For several years, euthanasia has been a subject of controversy. Euthanasia is a fairly new problem for the United States and has gained a horrible reputation from negative media publicity surrounding the issue. According to a website: Euthanasia also known as mercy killing is a way of painlessly terminating one’s life with the “humane” motive of ending suffering. Euthanasia came into the public eye recently during the Terri Schiavo controversy where her husband appealed for euthanasia while Terri’s family claimed differently. This is a classical case, shedding light on the pros and cons of mercy killing. (“Pros and Cons”)
Many claim the betrayal of God’s right to control the human life and state that the legalization of euthanasia is the legalization of murder. However, people that are opposed to euthanasia are thinking how the death of a terminally ill patient would affect them, not how it affects the person that is sick. If there is no other way to relieve the suffering of terminally ill patients, then the more humane option to suicide is euthanasia. Euthanasia has a purpose and should be evaluated as humanely filling a void created by our inhumane society. Terminally ill patients already feel that they are deprived of all rights. However, many adversaries are not in favor of a patient’s right to die, it may seem heartless to consider the financial burden of keeping a patient alive against the patient’s will. Smith states, “that the cost of chemotherapy is deemed an unjustified expense for the government to pay due to the limited time it would provide. However, the government informed the terminally ill patient that they will gladly pay for euthanasia” (Smith). By the article stating this quote, then if a patient has already told family members that they wish to die and discontinue the burden of the patient’s family members, euthanasia should be permissible. Even criminals have a right for their last wish.
A website states, “Legalizing euthanasia would help alleviate suffering of the terminally ill patients. It would be inhuman and unfair to make them endure the unbearable pain” (“Pros and Cons”). It is the physician’s duty to fulfill the last wish of terminally ill patients. If the person’s will is rejected, one might try to commit the act of suicide. Euthanasia is often mistaken or associated with assisted suicide. Doctors now have the technology and the skills to anticipate natural death almost indefinitely. A website article states, “In an attempt to provide medical and emotional care, a doctor does and should prescribe medicines that will relieve suffering even if the medications cause side effects. Euthanasia follows the same theory of dealing with suffering in a way to help one die peacefully” (“Pros and Cons”). There is a distinctive difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide. Euthanasia is the ability to die with dignity, while assisted suicide is assisting one to commit suicide. Euthanasia happens when a physician or other healthcare provider does something, such as administering a known lethal dose of a drug with the patient’s consent.
Physician-Assisted Suicide is where the terminally ill patient’s request a prescription for a fatal dose of a drug which they can administer to themselves at a time of their choosing. Ernst and Mennie had stated in an article that “both euthanasia and assisted suicide force someone else to end your life. The job of the health care professional is to maintain and enhance life, not end it” (Ernst and Mennie). However, when one thinks of the job of the health care professional it is to add quality and meaning to one’s life. In some situations, when there is a terminally ill patient that will never be able to have quality or meaning in their life wouldn’t it be the duty of the physician to suggest euthanasia so one may die with dignity. The first priority in the care of patients facing severe pain as a result of a terminal illness or chronic condition should be the relief of their pain. A website states, “Palliative care can control nearly all pain; when it can’t, doctors can administer palliative care sedation that allows the patient to die a natural death without experiencing horrible symptoms” (Erst and Mennie).
Many adversaries of euthanasia have feared that the increasing technology that doctors have now might lead to the abuse of euthanasia. Most people today support the rights of terminally ill patients to end their pain through euthanasia. A website states, “In case of individuals suffering from incurable diseases or in conditions where effective treatment wouldn’t affect their quality of life; they should be given the liberty to choose euthanasia” (“Pros and Cons”). This issue has been a personal experience for me after seeing my grandfather at death’s door for over 17 months, waking up in his feces and urine, and begging God to let him die. If euthanasia was legalized, maybe he would have had the choice to die with dignity. Terminally ill patients should have the right to choose euthanasia.
There has been much controversy over euthanasia in the past several years and is likely to remain a controversial subject because of the disapproval from many religious groups and the medical profession. Religious groups as well as the medical profession agree that doctors are not required to use extraordinary measures to prolong the life of the terminally ill. The government should legalize euthanasia because it is important in protecting the structure of the United States. Euthanasia should remain a choice and should be legalized. The right to choose euthanasia should not be restricted by other’s opinions and should be based on the individual’s right to die with dignity.