Mrs. Turner
English 10-4
1 April 15
The Legalization of Euthanasia
Death is a tangible option for those who are suffering and see no value in life. As human beings, we should have the right to put an end to our own undergoing pain and choose a dignified death. Euthanasia, the hastening of death for a terminally ill person, is the practice of deliberately ending the life of an individual who is deteriorating from an incurable disease or intolerable pain. Today’s euthanasia is generally associated with the mercy killing or where the patient requests his or her own death, also known as voluntary euthanasia. However, when a doctor takes premeditated actions to cause a death, it is known as active euthanasia. Knowing that, it is seemingly appropriate to say that I believe in the legalization of voluntary euthanasia. When a person no longer wishes to waste his or her life withering away in a hospital bed, that person should have the ability to resort to death because of their right to do as they please and the relief from the unendurable torment.
An individual should have the liberty to own his or her own life, and if the reasons are rational, be able to discontinue his or her own life. Human beings are autonomous people with a right to self-sufficiency, independence, and self-regulation; we should be able to take responsibility for our own actions and make our own choices. If circumstances are completely intolerable, we should have the freedom to choose to die. Every person should have the legal right to make choices according to their own lives and values, as long as their choices do not insist upon the liberties of others. The choice of a terminally ill person to die does not impose on the rights of others—only their own. Patients should be guaranteed the right of not being forced to suffer, as stated in the “European Declaration of Human Rights” (Euthanasia- ProCon.org). Whether they want to avoid excruciating pain or just end their life in a dignified manner, it is implied in the concept of ordered liberty that they have the self-entitlement to refuse life-saving medical treatment or ask for death. To many patients, being clinically alive is simply inadequate and as a New York City doctor Jacob Appel argues, how they value their lives is “inextricably linked to the quality of their lives” (Right to Die). When a patient’s life lacks self-awareness or an inherent presence as a human because of their extreme physical and mental suffering, that patient should have the entitlement to choose a decorous death rather than an indecorous existence, as it offers them “the solace of a potential escape from suffering if they ever desire it” (Right to Die).
A patient should have the justification to end his or her own life through the medical act of euthanasia because of the unsolicited agony, suffering, and misery linked to the disease or state he or she is in. Each person has different amounts of pain and suffering that he or she can tolerate and when a patient is suffering from a severe condition such as a terminal illness, one cannot disregard their feelings and thoughts of grief, distress, and hopelessness. By willingly falling into a deep sleep, patients are able to escape their desolation and feelings of despondency. Even with palliative care, many patients still experience extensive physical and existential suffering and pain, and “pain is not always adequately controlled by palliative medicine” (South Australia). With some cases of illnesses, the pain can only be subsided by producing a prolonged unconsciousness or coma. There are illnesses such as Total Dependence Syndrome, the loss of “independence and control in the terminal decaying phase”, which have non-painful syndromes but still involve extreme suffering (South Australia). Therefore, it is needless to say that euthanasia is a doctor’s act of clemency and care.
Although doctors show an act of mercy for those who are suffering from unbearable pain through euthanasia, many people argue that they are still violating the Hippocratic Oath; a Greek medical oath taken by all physicians to swear upon their patients to the best of one’s ability. The oath clearly dictates that physicians should not “prescribe nor administer a lethal dose of medicine to any patient” or “deliberately do harm