Introduction A doctor’s function has changed over time. In the past, the doctor was a person who besides being your friend treated the diseases. Now a doctor is a stranger who combats diseases, but he/she is not always seen as your friend. What will never change is their constant struggle against death. However, their job is not only to prevent death but also to improve their patient’s quality of life.
Many times there is nothing a doctor can do to prevent a patient from dying if the patient has a terminal disease; all he/she can do is wait for death to arrive. This waiting time can be very painful for both the patients and the people who surround them. Human rights are meant to be universal, if we have the undeniable right to live, shouldn´t we have also the right to die? The process of dying is also a part of the process of life. Dying is by far the most important event of a human life, it is the moment we cease to exist, it is the time we reach the end of the road. The right to die
The topic of euthanasia rises up plenty of moral dilemmas when it comes to discussion. Does every person have the right to terminate their lives when the pain reaches the unbearable level? What counts as suffering? Is there any kind of difference between killing and assisting someone to die? People who advocate for the right to die agree that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that every human being has the right to live, can also be seen as the right to choose to not have a life.
Advocates also agree that every person has absolute control over their body and their decision towards it therefore, they can terminate their life whenever they feel it is necessary. Schultz, K. (2013, January 19). Bringing death to light: Is there a 'right' to die? Retrieved from http://www.theinternational.org/articles/307-bringing-death-to-light-is-there-a-righ There are two types of euthanasia: Active and Passive euthanasia.
Active euthanasia occurs when a medical professional or any other person does something that causes the patient do die, usually with a lethal dose of morphine or any other medical drug that helps to release someone from pain. The passive euthanasia occurs when the medical professional or any other person does not do what it is necessary to prevent the patient form dying, or when they stop the procedure that is keeping the patient alive. Among the various ways of perfoming a passive act of euthanasia are: * Switching off life-supporting machines
* Disconnecting a feeding tube * Terminate the life-extending operation * Terminate life-extending supply of drugs Unknown, U. (2013, March 01). Active and passive euthanasia. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/euthanasia/overview/activepassive_1.shtml
To exemplify better the two different procedures of euthanasia, let us imagine a hypothetic situation in which a patient is suffering from a terminal case of cancer. X is dying of cancer. X will die in about 7 days. X is in an unbearable pain despite having high doses of painkillers X has been taking to calm down pain. X asks his doctor to end it all once and for all. If the doctor agrees, there will only be 2 choices left to be made. The doctor suspends all the medicines that are keeping X alive, despite painkillers, letting X to die in excruciating pain in about 3 days.
The doctor gives X a lethal injection that will leave X unconscious within seconds, and then cause him to die within an hour. If we analyze in detail the two procedures of terminating someone´s life, active euthanasia, without any doubt, becomes more of a moral practice against passive euthanasia which is basically letting someone suffer until their disease manages to take their life, when we have the option of terminating this persons suffering more quickly through the means of lethal injection.
Euthanasia facts and statistics.
* According to a May 2004 Gallup Poll, 53% of all Americans feel euthanasia is morally acceptable, while 41 percent believe it is wrong * But among those who attend religious services weekly, only 33% regarded euthanasia as morally acceptable. * Among those who attend services "nearly weekly," 48% said euthanasia is morally acceptable. Unknown, U. (2013, March 01).
Euthanasia and religion. Retrieved from http://www.religionfacts.com/euthanasia/index.htm * The media of the Netherlands reported an increase in the number of euthanasia deaths in 2011 by 18% Schadenberg, A. (2012, September 25). Euthanasia is out of control in the netherlands - new dutch statistics . Retrieved from http://www.lifesitenews.com/blog/euthanasia-is-out-of-control-in-the-netherlands-new-dutch-statistics/ * Death with Dignity Act became law in 1997
Unknown, U. (2013, March 01). Facts and statistics on euthanasia. Retrieved from http://www.religionfacts.com/euthanasia/stats.htm * 129 people were euthanized between 1998-2002 Unknown, U. (2013, March 01). Deaths under oregon's physician assisted suicide act. Retrieved from http://www.euthanasia.com/deaths2003.html * 265 prescriptions were written for lethal medication between 1998-2002 Unknown, U. (2013, March 01).
Prescriptions of lethal doses of medication under oregon's "death with dignity act". Retrieved from http://www.euthanasia.com/oregon2003.html * 400 cases in Netherlands, where doctors provided patients with the means to kill themselves Unknown, U. (2013, March 01). Euthanasia results in the netherlands - number of cases in 1990. Retrieved from http://www.euthanasia.com/hollchart.html
Euthanasia Policies Worldwide
NETHERLANDS: Assisted suicide is permitted. UNITED STATES: Assisted suicide is permitted in Oregon.
AUSTRALIA: Northern Territory legalized euthanasia in 1995, but Parliament turns down the law in 1997. COLOMBIA: The highest court legalized euthanasia in May 1997 only for terminally ill patients FRANCE: Illegal. Officials made prohibited the 1991 suicide how-to book "Final Exit" by Derek Humphrey. BRITAIN: Illegal, though the World Federation of Right to Die Societies has their base there. GERMANY: Hesse is the only state in which euthanasia is permitted for coma patients. Illegal in the rest of country. ITALY: Illegal. There has been a report that a man forced a doctor at gunpoint to remove his comatose wife from life support.
BELGIUM: In September 2002, the Parliament legalized euthanasia. The law is very similar to that in the Netherlands. CHINA: Illegal. Lawmakers have called for euthanasia, they are still waiting. Even though the majority of countries do not allow euthanasia by law, you can make a living will, in which you can specify what treatments you would like or would not like to have in case you were not able to make decisions for yourself. Ogden, J. (2012, September 25). Euthanasia: A good death?. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/trouble-in-mind/201209/euthanasia-good-de ath Euthanasia makes no harm at all
In conclusion, these ideas are hard to accept, but deserve consideration. Euthanasia is a very controversial topic that raises many religious, medical and ethical issues. Although it is not possible for everyone to adequate to the same single attitude with a universal value, it is however inappropriate to ignore the work that has already been accomplished by many activists all over the world. Viewpoints of opponents and advocates have been debated for many years. In most cases killing is wrong, the idea of deliberately killing someone goes against the very core of our morality but euthanasia is not an act of murder; it is an altruistic act agreed with the best wishes for the patient.
A doctor’s function should not only be the one of curing diseases but also providing the patients a better quality of life. Having a patient suffering is not giving him a better quality of life. A better quality of life is about giving the patient what’s best for him as long as he wants it. The passage from life to death should be serene and dignified, not an agonizing ordeal.
Sources: Unknown, U. (2013, March 01). Euthanasia. Retrieved from http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/euthanasia?q=euthanasia Schultz, K. (2013, January 19). Bringing death to light: Is there a 'right' to die? . Retrieved from http://www.theinternational.org/articles/307-bringing-death-to-light-is-there-a-righ Unknown, U. (2013, March 01). Active and passive euthanasia. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/euthanasia/overview/activepassive_1.shtml Unknown, U. (2013, March 01). Euthanasia and religion. Retrieved from http://www.religionfacts.com/euthanasia/index.htm Schadenberg, A. (2012, September 25). Euthanasia is out of control in the netherlands - new dutch statistics . Retrieved from http://www.lifesitenews.com/blog/euthanasia-is-out-of-control-in-the-netherlands-new-dutch-statistics/ Unknown, U. (2013, March 01). Deaths under oregon's