Facing Life While Fighting For an End
Course: PHI208: Ethics and Moral Reasoning
Instructor: Rachael Howell
Facing Life While Fighting For an End
Every one of us will stare down the face of death at some point in our lives; however, some will face it in much more unpleasant circumstances then others. We all have a right to choose what we want to do with our bodies. We even have the right to decide that we no longer wish to endure the pain and suffering of a terminal illness. Terminal illness is when someone is suffering from something that will eventually take their life regardless of any medical interventions. In this paper I will discuss the point in which a person has a right to decide if they want to die and what processes are ethically moral in aiding them in seeing their wishes come to fruition. Medicine has created more ways to cure or to minimize a person’s suffering from diseases that were once fatal or painful. Medical technology has given us the power to sustain the lives of patients whose physical and mental capabilities cannot be restored, whose degenerating conditions cannot be reversed, and whose pain cannot be eliminated. As medicine struggles to pull more and more people away from the edge of death, there are pleas for relief outpouring from the tortured, deteriorated lives that all of us be merciful and give them the relief they need. (C Andre, and M Velazquez, KND). When a person is faced with the end of their life, it is said that we should agree that the absence of pain and the pride of the person should be taken into great consideration. When a terminally ill person is no longer capable of intellectual pursuits, is in constant pain and must rely on others for all of their needs, Mill feels that it is a more dignified choice to end the suffering, therefor fulfilling the "absence of pain" principle (pain including one's inability to seek higher pleasure through intellectual pursuit) (J Conley, April 2010). Doctors are at the epicenter of controversies regarding end of life issues and face so much scrutiny from both sides of opposing groups. Some doctors believe that it is okay to assist the patient in their wish to end their suffering by simply discontinuing any and all lifesaving interventions. Other doctors believe that every effort must be made to save the person’s life until there is nothing else left to do. Once the doctor has reached this point they will place patients under hospice care and the patients are given medications to treat their pain such as morphine. The doses are in such high amounts that the patient is no longer coherent and able to make decisions on their own. They will usually expire within days following their first does due to how the medication slows down the heart and breathing. Supporters of the utilitarian ethic believe that the benefits of assisted suicide outweigh the costs. They argue that assisted suicide allows terminally ill patients to avoid needless pain and misery in their final days. They believe that it will allow a patient to maintain control over the timing and manner of their death verses having to face an unsure timeline and suffer for what could be far longer and harder than a physician may give. The utilitarian believes that this would ensure that they would die with a sense of dignity. Post importantly it would insure that an individual’s right to self-autonomy would be honored at the end of life (M. Levin, KND). If you look at the views of a deontologist they would oppose this method because deontologists are all about duty. While both deontologists and utilitarian’s would typically do the same thing, Deontologists act out of duty, and would make their decision only once they see that the patient is on their last leg and is unable to respond for themselves, while the utilitarian acts out of a means to provide a sense of peace. When you are a utilitarian people may view you as irrational and...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document