The Euthanasia Conflict

Topics: Death, Euthanasia, Medical ethics Pages: 4 (1460 words) Published: February 22, 2006
The conflict of euthanasia has been an ongoing debate in several countries of this world. The debate has mostly been focused on whether it is morally right to perform euthanasia. Even though whether it is right or not is a heavy debate in itself, I would rather focus on who has the right to decide on the performance of euthanasia. Is it the doctors, family, or the patient themselves? Personally I believe that the patient should always have the final say on what happens to them. If the patient is rendered completely unable to make the decision for themselves, then and only then should the family be able to make that decision for them.

Euthanasia is a term used to describe "pity killings." There are two main types of euthanasia: passive and active. Passive euthanasia is basically the withholding of treatment to allow the patient to die. Active euthanasia is the administering of medication to assist the patient in dying. In Japan both have been practiced. An example of passive euthanasia happened when 20 elderly patients, most of them unconscious, were not connected to feeding tubes, allowing them to die at a Kochi hospital (Guitierrez). An example of active euthanasia happened when a patient with terminal cancer was given a lethal dose of muscle relaxant by a Kyoto doctor (Guitierrez).

In Japan, there are many different views on euthanasia in terms of who should or can decide. "The family has no legal right to give consent or decide for the patients. Only the individual patient has the right to give consent. In the case where the patient has lost consciousness, it is the doctors' legal duty to keep the patient alive," says Ikeda Naoki, a lawyer belonging to the association of Japanese lawyers (Guitierrez). This view is based on guidelines regarding euthanasia set down in Japan. For euthanasia to be legally carried out in Japan there has to be a certainty of death even with medical assistance (Guitierrez). The suffering of those close to the patient must be...

Cited: Gutierrez, Ed. "Debate on Euthanasia encouraged in Japan." Lancet February 8 1997: 409. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Atlantic Union Coll. Lib., South Lancaster, MA. 20 Nov. 2005
Kessel, Ross. "Euthanasia in Britain." Hastings Center Report May/Jun 1995: 51. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Atlantic Union Coll. Lib., South Lancaster, MA. 20 Nov 2005
McCord, William. "Death with Dignity" Humanist Jan/Feb 1993: 26-29. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Atlantic Union Coll. Lib., South Lancaster, MA 20 Nov. 2005
Passions NBC. WHDH, Boston. November 2005
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