According to the data this term was used to describe “a painless death.” If the patient is considering to have medical euthanasia, it is obvious that he/she is not just sick, not just terminally ill, but leaves the world literally in the coming days; he/she cannot contact with relatives and does not want to continue living in this state. Despite all the arguments about this theme, it is still exploratory. Endless ethical debates are raging around this term and thesis is written.
The main types of euthanasia
It is distinguished as passive and active. It is a hook for an incurable people. They don’t want to consider living against death. Active euthanasia, which is the most argumentative, is permitted in the Netherlands, Belgium and in a couple of USA states. Moreover, it is followed by the phenomenon of Suicidal tourism “of terminally sick and dying people” in those countries where its legalization was made. Anyway, in most English countries this mercy killing is punishable.
The passive type of such condition isn’t forbidden in most of the countries instead of active. The patient simply does not want to continue therapy and prefers to die naturally. For instance, in this case, the patient is mentally sound, and his/her decision is justified. But it has a lot of disadvantages as well. On the one hand, the use of mercy killing ensures the right of the patient to dispose of his life independently, as well as humanity, which allows not enduring unbearable pain, a high positive evaluation deserves respect for the will of the patient who wishes to eliminate the moral and financial burden of his relatives by his departure from life.
Of course, the patient himself/herself manages his/her life and decides what is better for him/her, but the medicine does not stand still, every day there are new pills that slow down the effect of the disease, and sometimes even beat it. In addition, medicine has witnessed cases in which some patients defeated incurable diseases and lead a better level of life. The task of the doctor is not just to give the patient to end his/her life, but carefully weigh everything: analyze the situation, make exploratory research, determine the chance for recovery, and improve the condition. From whatever side you look, but injecting a lethal dose of the drug is a murder. Human life is recognized as the highest social value.
The easy death procedure can promote committing a crime of physical or psychological pressure on a patient, bribing medical staff, fraud, etc. In today’s conditions, euthanasia can turn into a means of killing the lone elder people, disabled children, the patient experiencing incurable illnesses and those for the treatment of which there is a lack of funds.
Another argument against euthanasia is the belief that the duty of a doctor is to keep his patient alive at all costs. Physicians are generally introduced to people as angels of life, but by attempting euthanasia they become angels of death, and this in itself dishonors the profession which draws its dignity by being a profession which is committed to the task of preserving the patient’s life.
For or against?
Active euthanasia is planned remedy tactic that causes death earlier than it would naturally occur. In other descriptive words, it is death on demand when a terminally ill person who is experiencing very severe pain after long deliberate discussions ask for a lethal dose of a drug and consumes it, causing death. In its defense, there are several arguments:
- It performs one of the important standards of law—humanism. It is humane because it stops the suffering of a terminally sick person.
- Better calm worthy death than every minute feeling strong, humiliating pain.
- The hopeless condition and patient’s endless torture also entails the suffering in his surrounding: relatives and friends, caring about him and sympathizing. The desire to die in such a case can be viewed as a desire to relieve the surrounding people.
- When treatment is helpless, and person lives vegetative life, euthanasia is not seen as a crime, but, on the contrary, as empathy.
However, exploratory medicine has a belief that euthanasia can enlarge misdiagnosis. In this way, losing the patient’s life is not sensible. Besides, the legalization of it would lead to unacceptable pressure on disabled, aged and the terminally ill, who would like to live longer, but at the same time do not want to be a useless and heavy burden for society. It can become a serious obstacle to the development of medical knowledge, aimed at finding new therapeutic tools against terminal diseases.
Other reasons cited for opting for an easy death have been depression, loneliness or confusion. Recent studies have reported that about 70% of actual decisions to end a life by mercy killing have been hasty and irrational, and contrary to general perceptions, depression and loneliness rather than pain and suffering seem to be the primary factors motivating patients’ interest in an easy death. Also, patients can be strongly influenced by doctors as the sole source of their information about illness, prognosis and possible interventions.
There is an alternative to mercy killing: modern palliative medicine. Specialized palliative care is provided by a multidisciplinary team of specially trained medical staff, psychologists, social workers, spiritual support staff and other specialists as needed, as well as volunteers, close relatives or legal representatives of the patient. This care focuses on relieving pain in patients who are in an extremely difficult condition. Such assistance is provided in hospices, a medical and social institution in which doctors and staff can help to diminish ache. The benefits of it are the following: special attention is paid to the emotional condition of a sick person and his family. The birth of a person, as well as her departure from life, is natural biological processes. This is considered as pros of palliative medicine.
Hospices are aiming to reduce painful living. It also has its cons. Medical workers sometimes need to give large doses of drugs, and it hastens passing away of the person.
The problem of euthanasia and palliative medicine in modern ethical and philosophical knowledge have no definite solution. This can be seen in medical theory and, especially, in medical practice, which primarily focus on the following questions: does society have to insist on prolonging infirm life of patients, increasing the time of vegetative existence and continuing the torment? Someone is inclined not to prolong their life with extraordinary measures, but rather would prefer to simply be made as comfortable and pain-free as possible while letting nature take its course. Anyway, today the question of the possibility of using mercy killing is still open. In most countries, it is either not foreseen by law or prohibited by it.
In any case, such an issue is rather debatable in the modern world. The majority of people are sure that such behavior is against religion and should be forbidden. The only truth is that we cannot judge people as each of us is the master of own life.