Arguably, the majority of people desire to live a longer life and finally have a celebrated painless death as death is inevitable. More often than once, people suffer from terminal illnesses such as cancer, which subject them to extreme pains and discomforts that they wish to terminate their lives. The intent is to evade the suffering and reduce medical burdens to their caregivers and family members. Patients experiencing exhilarating pains may opt for euthanasia or assisted suicide. Concepts of euthanasia and assisted suicide continue to trigger endless debate, with some individuals supporting while others are on the other side of the coin. It is necessary to discuss what the two concepts entail, legal and ethical issues associated with euthanasia and assisted suicide. Additionally, provide personal views and believes regarding euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Euthanasia is the termination of a person’s life in extreme pain to relieve them of their suffering (Kim et al., 2016). Euthanasia pros are an end to suffering, reduces costs of caring for the patient, and ensures a dignified death. On the other hand, its cons include; Deprivation of one’s right to live, It triggers religious and ethical challenges, and it is a form of murder. Additionally, Assisted suicide involves providing a prescription, information, or guidance to a patient at his or her request with full know-how that the patient intends to use that information to terminate his life (Stratton, 2016). Assisted suicide is legal in Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Columbia, the US, and Canada (Stratton, 2016). In countries like the Netherlands, nine percent of the deaths result from assisted suicide and euthanasia (Naga & Maryyan, 2013). Continued research has also shown that assisted suicide mainly occurs for ages 55-84 years, mostly because they are frail to engage in normal daily activities and fear of loss of autonomy(Stratton, 2016). Consequently, assisted suicide and euthanasia is mainly accepted by young doctors than the older doctor(Naga & Maryyan, 2013). With time more people continue to embrace euthanasia and assisted suicide to reduce human suffering.
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Euthanasia and assisted killing trigger legal and ethical issues. This is because of ambivalent ideas from the opponents and proponents. From the ethics perspective, euthanasia and assisted suicide continue to elicit controversial debates from opponents and proponents. Opponents argue that mercy killing and assisted suicide encourages killing in society. They are concerned that if they are legalized, the law regulating life could be abused as people would opt for euthanasia to avoid medical bills and offer dignified deaths to those in pain. Emergency Medical Service providers are expected to provide palliative care to patients and prevent death. If euthanasia and assisted suicide are legalized, medical practitioners will neglect their medical ethics and help a patient die (Naga & Maryyan, 2013). Therefore, they will tarnish their ethics by supporting life termination (Naga & Maryyan, 2013). Proponents argue that forcing individuals to live longer than they want deprives them of their freedom and human rights while they could have a dignified death instead of suffering. Therefore, forcing them to live in pain deprives them of their human freedom, which is against ethics rules.
Legally, euthanasia and assisted suicide deprive one legal right to life, especially when it is not the person’s consent to die. In most countries, euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal, and laws and regulations have been stipulated where anyone caught engaging in a mercy killing is subjected to hefty measures. Despite the opposition to euthanasia, some individuals continue to press their issues in court to legalize euthanasia. In Britain, for example, eighty percent of the population wants the law to be changed to legalize euthanasia.
Different family members and caregivers respond differently concerning euthanasia and assisted killing. Family members should make their personal decision on whether to support or oppose euthanasia. This is dependent on their beliefs and the situation at hand. If they feel that opting for euthanasia will conflict with their ethics and feel guilty of murder, they should shun the idea. Additionally, if it reduces pain from their loved ones, they should seek their consent.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide are controversial issues. To support or be against depends on one person’s beliefs. On a personal note, life is sacred, and only God should take away life. Every individual has a right to receive proper palliative assistance to face all disease symptoms and acquire hope to live longer. Therefore, euthanasia should not be availed as a shortcut for cost containment. One should be allowed to live until their last kicks.
In conclusion, euthanasia and assisted suicide continues to raise debate across the world from opponents and proponents. They are legal in some countries and illegal in some. Euthanasia aims to provide peaceful death to a person in extreme pain, maybe because of a terminal illness. Assisted suicide is helping another person to end his life. Euthanasia and assisted suicide continue to trigger legal and ethical issues that have resulted in different implications. Euthanasia and assisted suicide should only be necessary if it’s the patient provide full assent. From a personal perspective, no one should be deprived of their right to life.
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Kim, S., De Vries, R., & Peteet, J. (2016). Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide of Patients With Psychiatric Disorders in the Netherlands 2011 to 2014. JAMA Psychiatry, 73(4), 362. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2887
Naga, B., & Maryyan, M. (2013). Legal and Ethical Issues of Euthanasia : Argumentative Essay. Middle East Journal Of Nursing, 7(5), 31-39. https://doi.org/10.5742/mejn.2013.75330
Stratton, S. (2016). Don’t Save My Life: Do-Not-Resuscitate and End-of-Life Directives in the Context of EMS and Disaster Medicine. Prehospital And Disaster Medicine, 31(5), 463-464. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1049023x16000984