia. Patients may feel as though they are a burden to family and doctors. Research conducted through Age UK has indicated that about 500,000 elderly individuals are mistreated each year in the UK. Consequently, the argument against Euthanasia expresses the point of protecting the vulnerable. Would patients feel protected?

Finally, Palliative care is an argument opposing euthanasia. It is disputed that a terminally ill person can have a good quality of life in their final months and weeks due to palliative care. In addition, a patient should not feel as though they are being persuaded into euthanasia. A doctor is meant to heal a patient and aid them in their time of need, to prolong and protect life not cut life short. The argument expresses that doctors should act in a patient’s best interests, but with a nation obsessed with the cost of the NHS would people be talked into Euthanasia to save money?

In conclusion, Euthanasia is a highly passionate debate with many moral and ethical complexities. The debate on legalizing euthanasia is continuous due to the advances in medicine people are living longer with debilitating terminal illnesses. The question regarding legalizing euthanasia remains. The implications of legalizing euthanasia could be good or bad depending on your personal stance. The potential consequences of legalizing euthanasia in the UK for the terminally ill is hard to ignore. Safeguarding issues and protecting the vulnerable is one of the potential challenges. Nevertheless, it is near impossible to deny a person in pain the right to opt for euthanasia.

Bibliography

  1. Aaron Scherer. (2020). A brief history of euthanasia. Available: https:www.theodysseyonline.combrief-history-of-euthanasia. Last accessed 100121.
  2. BBC publication. (2014). Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Available: http:www.bbc.co.ukethicseuthanasia. Last accessed 100121.
  3. NHS Publication. (2020). Euthanasia and assisted suicide. Available: https:www.carenotkilling.org.ukarticlesmps-speeches-the-arguments. Last accessed 100121.
  4. Paul Goodman. (2011). Euthanasia Pros and Cons: should people have the right to die? Available: https:soapboxie.comsocial-issuesEuthanasia-pros-and-cons-Should-people-have-the-right-to-die#:~:text= Pros of Euthanasia 1 People should,if they are not conscious, it…. Last accessed 100121.
  5. Publication, My death my decision. (2018). My Death, My Decision (MDMD). Available: https:www.mydeath-mydecision.org.uk. Last accessed 100121.
  6. Publication. (unknown). Medical Diagnosis and Prognosis are often Wrong. Available: https:euthanasiadebate.org.nzresourcesdiagnosis-and-prognosis-are-often-wrong#:~:text=A study of doctors’ prognoses for terminally ill, disease over time and the ch. Last accessed 100121.
  7. Sarah Bosley. (2013). Professor Stephen Hawking backs the right to die for the terminally ill. Available: https:www.theguardian.comscience2013sep17stephen-hawking-right-to-die. Last accessed 100121.
  8. unknown. (2015). MP’S Speeches: the arguments. Available: https:www.carenotkilling.org.ukarticlesmps-speeches-the-arguments. Last accessed 100121.
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