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There are times when life becomes unbearable due to pain which is caused by certain conditions in life even though it is valuable. This is the time by which a person’s life seems more than a curse. This has led to granting one the right to end his/her life which is full of anguish. This right is referred to by the term euthanasia. This is the license to the medical professions which grant them the privilege to end the life of a person in question. This is the best method of realizing to the end of a good death which can be said to be the quality of the dying experience. Debates have been raised to focus on the appropriateness of euthanasia and pan physician-assisted suicide (PAS) for the individual, or whether the passive is the same as the active euthanasia.
The debate has also been furthered on whether to use morphine for the relieving the pain which has the respiratory depression risks and whether the premature death is the same as euthanasia. The issue is either the legalization or an overall sanctioning of these social practices. These issues are not about the morality of decisions regarding the individual care, but it is the ethics of having particular social policy and practice. The ethical question is the legalization of these practices of euthanasia and PAS in the promotion or thwarting the good death to those suffering from terminal illness (Emanuel). This paper will focus on the administration of euthanasia and PAS that help to have a good death. The acknowledging of the benefits and harms of permitted practices will become clear in analysing the type of judgment that is ethical regarding the decision to balance legalization of euthanasia and PAS or not.
Euthanasia has been defined as being a gentle and an easy way of dying that is brought forward to cases that concern incurable and painful diseases. This is the merciful murder of the hopelessly ill, injured, and permanently incapacitated whose life is full of suffering pain. Euthanasia has been conducted with the individual not given adequate acquiescence which can equate this involuntary as murder (Goel). The non-voluntary euthanasia is conducted to persons unable to make their own decisions living it to proxy. There are ailments that make the patients suffer the pain and despair losing all hopes for living, and thus medical assistance can prove to be a phenomenon that is out of reach for many. Therefore, it is argued that euthanasia or PAS should be prudently legalized as this would minimize agony death resulting in peaceful and dignified deaths (J).
There are several classifications of euthanasia with their distinctive definitions which include passive euthanasia, active euthanasia, PAS, and involuntary euthanasia.
Passive euthanasia is the hastening of death through the alteration of some form of life support, and letting the nature take its course through the methods of ceasing life supporting medical procedures and medications. This kind of procedure is usually done to those patients who are terminally ill and suffering so that their natural takes place sooner (Goel).
The active euthanasia is the causation of death through the direct action, which is in response to the desire and request form the particular patient. This action requires the patient to request euthanasia to be administered due to the pain and suffering from his illness.
The physician assisted suicide (PAS) is a process by which the physical voluntary supplies information and the means of committing suicide to a patient so that his/her life can be terminated easily (Goel).
The involuntary euthanasia is the killing of a person who has not expectedly requested to be aided in dying. This kind of practice is applied to those who are usually in the vegetative state or comma, and the chances of their recovery to consciousness are slim or null.
With the realization of euthanasia and PAS, there are some proponents which have been identified to the benefits of legalization that include the realization of the individual’s autonomy, the reduction of the needless pain and suffering of the patient, and the provision of psychological reassurance by the patients about to die.
The value of autonomy should not be dismissed as the permitting of euthanasia or PAS is essential in the realization of the individual autonomy. Securing of individual’s autonomy does not justify sufficiently the legalization of the practices as intentional ending of life needs intervention of persons to participate in the plans of a personal life (Emanuel). The safeguards would have the requirement of the patient to inquire a repeated euthanasia requests. Speaking about the case o the unremitting pain and suffering which cannot be relieved except through euthanasia or PAS, there should be a second physician to be sure about the prognosis and the fact that the patient is voluntary understanding the decision made. The decision realizes the good of autonomy to the relief of the unremitting pain (Emanuel).
The relief of pain and suffering through euthanasia or PAS needs to be legalized as there are many people dying, where most of them have been recognized and are distinctly in the processes of dying by which euthanasia or PAS can be requested. There is a proportion of the patients who would request euthanasia due to the unremitted pain and suffering rather than having an extended life of pain and suffering.
There is a relatively large number of people who are in the dying process and would be competent in the request of euthanasia or PAS which can be based on the proportion of those having the unremitting pain and suffering. These people can ultimately benefit from the administering of euthanasia or PAS which would give them a good death. Most people who would request for euthanasia or PAS are those who have the unremitting pain as it is not possible to determine and measure the extent of suffering that may require administering of euthanasia or PAS (Emanuel). Pain is the primary player of euthanasia and PAS request. Thus the legalizing of these practices would lead to few people requesting it as only pain that plays a major role in euthanasia or PAS request.
There is no way a patient can be directly asked to be let alone being terminally ill, whether having euthanasia or PAS as an option of a good death would be reassuring. The overall benefit of legalizing euthanasia or PAS would only be in relieving the pain to patient who realizes that his/her dying is too painful to wait for a natural death (Goel). Thus the legalization of euthanasia or PAS would have benefits to the society as there have been reported administrative and financial barrier that hindered the patients from receiving all the care needed for their illness and the performance of euthanasia would be the last option to resort to.
Many people have ended their lives due to the painful experiences related to their illness because there is no legality of administering euthanasia or PAS. These cases of patients committing suicide is due to the long legal cases determining whether the person’s illness is painful, and euthanasia or PAS needs to be administered to end his life peacefully (Emanuel). There are other illnesses that result in permanent brain damage which cannot be reversed in whatever case, and the patients end up in life supporting machine systems. The patients consequently do outstretch the financial capability of the relative through the financing of care that is given to the patient.
Some patients are in a vegetative condition, and thus they cannot make any decision concerning ending their life, and their ultimate end will be a natural death. Thus legalizing of euthanasia would make it possible for vegetative patients to be administered euthanasia as this would save the financial constraint of the patient’s relatives and the over-stretching of the medical equipments. The case of Terry Schiavo is an example to the argument of legalizing euthanasia or PAS. This patient was unable to make decisions herself due to the persistent vegetative condition lasting for 15 years after brain damage. It was her publicity, and the court battle that led her to life supporting machine detached ending her life through the deprivation of food and water (J).
The subject of euthanasia has proved to be difficult due to the different moral structures in addition to what it constitutes to its definition. Administration of euthanasia can be considered to be a merciful way of ending one’s life rather than waiting for the natural death with ailments which cause agonizing pain and suffering. Euthanasia or PAS can be argued to be a dignified way of dying unlike how many people will question the ethics of taking away one’s life (Goel). Though the legalization of euthanasia or PAS cannot be passed, there is a need for some legislation which will aid in termination of the patient’s life with painful illness, but only for those who voluntarily wish euthanasia to be administered.
The real alternative to euthanasia is the provision of love and competent caring for those who are dying as the reduction of their pain and related symptoms to manageable levels will make the feeling for euthanasia automatically reduce. The concept of euthanasia or PAS and the right to die are not themselves degrading as they rather develop the idea of human beings’ contentment (Goel). There are social-psychological theories concerning the aspect of committing suicide as leading to conclusions that are positive in the extermination and correction of the social conditions which can be directly or indirectly the contributors of suicidal incidents as being essential to the society not to take the trouble that the person is unhappy (Goel). Thus the ultimate healing touch for the dying patients is the administration of euthanasia or PAS. This will be the bestowing the right of a dignified death to the larger society with mechanisms which are a necessity.