According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, euthanasia is defined as “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals” (Merriam-Webster). Passive euthanasia is when the patient dies because the doctors stop doing whatever is keeping the patient alive. Examples of this would be disconnecting a feeding tube, not doing a life-extending operation, or unplugging life-support machines. Active euthanasia is when a doctor consciously takes part in something that kills the patient like administering lethal doses of substances to them. Active euthanasia is typically done by a physician giving a lethal substance to a patient intending to end his or her life. Physicians typically use barbiturates because “a large dose will effectively make the brain slow down to a point where it stops telling the body to keep the respiratory system working and breathing ceases” (University of Sydney). After taking this medication, it could take up to twenty-four hours to work based on how quickly the body digests the medicine. These medications should lead to a faster death compared to naturally dying. Many of the arguments I have heard in favor of utilizing euthanasia seem to emphasize the view of independence. The entirety of this research will go toward disproving the idea that legalizing euthanasia would be beneficial.
As organized religions are developing, the idea of euthanasia is becoming more disagreeable. Many different religions have a structured idea that life is sacred and completely disapprove of euthanasia. Most religions say, “those who become vulnerable through illness or disability deserve special care and protection, and that proper end of life care is a much better thing than euthanasia” (Ethics). Religions like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam condemn the acts of intentionally ending someone’s life. If physicians assisted in these acts, their ethics and morals may come in to question. The American Medical Association says that “euthanasia is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks” (American Medical Association). Some see life as a gift that is sacred and should be left in the hands of God to decide when we leave this earth in a natural way.
In the care of a doctor, patients are supposed to receive the best assistance and care possible. Good doctors and medical care should aim to eliminate or minimize the pain of their patients. Killing the patients should not be an option, as it is taking the “easy way” out of truly helping the pain and suffering. Some people with these terminal illnesses desire to die more than be comfortable knowing they have this burden of sickness hanging over their heads. These patients may have other health issues associated with their illness like depression and other disorders. Some cases are treatable with things like therapy or medications. As physicians care for these patients, they should be doing research and striving to make their patients more comfortable.
The legalization of euthanasia would essentially conclude that some suicides are okay and acceptable. It is impossible to limit euthanasia to certain groups of people with certain conditions. This would send mixed signals to the public. If euthanasia was legalized, society would view the sick, disabled, and dying completely different. This law would say that some lives are not worth living and that they’re an inconvenience. People with disabilities and deformities may be more inclined to exercise their right to choose death over life because of their situations. This would essentially classify certain people as less worthy of life. In terms of legality, the big question is where is the line drawn of what is acceptable and what is not? Next, who gets to decide where to draw that line? These life changing questions shouldn’t be left in the hands of people to answer. They should not have the power to say who lives or dies. People should not be able to legally ask a doctor, who is supposed to care for the sick, to intentionally end their lives. Sick people should not be given the choice to kill themselves, instead, they should receive the help to deal with their circumstances. Essentially, if euthanasia was legalized, doctors would stop focusing on bettering the current system of care for the terminally ill. In order to prevent this acceptance, we need to avoid the first step which is this choice becoming legal.
Advances in medicine have allowed the medical field to expand in so many ways. As new technologies and medicine develop, doctors can now allow life to continue beyond what was once possible. Due to the new development of technology, the benefits of palliative care and hospice are growing. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, palliative care is “medical and related care provided to a patient with a serious, life-threatening, or terminal illness that is not intended to provide curative treatment but rather to manage symptoms, relieve pain and discomfort, improve quality of life, and meet the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the patient” (Merriam-Webster). Palliative care is utilized to make the patient more comfortable and at ease when they’re going through the trials of a terminal disease while the patient is still receiving treatment. If their pain and suffering were controlled, the patient should not want to end their life through this “suicide”. Patients would rarely want to go through with ending their life. For doctors, the main goal should be to eliminate the pain instead of the person who is suffering. Another advancement in medicine would be hospice care. Hospice is defined as “a program designed to provide palliative care and emotional support to the terminally ill in a home or homelike setting so that quality of life is maintained, and family members may be active participants in care” (Merriam-Webster). Some benefits of hospice care include a personalized care and support plan, still gives the patient dignity, and it respects the ill’s wishes. With the new modern ways of palliative care and hospice, the need for the legalization of euthanasia becomes totally irrelevant and purposeless.
In conclusion, this research will not put this debate to rest. There will still be big debates about euthanasia. Although there are many strong points for the benefits of legalizing euthanasia, the bottom line is that these actions are murder and are unacceptable. This is still such a touchy subject because there are so many different opinions of the people. The legalization of euthanasia devalues people in multiple ways. Medical professionals are expected to perform their required duties, balance the patient’s rights, and remember their own moral code.