October 21, 2011
Assisted Suicide; right or wrong.
An elderly person in a nursing home, who can barely understand a breakfast menu, is asked to sign a form consenting to be killed. Is this right or wrong? Assisted suicide also known as euthanasia is defined as “the practice of ending someone’s life in order to release incurable suffering.” (“Euthanasia” 711) Many people who seek help in ending their lives have an agonizing disease and are in great pain. It may also occur when incurably ill people ask their physician or friend and or relative to put them to death or allow them to die. Some believe medical practitioners may cause harm to patients if they are given high doses of pain-killing drugs that could cause death. Euthanasia is categorized in different ways: voluntary, non-voluntary, active and passive (involuntary). Active euthanasia is the injection of lethal drug. “Active euthanasia involves direct action by a physician or caregiver to induce death in a patient.” (“Euthanasia” 711) Passive euthanasia takes place when a physician with holds or with
draws life-sustaining medical treatment, allowing an individual to die of natural causes. (711) in some cases physicians provide lethal drugs that patients can take to kill themselves. Voluntary euthanasia implies that a person is being put to death or his or her own free will, while involuntary euthanasia occurs without that party’s explicit request. (711)
Euthanasia has a long history, for example in India it was once a customary to throw elderly people into the Ganges River. (711) “Health care professionals maintain that physicians are obligated to practice according to the ancient Greek Hippocratic Oath.” (36) Taking this oath, physicians promise to help the sick and never cause harm. Medical Students today do not necessarily take to this oath, and some say it is outdated and open to a variety of...