Mercy Killing or Murder? Essay
Mercy Killing or Murder?
It has been exactly one month ago your mother told you she has cancer and it is inoperable. The doctor have her three months to live and told her that the cancer would be very painful and would spread to her brain causing her to be very confused and disoriented. Now you stand before your mother, a mere shadow of the person she once was. She looks at you with tears in her eyes and asks you to do something that you would never consider doing in a million years.
Your mother that you love more than life itself has just asked you to help her commit suicide. She tells you she cannot stand the pain anymore and she cannot bear to see the family stand around her crying, hoping and praying that she will get better knowing she will not… What would you say to her? Would you or could you help her? Would you ask the doctor to do it for you? These are just a few questions one would be faced with if put into that situation. On one hand, you want to do whatever your mother tells you to do.
However, on the other hand actually you would be committing murder in the eyes of the law. Euthanasia in my opinion should be a freedom of choice because it provides a way for individuals to relieve extreme pain, it allows individuals to die with dignity, and it frees up medical funds to help other individuals. Although, some may conclude that euthanasia would not only be for people who are terminally ill, it would become non-voluntary, and it would become a means of health care cost containment.
Euthanasia provides a way for individuals to relieve extreme pain. Many people fear the lingering effects of chronic illness, when pain and the inability to control one’s body reduce the quality of life (Kavanaugh). What person wants to live if their life is nothing but pain from the time they wake up until they fall asleep. Most people who have these life ending illnesses also have to heal with having to have someone take care of them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This is where most individuals lose what dignity they have.
Poor mental health can be treated- medications, psychotherapy, etc. – whereas terminally ill individuals plagued with excruciating pain death is inevitable (Humphry). What kind of life is it to have someone do everything for you? Basically, these individuals are like life size dolls that have to be bathed, dressed, and feed by someone in order to live. There cannot be many individuals who want to live their remaining days on this earth in that situation. Euthanasia allows individuals to die with dignity.
When a person has no quality of life, then they should be able to choose to die because it is unfair to force them to continue living (Smith). It is understandable that someone would rather die than have to wear diapers and have someone there that has to take it off and clean up after them. That is just one of the very many things that cause a person to lose their dignity. Human life is sacred it should not be degraded by reducing the quality of life for the sake of extending the quality of life (Green). Family members also go through tremendous grief watching their loved one day after day suffer.
Most individuals will tell you that after their loved one has passed away they are glad they are not suffering anymore. Euthanasia provides relief not only for the individual who is suffering, also for the family members who have to endure seeing their loved one suffer and watch lay in utter embarrassment due to the fact that they cannot control their bodily functions anymore. Euthanasia frees up medical funds to help other individuals. Money saved could be used towards saving people who can be or towards research into why their condition cannot be cured (Flemming).
Doctors could be on the brink of discovering a cure to a certain illness but they cannot get the funding needed to continue their research because the money went to keep a few individuals alive who were diagnosed with only a month to live. Is that fair to the parents of a five year old who is waiting for that research to be done so their son or daughter could be able to live a full life, grow old, and have children of their own? It would also help the financial burden that would occur on the remaining family members.
An individual staying in the hospital one month could accumulate charges in the tens of thousands of dollars. Millions of dollars of taxpayer’s money is spent keeping alive and caring for many people who are just waiting in hospitals to die (Humphry). Can you imagine the research doctors could do with that kind of money? Maybe if a few of those who were diagnosed with only a month to live and wanted to end their life had the freedom to do so, doctors could use the money saved and put it towards finding a cure for whatever that individual was dying from.
Who knows, maybe the next person that came along with that illness would be cured due to the fact that a few certain individuals choose to end their lives by euthanasia. Euthanasia would not only be for people who are “terminally ill. ” The legalization of euthanasia would be devastating because it would have mentally ill and depressed individuals that do have some hope of recovery wanting to end their lives (Weir 58). Individuals who are depressed might at that very moment think they want to end their life.
Nevertheless, what about a few days later when things do not seem so awful. That individual may not choose euthanasia. Depression, in my opinion should not be a factor in someone wanting to end his or her life. The reason being is that when someone is depressed they may feel like they do not want to live another day, but the next day they might feel very different. That is the problem with someone being diagnosed with depression. One day they may want to die, the next day they may feel like they are on top of the world and want nothing more than to live.
An article in the journal, Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior, described euthanasia guidelines for those with a hopeless condition, “hopeless condition” was defined to include terminal illness, severe physical or psychological pain, physical or mental debilitation or deterioration, or a quality of life no longer acceptable to the individual (Braddock). How can any guidelines be set due to the fact that everyone’s idea of an acceptable quality of life is different?
What you may think is a good quality of life; another individual may think that if they had to live like that they would go insane. There needs to be more research done on these guidelines before they are set in stone. Euthanasia can become a means of health care cost containment. Legalized euthanasia raises the potential for a profoundly dangerous situation in which doctors could find themselves far better off financially if a seriously ill or disabled person “chooses” to die rather than receive long-term health care (Smith).
This concept would put individuals and their families in an awkward position. Knowing you’re going to die in only a matter of months, do you decide to go ahead and end your life knowing the money saved will help someone else, or do you tough it out waiting and hoping that some kind of miracle cure comes in the nick of time giving you another chance at life? Their doctors might course individuals with HMO’s into euthanasia because HMO’s are all about making money (Dyck). No individual should be made to feel guilty about wanting to live, especially by his or her insurance carrier or doctor.
No one should be pressured into making that decision especially when they are ill. Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath before they begin to practice. They swear in this oath to protect life, not to try to end it. If doctors start being coursed by insurance carriers this would go against everything they are suppose to believe in. Some doctors in this world who are all about making money and the legalization of euthanasia would give those unscrupulous doctors the perfect opportunity to make more money. Euthanasia will become non-voluntary.
Emotional and psychological pressures could become overpowering for depressed or dependent people causing them to opt for euthanasia (Smith). If doctors start suggesting euthanasia to their patients, those patients may feel like the doctor knows what is best for their situation and actually consider euthanasia only because they feel like the doctor is pressuring them. Before the doctor suggested euthanasia, it was not even a considered by the patient. Doctors need to realize what kind of influence that they have over patients before they start suggesting euthanasia, especially when it comes to the elderly.
Most elderly people feel as if their doctor that they have been with for years is some kind of “God” and will listen to and do just about whatever the doctor tells them. If the choice of euthanasia is considered as good as a decision to receive care, many people will feel guilty for not choosing death (Flemming). This is where euthanasia becomes a problem. Euthanasia goes against most people’s religious belief. However, if the doctor is telling them that it is ok, how are these elderly individuals going to be able to make a sound decision?
Euthanasia is a very complex topic, one with many doubts and unanswered questions. The question society needs to answer is not: is euthanasia morally permissible (it has tacitly conceded that it is), but which type of euthanasia is permissible, and under what conditions? The power to terminate life, at present, solely rests in the hands of the medical profession and is not exempt from misuse or abuse. Euthanasia should be a freedom of choice in my opinion, it not only provides individuals relief from extreme pain, it allows them to die with dignity, and it frees up medical funds to help others that are in need.
However, some individuals may feel that euthanasia would not only be for people who are “terminally ill,” it would become non-voluntary, and it it would become a means of health care cost containment. I do not claim to hold the answers to the difficult questions euthanasia raises, nor do I claim to be a pro euthanasia lobbyist. However, I do believe that if an individual is terminally ill and feel that their quality of life is not acceptable, he or she should have the right to choose to either let nature take its course, or choose euthanasia and die with dignity.
Braddock, Clarence. Physician-Assisted Suicide, Ethics in Medicine. 11 Apr 2008 Univ. of Washington School of Medicine 19 Apr 2008 http://depts. washington. edu/bioethx/topics/pas. html Dyck, Arthur. Life’s Worth: The Case Against Assisted Suicide Economy and Society. AD 2000 16. 2 05 March 2003 http://www. ad2000. com. au/articles/2003/march2003p17_1281. html Flemming, Rebecca. “Suicide, Euthanasia and Medicine: Reflections ancient and Modern” Economy and Society. 34. 2 (2005) 295-321 Ebscohost. Hazard Community and Technical Coll. Lib, Hazard, Ky. 19 Apr. 2008
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 30 December 2016
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