Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide

Written by: Prof. Lisa PhD
Updated: Dec 29, 2022
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Sometimes people criticize euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide from what is called “pro-life” perspectives and other times from “pro-death” perspectives; each perspective has a different argument about their position and the side they are on in this debate. This paper will review some of these arguments that have been made to date, as well as some of the more recent developments in this issue (Dieterle 129). To begin with, many people argue that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are morally acceptable because it is a personal choice that involves the individual, who they feel, has the right to end their own life as long as they are of sound mind.

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This argument is known as “pro-choice”; it states that a person should have the right to make medical decisions such as this one. For instance, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was a controversial figure, to begin with, when it came to euthanasia. Kevorkian’s particular choice of methods was physician-assisted suicide, and he used this therapy on more than 130 patients in his career (Dieterle 130). This proved to be controversial in the United States; however, he was often praised as a compassionate man, and many people agreed with his choice.

The argument against this is that ethical people should not be able to go around killing innocent people without it being a crime. For example, if I were to go into a nursing home and shoot all of the elderly patients inside who need constant care, I would still be considered a criminal by society (Dieterle 135). However, I am allowed to kill myself if I am suffering from terminal illness or psychosis. The fact that it is legal makes me wonder how much of the public’s opinion is actually based on “common sense” rather than on something as complex as ethics. 

Peter retired early at 64, allowing him to relax and enjoy life. He was ready to retire and spend his time traveling and spending time with his grandkids. He had just finished building a house in Morelos, Mexico, and it was time to move in and start living there. In each situation, Peter is a source of joy. His charisma and charity entice everyone he encounters. He is reliable, trustworthy, and a hard worker. If he could, he would give you his shirt from his back. Like others his age, Peter was experiencing the aches and pains that come with aging. After seeing his bloodwork irregularities, the doctor referred him to the emergency department. Peter is in the hospital for four days, undergoing a battery of tests before getting the worst possible news. You do not want your doctor to speak the following three words: Cancer exists, and you have it. A terminal diagnosis may be a life-changing experience for the patient and their loved ones. You’ll have many questions when you get over the first shock. There will be many unanswered issues, or the answers will fall short of your expectations. When you are diagnosed with a terminal condition, all you can think about is when you will depart this world. This is why, in some instances, euthanasia should be legalized. Because these people have little chance of recovery, euthanasia alleviates their suffering, and everyone deserves a dignified death; it should be legal.

If you have been diagnosed with a terminal condition, there is no hope of recovery. A doctor cannot deliver such dreadful news in a kind or pleasant manner. You’re feeling a wide variety of emotions. It’s normal to experience strong emotions such as rage, despair, and denial. When you are informed you are dying, your body becomes cold, your eyesight narrows, and you seem unable to grasp anything else. Many individuals cannot conceive of dying in such a horrendous, horrible way. Losing a loved one to a terminal condition is a heartbreaking experience for everyone involved. Death’s reaction is neither acceptable nor improper. The same is valid for how people respond to the diagnosis. Priorities must be established, and choices must be made. For many people, planning one’s funeral is a taboo subject. Although it may be difficult, everyone must be aware of your approach. Your health will eventually deteriorate, your organs shut down, and the agony becomes unbearable. At such point, the choice of euthanasia becomes available.

Being diagnosed with a terminal illness reveals that one’s death is near. The term “euthanasia” is a combination of the Greek words E.U. (“good”) and Thanatos (“death”) (which means “death”). This phrase refers to the deliberate act of ending one’s life to avoid further suffering. Users share and use user-generated content on Wikimedia Commons. Everyone wishes for a peaceful or dignified death. The ideal end is quick and painless, such as during sleep or in an accident. When a patient requests euthanasia, the doctor may administer a lethal dose of medication to end the patient’s life immediately. Francis Bacon, who lived in the 17th century, was one of the first known people to use it for therapeutic purposes (Baker). As part of medically assisted suicide, a physician prescribes and administers a lethal dose of medication to a patient, who then voluntarily commits suicide.

Those who seek euthanasia or other forms of physician-assisted suicide are motivated primarily by a desire for pain relief. These treatments, previously only available to patients with terminal illnesses, are becoming more widely available. Dr. Chabot was the first psychiatrist to help a mentally and physically healthy patient commit suicide due to severe depression. (McQuoid-Mason) The practice of euthanasia on otherwise healthy people changed the definition of suicide. A person cannot exist if they are constantly in pain. For example, Peter Kettelslegers has frequently beaten himself because he can no longer bear the pain of his cluster headaches. (McQuoid-Mason) Kettelslegers is considering euthanasia because he believes there is no point in living if all he will do is suffer. He is averse to causing further distress for his family, Alex and Thomas. (McQuoid-Mason) Simona, 85 years old, has had enough of this world and is ready to leave. Simone has obtained three signatures from licensed physicians to commit suicide by lethal injection. (McQuoid-Mason).

As she prepares to leave her senior residence, she ties up any loose ends with her neighbors. According to the doctor, she can rest easy knowing that she and her daughter will share a grave. As a result, many people have strong feelings about the morality and feasibility of euthanasia and assisted suicide. They see the world through their distinctive lens, shaped by their values and principles. It is difficult to bring up the subject if you or someone you know does not have the same condition. It’s difficult to watch a loved one’s health deteriorate. It must be painful for everyone around them when a loved one finally emerges from their shell, only to discover that they have drastically changed. When a person’s quality of life is significantly reduced due to illness or injury, they have the option of dying with dignity. No one would ever be forced to endure physical pain in an ideal world. If they must suffer any longer, let them choose the time and place of their death. They can die whenever they want rather than when the illness does.

Terminally ill people should have the option to end their lives with dignity if it is a human right. After doing more research on the subject, I discovered documentaries discussing each approach’s advantages and disadvantages. Guzaarish is the first. In the film Guzaarish, Ethan Mascarenhas begs his radio audience for permission to make a lifelong commitment. Ethan was paralyzed after a tragic accident. After 14 years, he has decided to end his pain and the pain of those around him. The experience of R. Guzaarah as a person with paraplegia demonstrates how difficult it is to live with this condition. Ethan’s doctor, like the vast majority of other doctors whose patients request euthanasia, is opposed to the practice and is thus forced to make a difficult decision: treat Ethan or let him die. Every physician is responsible for providing compassionate care to dying patients. However, according to the Hippocratic Oath and the World Medical Association’s Geneva Declaration, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are unethical and thus violate international conventions. (Nunes) Consider how difficult it would be to rely on someone else for your entire emotional and physical well-being. Even though it is difficult, I would make the same choice in your situation. You could also watch You Don’t Know Jack. I couldn’t put into words how I felt in the aftermath. A new film is based on the biography of Jack Kevorkian, an assisted suicide advocate convicted of murder for his role in Lou Gehrig’s death. As stated by (Levinson), Mr. Kevorkian’s initial intention to alleviate his victims’ suffering is evident, but his subsequent acts seem to violate the very premise of euthanasia. He seemed to rush to see how many victims he could aid end their pain while avoiding punishment. This is why there is a questionable threshold and intense debate: things might quickly deteriorate.

The risk of a slippery slope leading to the authorization of forced euthanasia is a compelling moral argument against euthanasia. Because it is a step away from the actual act of murder and hence more difficult to police, there is a danger that murderers will not be brought to justice if involuntary euthanasia becomes legal. Furthermore, there is concern that doctors may murder terminally sick patients without their knowledge or agreement. In the worst-case scenario, they would begin murdering people to fill empty hospital beds or save money. These instances demonstrate how dangerous it would be to enable the legalization of murder to pave the way for the legalization of euthanasia on demand. Those who favor euthanasia say that terminally ill patients should be able to terminate their lives whenever they wish. Euthanasia supporters claim that individuals should be able to choose when and how they want to die, regardless of the repercussions to their health. The reasoning is often that human rights should already be respected and that more limits are unnecessary. Those who feel that killing should be criminalized to preserve the rights of those who may profit from it promote respect for a person’s right to life, which assures that they will not be slain without their consent. It might be argued that no one has the right to oppose another person’s desire to die as long as no damage is done to others since death is a personal problem. This school of thought holds that voluntary killing is ethically justified as long as it satisfies the core interests of all parties and does not violate the victims’ or murderers’ fundamental rights.

As a result, it’s reasonable to assume that most individuals would prefer not to bring up the matter. Many individuals, perhaps selfishly, believe that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are unethical because they do not want their loved ones to die prematurely despite their pain. It is unbearable for them to live in any way other than their physical body. Religious and political concerns drive some people’s hostility to this method. Nobody prepares for the death of a loved one. A wide range of variables must be considered. There are undoubtedly convincing arguments on both sides, and the debate over legalizing assisted suicide continues to this day. If a terminally ill patient’s life is nothing but agony, I believe it is acceptable to help them die if they have the necessary permissions. However, I consider various arguments against capital punishment, such as the possibility of a slippery slope. In my opinion, the option of voluntary execution makes it easier to get away with other crimes, including murder. Because I can see merit in both proponents’ and opponents’ arguments for legalizing capital punishment, I find myself in the unenviable position of being unable to reach a firm conclusion one way or the other. I can’t feel that this is against the rules of my religious upbringing. Contrarily, seeing a loved one’s painful death has led me to believe that euthanasia should be an option for terminally ill patients who are in pain. Even if they don’t end up using it, many people value just having the choice.

Works Cited

  1. Dieterle, Jill M. “Physician assisted suicide: a new look at the arguments.” Bioethics 21.3 (2007): 127-139.
  2. McQuoid-Mason, David J. “Doctor-assisted suicide: What is the present legal position in South Africa?.” SAMJ: South African Medical Journal 105.7 (2015): 526-527.
  3. Baker, Robert. Review of A Concise History of Euthanasia: Life, Death, God, and Medicine. Bulletin of the History of Medicine, vol. 80 no. 4, 2006, p. 789-790. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/bhm.2006.0000.
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Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide. (2020, Mar 24). Retrieved from