Euthanasia There are many debates regarding euthanasia. Some believe that euthanasia needs to be legalized while others believe that euthanasia is unacceptable. The problem whether legalize euthanasia or not revolves around multiple moral, ethical and socio-economic issues. That’s why it looks like it is almost impossible to reach a consent regarding legalizing euthanasia. The first time euthanasia had drawn a public attention was in 1993 during Terri Schiavo case. Terri was in permanent vegetative state when in 1993 her husband Michael petitioned to withdraw life support.
After multiple court decisions and appeals life support was withdrawn in 2005. The case showed how divided society is in respect of acceptance of euthanasia. (“CNN – Law Center”). In my point of view euthanasia should be legalized. I believe it is very important for three reasons. First, people should have right to choose, so it is a form of freedom of choice. Second, euthanasia happens in present days, so it is better to have some regulations of something that is already here. Third, humanistic aspect – sometimes it is better to let die rather than to subject a person to unnecessary suffering and pain.
Patients by signing a consent form can choose whether they want to continue treatment or not. Euthanasia is simply an extension of patient’s rights. Continuing treatment against patient’s wish is illegal and unethical, so why patients should not have right to shorten their lives to avoid suffering? Moreover passive euthanasia happens in many hospitals across the country. “What might be called managed deaths, as distinct from suicides, is now the norm in the United States, doctors say. The American Hospital Association says that about 70 percent of the deaths in hospitals happen after a decision has been made to withhold treatment.
Other patients die when the medication they are taking to ease their pain depresses, then stops, their breathing. ” (Kolata 1) Legalizing euthanasia would relieve doctors and other healthcare providers from medico-legal consequences of non-providing medical care to a dying patient. Doctors would not risk their licenses and patients and their families will be able to actively participate in coming up with a decision regarding whether to continue life support or not. It leads us to a next reason why I think euthanasia should be legalized. There are thousands of terminally ill patients in the US hospitals. Flannery) Many of these patients are dying in suffering and pain bringing a lot of physical and emotional suffering not only to themselves but also to their families. Having a legal option to terminate life of a terminally ill patient would be humane to all of them. Controversies about euthanasia are moral and ethical, as well as religious points of view, stating that humans have no rights to terminate their own life even if they suffer. Life was given by God and sufferings are also from God. However there are many religions in the world and some people do not believe in God.
Therefore, people could not and should not be treated the same. Another reason people oppose euthanasia is a thinking that it is a slippery slope that may lead to a legalized killing. I have to say that properly written laws and policies regarding decision-making processes involving many participants may prevent it from happening. I believe euthanasia should be legalized because it will help terminally ill patients to decide whether they want to continue their living or not. Therefore there would be no extended suffering for the patients and their families.
I totally agree with Dr Battin, who says that euthanasia performed by a knowledgeable physician who understands the patient’s condition and able to effectively communicate with patients and their families is indeed a mercy. (Battin) However if legalized, euthanasia should be performed under very tight control and in strict accordance with corresponding laws and policies. Every hospital taking care of terminally ill patients should have a dedicated committee whose responsibilities would include supervision of all the procedures related to euthanasia. Works cited “Background on the Schiavo case. CNN – Law Center. CNN, 25 Mar 2005. Web. 18 Apr 2010. . Battin, Margaret. “Top 10 Pros and Cons Should euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide be legal?. ” procon. org. procon. org, 07 May 2009. Web. 18 Apr 2010. Flannery, Mary. “A Balancing Act Between Facilitating Access to Innovative Therapies and Protecting Vulnerable Subjects in Search of One Last Hope for Survival. ” LEDA at Harvard Law School. LEDA at Harvard Law School, 29 Apr 2003. Web. 18 Apr 2010. . Kolata, Gina. “‘Passive Euthanasia’ in Hospitals Is the Norm, Doctors Say. ” New York Times 28 June 1997: 1-2. Web. 18 Apr 2010.