Top-Rated Free Essay

Euthanasia of Terminally Ill Patients

Good Essays
Euthanasia of Terminally Ill Patients Someone is being faced with a painful, incurable disease. They can either be allowed to choose a peaceful death or be forced to continue on while slowly forgetting their senses and loved ones. Euthanasia is the procedure of intentionally ending a life, in order to relieve pain and suffering. The word euthanasia stems from Greek and means “good death”. While some people believe euthanasia to be just an excuse for suicide, in reality it’s not. Euthanasia is the ending a life in order to stop any agony that may accompany a terminal illness, while suicide is rather just the ending of one’s life by their own will, by their own means.
Euthanasia is important because it helps to relieve the suffering of people who, usually, would not be alive if it were not for medications. Euthanasia relieves the torture and suffering from dying patients, saves families money and prolonged agony, and allows the person to die in peace and with dignity. The first known statement about euthanasia was made by Greek physician Hippocrates in 400 BC, when he said, “I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel"(History of Euthanasia 1) in his Hippocratic Oath. Since then, there have been many recordings of people speaking of euthanasia throughout history. As the time line nears towards the present, people have started to accept euthanasia over time, as well as even support it. In 1990, a young wife in Florida, Terri Schiavo, suffered from cardiac arrest that destroyed most of her brain and left her in a vegetable state. In 1998, her husband went to court, asking them to disconnect the feeding tube that kept Terri alive, because she could no longer enjoy her life or be herself. All she was left to do was lay there and continue living. For fifteen years, her parents fought against the idea, but the court decided that it was cruel to keep her alive any longer and on March 18, 2005 the feeding tube was disconnected. (Jost 1-2) This case rose up the centuries-old issues and brought them back into the minds of the people. It brought up a legal understanding of whether or not euthanasia should be allowed; it brought up the right to die.
Many people believe that if euthanasia was legalized, it would be the same as legalizing suicide. They believe that because the person is asking for their own death, they are in depression or have some other mental illness. People with depression are known to take their lives, usually by attention-grabbing means. A suicide is often a cry for help or a plead for attention and the problems that suicidal people might be facing, whatever it is that are causing them agony is in most cases curable. (O.Bannon and Balsh 2-3) These problems are typically mental, such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Although they cannot be taken away forever, they can be cured by daily doses of medications. Euthanasia is different from suicide. And to prevent the practice from becoming a "right to suicide" (O.Bannon and Balsh 1), the law states that it is only to be used for people who are dying within six months of an incurable disease, whom can still speak for themselves and do not have a mental disorder, such as depression. If the person shows signs of depression or other mental illnesses, the doctors will not allow them to end their life. (Kingsbury 2) Euthanasia is the ending of life in order to bring an end to the torture and suffering of a terminal disease, not the killing of another due to twisted judgments of the mentally impaired. The people who ask for euthanasia are not suffering from agony that is in their mind, they are facing a physical disease that is painfully taking their life. Euthanasia has to have consultation from at least two doctors, agreeing that the person has six months to live and the patient must have two requests for it within two weeks, both with two witnesses that are not doctors. (Span 2) One cannot simply ask the doctors to be killed and be allowed to; they must meet all of the requirements.
As well as comparing euthanasia to suicide, many people also believe it to be murder. This is understandable, because it is the killing of another person, with the intention of killing them. It is the ending of a life and as some may argue, their death is not natural and commonly referred to as ignoring the will of God. People in the past always had loathed the killing of others, even if by a doctor. However, they had far worse medical technology. If any of the people of past centuries had come to the present, they would be able to survive the illnesses that took their lives, as they are common today.
Although euthanasia is the killing of a person, the purpose is to end their misery, not just to end their life. Murder is primarily characterized as an unlawful or wrongful killing of another person with malice intentions. Although it is the killing of another person, euthanasia is to kill with peaceful intentions, rather than spiteful. It should not be considered murder, unless it is out of these malicious motives. In some religious contexts, suicide is considered a crime committed due to confusion and despair, while euthanasia is considered to be a work of faith. If an animal is in pain and people cannot relieve it, the animal is put down. Although it comes with a great deal of sadness from the pet’s owners, it isn’t frowned upon by any other means. Animal can be killed out of sympathy, but killing a person out of sympathy is considered a crime.
There are many times when euthanasia is confused with assisted suicide. Assisted suicide is when someone else provides the person with the information, guidance and means to take their life; physician assisted suicide is if the person who provides the means of death is a doctor. (Euthanasia Definitions 1) It does not have to be regulated by a physician, although in most cases it is. When it comes to assisted suicide, the actual death is caused by the person on their own, in most cases receiving drugs, poison or equipment to end their life from the other party involved. This is different from euthanasia, seeing as with assisted suicide, the person must take the medication or various other means on their own. In the United States, Oregon and Washington are the only states to have legalized voluntary assisted suicide, note that it is assisted suicide that has been legalized. Of the people who obtained life-ending medications in these states, more than a third of them ended up not using them. (The Next Death-With-Dignity Battleground 3) Euthanasia requires another person to end one's life for them. Additionally, Euthanasia has multiple other types of classifications. Voluntary euthanasia is when the person has requested to be killed, while non-voluntary euthanasia is when the person has not requested their death. Voluntary euthanasia is the most common type as well as the only type, as classified by willingness, that has been legalized in the United States. The most uncommon is involuntary euthanasia, only happening on rare occasions. Involuntary euthanasia is where the person has requested against dying and is killed against that request. Euthanasia can also be carried out by action or omission. Euthanasia by action is when the cause of death is something given, such as a lethal injection, whereas by omission is when the cause of death is by not providing the means the person needs to continue living. (Euthanasia Definitions 1) Each type of euthanasia is different and if legalized, they would each have their own lawful specifications.
People who are dying from a terminal disease require medications, scans and treatments as well as basic nourishment in order to stay alive. All of these medical necessities cost money, the bills add up and families end up in debt. Once this happens, families can either keep on burying themselves further into debt or stop paying and watch their loved one die with the belief that it was their fault. With euthanasia, families don’t have to feel guilty due to the fact that it was the patient’s decision. They also will not have to have financial issues while the person is alive as well as once they are dead. If a family is in debt due to implications of disease, the money is not restored once the person has passed away. They might remain in debt for years to come. With this debt in addition to the loss of their loved family member, it could result in depression as well. If the patient chooses euthanasia, they can save their families months worth of money that would have paid for their medications. However, patients are not urged by the doctors to feel like they are burdening their family, because the goal is always to keep them alive, but if death is inevitable, euthanasia is a method that can be taken to save money and dignity.
Keeping a person alive who cannot remember their family any longer and have no free will any more is considered to be more justified than allowing them to die and live in peace and with dignity. This person has to continue on, only living because they get daily supplies of medicine and assistance from nurses? These people have no dignity left, they cannot live for themselves; not only are they left with no dignity, but they are also in pain. Physical pain, emotional pain and mental pain, though not mental illness. Euthanasia is the only sure way to end this pain, it is better than any medications ever could be, because it ensures that does not come back. People with disease deserve everything that a healthy person does. Surely they deserve to live, but if it gets to the point where they will be in pain and suffering until their near death, then they should be allowed to die with what they also deserve to have: dignity, memories, peace and love. Everyone shall die of one way or another, but it does not matter how one dies. What is truly important for all people, terminal disease or not, is how they live.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Working with Terminally Ill Patients When we pass on, into the later life we often think that our dying wishes would be our last words. However, that is not always true. While reading an article titled “Psychopharmacological Agents for the Terminally Ill and Bereaved.” Written by Goldberg, Ivan K.; Malitz, Sidney; Kutscher, Austin H. The above-mentioned article states that the last wishes that a human being cares for are not always followed. While reading this article, the theory used, is…

    • 699 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Caring for Terminally Ill Patient Personal Perceptions Regarding Quality of Life and Health Promotion The quality of one’s life is an important aspect in life and health promotion. Sadly, many people do not start to look at their quality of life until faced with a shortened lifespan. As humans, we tend to think too much. And, when faced with an illness, we often find ourselves thinking only about the negative aspects of the diagnosis: questioning what we did to deserve it, what our family will…

    • 3248 Words
    • 13 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    The Ultimate Choice for a Terminally Ill Patient “I’m going to die Monday at 6:15pm.” These were the words of Marc Weide’s mother when she chose euthanasia after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. In an astonishingly direct portrayal of his mother’s last days leading up to her appointment, Weide quotes his mother regarding the option of chemo-therapy, “I’m not going bald - I don’t want people saying, ‘How sad, that beautiful hair is all gone.’ Never” (Theguardian.com). The option for one to…

    • 1270 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Euthanasia: The merciful alternative "There is a time to be born and a time to die... a time to kill and a time to heal... a time to search and a time to give up."(Ecclesiastes 3:2a, 3a, 6a) Euthanasia enthusiasts would agree with this quote. Euthanasia is a word that can be defined as the intentional termination of life by another at the explicit request of the person who dies. (Webster's dictionary) The purpose of this essay is to fortify the positive role of euthanasia by explaining why it is…

    • 510 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    allows patients who are suffering from terminally illnesses. Thesis Statement Model #2: Thesis with Concession Notice that this model makes a concession by addressing an argument from the opposing viewpoint first, and then uses the phrase "even though" and states the writer's opinion/main idea as a rebuttal. Even though If the terminally illness has a hope, the patient and family should consider taking that option of second chance. , A law should be passed in all states that allows patients who…

    • 1007 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Should terminally ill patients have the right to die? Euthanasia refers to ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering. Terminal illness means any illness which ends in death and there is no possibility of recovery. So is it fair for terminally ill patients to suffer pain for longer than they need? And should they have the right to end their own life? People are usually eager to avoid death because they value being alive, because they have many things they wish to do, and experiences…

    • 995 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Do Terminally Ill Patients Have A Choice In Ending Their Life? Carol Kimmel Axia College of University of Phoenix Under what conditions if any is euthanasia morally justified? Do individuals have the right to die or be kept mechanically alive by machines? Do doctors have a moral obligation to use every possible medical procedure to keep terminal patients alive or can they let the patient die with dignity? Dying has become a problem and to answer these questions without having any legal issues…

    • 2299 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Mexico should legalize physician-assisted suicide (PAS) for the terminally ill. Euthanasia, otherwise known as mercy killing, is known to people an act of allowing a person to take the life of the person who wishes to die as long as it is voluntary. PAS is somewhat like euthanasia, but with specific restrictions. Only a physician is allowed to assist a voluntary patient in their wish to end their life, and of course PAS for the terminally ill would only allow physicians to help them die. I am arguing…

    • 780 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The terminally ill have many options. They have the Right to Try, which means the patients get the chance to try drugs not passed by federal testing. They also have the option of palliative care. Palliative care is patient and family centered care that focuses on easing suffering. Hospice is the palliative care given near the end of life. If their condition is very poor, they could choose acute medical care, which is palliative care in an acute setting. With acute care comes long term care. Palliative…

    • 426 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Assisted suicide for terminally ill patients 1. Being able to choose when to die is a human right. This exact point is presented in the article “Perhaps I’ll say goodbye on Twitter”. According to Tony Nicklson, who is a 58 year old, patient who has been able to move only his eyelids since suffering a stroke in 2005, it is the most fundamental human right. He told the journalist and former nurse Nina Lakhani, that: “he was simply seeking the same right to die that able-bodied people were able to…

    • 953 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays