Voluntary Assisted Euthanasia

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Response Summary

The summary of reply is an interview with a friend concerning the fierce debate of voluntary assisted euthanasia. Voluntary Active Euthanasia refers to the action in which a doctor or licensed healthcare professional provides and administers lethal medicine to a patient suffering at their voluntary, informed and also competent request with the aim of causing death. Different scholars and stakeholders have opposing views about physician-assisted suicide.

My friend greatly opposes the idea of voluntary assisted euthanasia in whatever circumstances a patient. The friend follows strongly religious teachings, and their religion does not allow any form of taking life. In their view, the power of taking life is supreme and only gets bestowed on their God. Therefore, a human being should not take life, since that gets considered as a crime against the religious laws. Death is naturally an unforeseen event for every individual and should not get intended. Religious philosophers might ground the proponents of the practice in God’s commandments in which the law thou shall not commit murder gets stated.

The friend argues that all the reasons given by the proponents of voluntary assisted euthanasia are invalid, irrelevant and fail. Some proponents of active voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide argue that the aim is to benefit the patient who is in pain and suffering as well as complying with the principle of autonomy in healthcare ethics (Paterson, 2012). However, the principle of autonomy in healthcare ethics has limitation since the disparity of knowledge and also clinical judgment compromises with the principle. It is also the responsibility of all medical practitioners to do good to all patients, improve their wellbeing and assist them in relieving all kind of pain and suffering. The suffering brought by illnesses that include terminal illness limit’s a patient’s right to autonomy. The suffering may so the severe and multifaceted challenge, however, is not insurmountable. The pain and suffering are treatable, and the use of powerful analgesics and pain management techniques can greatly relieve pain. Therefore, death should not get considered as an option when there are other probable corrective alternatives. It is wrong to assume that causing permissible death as a side effect to relieve pain is a lesser evil and pain alleviate a greater good. Killing a person is a not of any good to a patient which is the doctor’s responsibility to do good. According to research conducted by Bachman, Alcser, Doukas, Lichtenstein, Corning & Brody (1996) most healthcare professionals (fifty-two percent) are not willing to participate in physician-assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia.

Also causing death to patients causes stress and mental torture to the family and friends who may think that death was not the only option. For patients who can give informed consent due to certain reasons including serious illness, the family and patients authorized to give consent on their behalf find a hard in making such decisions that lead to the death of a loved one.

References

Bachman, J. G., Alcser, K. H., Doukas, D. J., Lichtenstein, R. L., Corning, A. D., & Brody, H. (1996): Attitudes of Michigan physicians and the public toward legalizing physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia. New England Journal of Medicine, 334(5), 303-309.

Paterson, C. (2008): Assisted suicide and euthanasia: a natural law ethics approach. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

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