Euthanasia is a very debatable topic that is currently being discussed all around the world with the purpose to whether it should or not be legalized. Some countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and some states in the USA), already allowed the act to be practiced, however not every nation has made the same. The very first country to legalize euthanasia was the Netherlands 2001. Whenever inquired as to whether the individuals who are at death’s door or in a coma ought to reserve the option to be euthanized, 86% of the overall population concur that the method ought to be an alternative. In the United States of America, in 2018 over 50 percent of the population consider euthanasia morally right.
In Italy, about 75 percent of the answers to a survey weather euthanasia should be provided to relieve suffering were positive concerning the practice of the method, but should it really be legalized? I personally chose to write about this topic because I have participated in some debates at school about euthanasia and despite being aware of what it is and some of the arguments in favor and against, I feel that I want to know more about real life cases and its influence in society. This is what really inspired me to do further research. This essay will be divided into 4 parts: It will begin with various context about what the topic is, it will continue onwards with arguments in favor and against euthanasia and will end with a conclusion that will hopefully respond to the main question.
Scientifically speaking and according to Oxford’s Dictionaries, Euthanasia is described as “the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma”. The word euthanasia originally comes from the Ancient Greek words, “eu”(stands for good) and “thánatos”(stands for death), when merged meaning “good death”. Not only it can be used to mercilessly kill someone with a terminal physical disease such as cancer, but also can be applied on psychiatric suffering diseases.
For example, in the year of 2017 in the Netherlands, there were counted 6585 euthanized people due to physical illness, in addition to 83 people euthanized due to mentally illness, including the case of the Dutch women Aurelia Brouwers that said “When I was twelve I suffered from depression, and then I was first diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder”, which is an identity issue portrayed by serious emotional episodes, hasty conduct, and trouble shaping stable individual connections, “Other diagnoses followed including attachment disorder, chronic depression, I’m chronically suicidal, I have anxiety, psychoses, and I hear voices.” Aurelia personally chose to be euthanized and everyday would wish for the day to come.
Moreover, there are two types of euthanasia: active and passive. Their distinctions are simple. Active euthanasia is when an individual straightforwardly and intentionally causes the patient’s passing by for example giving an excessive number of drugs to the patient, knowing it will lead to his/her death.
On the other hand, in passive euthanasia happens when the doctor or expert quits from exercising what is maintaining the patient alive such as removing the nourishing tube attached to the body, not concluding a surgery or a procedure that is vital for the patient or by simple switching off the life-bolster machines. Many medics are in favor of the idea of allowing the patient to choose how they want to die, without having to face moral conflicts however, many believe that active euthanasia is more morally right as the patient dies in a short period of time absent torment of pain.
Being euthanasia a very controversial topic, many are in favor and many are against its legalization. People come out with arguments from views from social to economic and religious views, what is causing many countries to debate on the topic. The one’s that support it have some clear and relevant reasons: Torturous pain is probably the main reason that leads a person to request euthanasia. About 64 percent of Americans think that a specialist ought to be permitted to end the life of a patient who has an agonizing and fatal sickness if that persistent wishes to bite the dust. When speaking about pain, we can say that a person has a disease that is physically tremendously painful, or in psychological pain, meaning in a state where the individual is highly under the effect of drugs, or in an induced coma, that isn’t even able to enjoy its appearance and way of living.
In these cases, ill-people request euthanasia to die with “dignity” and peace, without having to go through the tremendous pain caused by the psychological or mental disease. Kay Smith, a palliative care nurse that is expected to die from the condition sepsis (a life-threatening perilous reaction to an infection that can prompt tissue harm, organ disappointment, and demise), wants to have the freedom of choosing when to die so that here last memory to her daughters isn’t the one of a horrifying death: “My legacy to both of my daughters is to be independent, and love, and I want that to be the final memory of me – not a horrible, nasty death.”
Consequently, many argue that just a decent quality life merits living. Various times, the person in coma will become a burden to its relatives, specifically the most loved ones such as family and close friends. In Oregon, an American state where euthanasia is legal, about 66 percent of patients ending it all have communicated worry about being a “load” on others. When presented in such state, the capability of carrying out activities that directly influence the person’s wish to live is absent, therefore there is a privation of independence, so the one’s that favor euthanasia argue that there is a clear reason to be allowed to depart to the afterlife. A current survey made in Oregon, shows that one of the major reasons for recurring to euthanasia is because of the incapability of performing real life enjoyable activities.
In addition, another reason that some promoters of euthanasia argue, is of economic concern. The argument is about the amount of money that can be saved from annual spending on health care assistance. For example, in Canada, according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, “Medical assistance in dying could reduce annual health care spending across Canada by between $34.7 million and $138.8 million, exceeding the $1.5–$14.8 million in direct costs associated with its implementation,” giving a clear reason for the legalization of the method concerning the country’s economy, whereas in the Netherlands and Belgium, the countries could also save up to 139 million dollars every year.
On the other hand, there is also a vast amount of people against the concept and the practice of euthanasia. Regardless of whether euthanasia is considered an “ethical” practice, the split is basically more or less the same, for and against. The ones that oppose euthanasia majorly favor the concept of sanctity and appreciation of life and although there are many atheist people that do not support euthanasia, most of the opposers are religious people, mainly Christians.
The religion believes that every life is one worth of living, and that suffering and enduring may have esteem as every single individual should be taken into consideration, emphasizing the fact that our future is in god’s hands and faith in god needs to be present. Christianity believes that suffering can have a spot in God’s arrangement, and that it enables the sufferer to partake in Christ’s misery and his recovering penance. They trust that Christ will be available to partake in the enduring of the adherent.
The pope John Paul II that has been the leader of the Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005, once said that “It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls”, proving that many Christians accept suffering on account of its benefit. Furthermore, also religious individuals argue that by tolerating the practice of euthanasia, it disregards the lives of the handicapped and ill patients considering them as sub-par, in the public eye. Concerning the disabled opinions, many argue that everyone should be equal and have the same right to live, as there are many disabled people who really enjoy their lifestyles. Because of the reasons presented, religion considers the method morally wrong as it opposes their believes that life is a precious gift from god.
Concerning the medical expert, many advocates of the opposition argue that legalizing euthanasia would give an excessive amount of control to the specialist accompaning the patient. Prior to the era of Christ, there was an ancient Greek physician named Hippocrates, who is now seen as the father of Medicine. Back then he had two main roles, to heal and to kill. As technology evolved, doctors now must learn and understand on when to let the patient die or try to save their lives, according to the patient’s current health status. Now a days most of the specialists handle these patients properly, however, in many cases the medical diagnosis is wrong and with convenient palliative care, the patient can be saved.