The Ethics of Euthanasia
Euthanasia is the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma.
“As a certified Hospice and palliative care nurse, I am not an advocate of killing anyone,” Ashley Jordan, Clinical Director and alternate Administrator for Cypress Basin Hospice in Mt. Pleasant said. “I am an advocate of comfort care to ease the suffering.”
The practice of euthanasia is illegal in most countries. In the United States, it’s illegal in a few states, however, legal in most. There are different types of euthanasia. The most common type is voluntary euthanasia.
Voluntary euthanasia is performed at the will of a patient. Although, euthanasia can occur when a patient does not want it, yet it’s administered. This act is called involuntary euthanasia.
In our society, suicide is always traumatic for families and friends. If there is no alternative to relieve the suffering for terminal patients, then the more humane option to suicide is euthanasia.
Doctors or a family member, in some cases, uses injections, weapons, or other means of killing to act out euthanasia. When a patient pleads for euthanasia, doctors are placed in a dilemma.
If they help a patient die then their practicing license could be taken away and, occasionally, taken to court, possibly ruining their career.
When doctors receive their license to practice medicine, they have to take the Hippocratic Oath. The oath says: “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody when asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to that effect.”
The recovery from an illness requires that we fight it. If we know that there is an easy way out, such as euthanasia, then the human consciousness instinctively tries to take that way out. It is also likely that a person who chooses euthanasia may change his or her mind at the last moment and then…
It is too late.
A growing number of people believe that euthanasia is acceptable in our society because it’s an alternative to people that have family members that are either extremely deformed or severely disabled. Also, they believe that it’s a fair choice for senior citizens because they often suffer much before they finally can die.
To date, there is still much controversy about the legalization of euthanasia. So far, 35 states allow the withdrawal or withholding of life sustaining equipment of terminal patients at their will. The trend in “mercy killing” will continue until there is another alternative. Until then, doctors and family members will still have to resort to illegal euthanasia if they choose to help their patients and loved ones reach the inevitable.