The growing complexity in the field of medicine see the need for medically ethical behavior and differentiating them from the moral behavior. Moral behavior is based on what the society accept as good or bad. Ethical behavior is referred to by the principles based on the concept of whether something is good or bad. It is of utmost importance while making ethical decision to consider and balance the rights of an individual the views of the society and the desires and wishes of those close to the individual. The complexity of medical decisions today calls for the practice of bioethics in decision making.
Bioethics include almost all fields that relate to the medical practices and how they interlink with each other. Therefore the bioethicists are hospital staffs that well equipped in other fields like philosophy, psychology, humanities, law, socials science and religion. They are therefore medical professionals that help the families and the patients to make rational decisions especially of these patients whose life is on the verge of ending. Euthanasia is the act of taking away someone’s life for the sake of mercy to relive great suffering. It is an issue in health that has risen a lot of controversy and argument whether it is good or bad.
It evokes all kind of emotions to the society, the family of the patient and the patient. With the help of the bioethicists, the autonomy and the decision of the patient is respected so that the patient can decide their lives. In particular, this paper discusses euthanasia, that in support and against the concept. Though seen as representing a particular practice, there are different types of euthanasia which include” passive voluntary euthanasia where medical treatment is withheld from the patient at the patient’ request for it to end the patient’s life. Active voluntary euthanasia occurs when there is medical intervention at the request of the patient to end their life. Passive involuntary on the other hand occurs when medical treatment is withheld or withdrawn from the patient but not at their request to end their lives. Lastly, active involuntary euthanasia occurs when medical intervention is undertaken but also not at the request of the patient to end the life of the patient.
The issue of human dignity carry a lot of weight, and emotion to individuals and this notion seem to lack a ground of the argument and its discussion. Euthanasia discussion is often limited to the justification of the arguments while those criticize the argument see it as a matter of principle. We all do not dispute that euthanasia is a form of killing whether assisted death or “self-killing” but controversy arise when some say it is “good death”. As such the palliative care raise the concern of legalizing euthanasia claiming that it would be the start of a slippery slope that will result in harm to the vulnerable.
Although euthanasia (legalized) and palliative care are ethical medical behavior, they both raise opposing viewpoints. This is because palliative care pays special attention to a spiritual concept which draws the meaning of life and its care from. It, therefore, views euthanasia as wrong claiming life is only taken from an individual when the time is right, and nature takes its course. The main objective of palliative care id o control and alleviate pain, but they feel that enough care is not given to the patient and therefore euthanasia should not be considered. On the contrary, palliative care helps in relieving pain but does not prevent human suffering making it unbearable. In the argument for the concept, euthanasia was legalized in some countries of instance Dutch and Euthanasia Act was passed and came into effect in 2001, and here it was to regulate the ending of the life of a patient suffering unbearably and without any hope of relief (Strinic, Visnja pg3). Here the euthanasia becomes of great relief to the patient as it reduces the unbearable suffering and shortening the period that would be taken while suffering until his or her death.
Here the also the patient voluntarily request for euthanasia and it is performed with the help of medical care and attention. Euthanasia is a vital insurance policy which ensures that no one dies a painful death or dies in agony as well as protecting those that are vulnerable from wrongful death and thus enabling a peaceful death with dignity. Also, in favor of the argument, euthanasia helps in protecting the autonomy of the patient where the patient feels that they are the carries of their lives and they can make a decision or a choice that will be respected. Also, it reduces needless pain and suffering (Murkey, and Konsam pg93). In this case, there is chronic disease that has been proven to have no cure and have different stages the patient may be going through unbearable suffering in death bed and instead of suffering they choose to go for euthanasia.
Moreover, euthanasia provides a psychological reassurance to the dying patient. That is, through the help of the bioethicists the patients is well prepared for a peaceful death and this also prepares the family of the patient and those close to the patient. Since the family is also affected, preparing them for the death of the patient in a peaceful war reduces the degree of emotional torture or pain that would be subjected to the family. Despite its benefits, euthanasia should be the last option hen all the medical treatments have failed. The medical treatments should only be withdrawn if the patient is terminally ill and the condition is beyond control. A terminal ill patient in most cases have very unbearable pain, and the treatment used to reduce pain can change the consciousness leading to the patient having sleepless nights a changed state of mind and such a painful death, and this is what euthanasia prevents the patient from suffering. However, the largest number of individuals and states argue against euthanasia. One, most individuals finds this as a practice that undermines the role of the health practitioners as well as breaking the trust of the public on the health practitioners. For instance, if the medical professional is involved in euthanasia the relationship between the patient and the doctor is destabilized, and the society at large are unable to trust their lives with the health workers.
The role of the doctor has historically been seen as to protect and save the lives of the patient through the provision of the best treatment available and not to commit the “good death”. The palliative care do not favour this argument in that the practitioners feel it as their right to support and provide care and there is no need to hasten an individual’s life. They argue that pain and suffering of an individual can be controlled at all levels and the few whose pain goes beyond control, administration of euthanasia should be justified to take away the life of an individual. The palliative care claim that a total tranquillity can be used to alleviate the pain of the patient (Strinic, Visnja p7). The public fund has been one of the options that can always be adapted to prevent patients from dying as most individuals do not access total quality health care due to lack of finances and this results to neglecting an individual or the administration of euthanasia. Those against euthanasia believe that euthanasia is actively killing an individual and legalizing it gives the doctor the right to take away the lives of individuals in the name of euthanasia.
Accepting euthanasia weakens the respect for the sacredness of life as well as promoting inequality in that some lives are seen as worthy than those of others. It may not be as autonomy as it may be claimed as the biometrics may influence one to decide on euthanasia. Legalizing it, therefore, means that the society stands on a slippery slope and killing of those deemed undesirable in the society will be inevitable (Strinic, Visnja p10). It will also be violating the principle of the health workers whose main goal is to preserve human life. The practice also gives too much power to the doctors, and this would mean that administering it will be violating the moral behavior in the society by ending life. Considering the two sides of the coin, I would stand by supporting euthanasia as a biomedical ethics.
This is because it is a disrespect to a dying patient to keep him or her for a prolonged life in pain and unbearable suffering. In my opinion, it is a way of upholding one’s right to life by respecting and honoring their right to die. We are all on the same journey and, therefore, we all should have the right to have a dignified death. Moreover, respecting one’s autonomy calls for not to be suffering in pain. It is important also to consider the emotional connectedness of an individual with those around him and how a terminal illness can cause havoc to them. Not only are the family member suffering emotionally, but it has been proven to be a burden t them to take care of the patient especially those that are financially in crisis. The terminally ill patient also may find their treatment of less value and thus considering euthanasia. Conclusively euthanasia has raised a lot of argument with the opponents and proponents having to justify their stand. Notably, it has both its positive and negative side since life value is incomparable.
It should, therefore, be considered if no cure is achieved and the patient suffering is unbearable. I believe it should be considered by all the countries but not at the expense of threatening one’s life if the condition of the patient does not call for too much attention. The medical practitioners and the professional, the researchers and the government should, therefore, consider working together in lying the benefits and disadvantage of euthanasia before fully legalizing it.
- Fletcher, Joseph F. Morals and Medicine: the moral problems of the patient’s right to know the truth, contraception, artificial insemination, sterilization, euthanasia.
- Princeton University Press, 2015.Murkey, P. N., and Konsam Suken Singh. “Euthanasia [mercy killing].” (2008).
- Strinic, Visnja. “Arguments in Support and Against Euthanasia.” (2015).