The Idea of Euthanasia has always been a hot topic in the United States since the 20thcentury; however, over the last decade, the issues of assisted suicide has made more headlines than before. As cited by Douglas the concept of suicide is considered as a reckless and ill-advised act of causing enough bodily harm that leads to death (12). For centuries, suicide has been associated with mental illness; for instance bipolar disorder, alcoholism or drug abuse factors, Personality disorder, schizophrenia as well as depression. Conwell and Caine state that under normal circumstances a mentally stable human being does not have a reason to end his or her own life (56). However, this premise has been challenged when it comes to Euthanasia. A majority of people perceive the act of taking one’s own life as unethical, inhuman plus to some extent a criminal offense that punishable by law (Dennis 29). However, over the years this perception has tended to fade considering that the concept of Euthanasia is basically presented to presence dignity. According to Das, Kleinman, & Lock the issues of a ‘dignified death’ has not been accepted or understood by a majority of people consequent of which there is a need to highlight the notion form a different perspective (25). A victim’s or proponent side of Euthanasia.
Physicals are obligated to take offer the best possible medical care to assist with ailing individuals. As cited by Cassel and Meier the most common premise to any patient is getting better after treatment; however, this is not the case when it comes to individuals suffering from a terminal disease (56). Under such conditions ‘Palliative care’, which is described as caregiving of the dying, offers no curative options. Caregiving for the dying is set to make the process of dying comfortable, a concept that is relative from the victim’s point of view. By law, physicians are not allowed to alleviate pain past a particular point a factor that Kommers, Finn, and Jacobsohn indicate is inhuman for an individual who inevitable is set to die (15). Studies have indicated that patients suffering from terminal illnesses have a negative view towards palliative care as they indicate significant mental, physical, and financial discomfort. According to Conwell and Caine, terminal illness can be defined as a disease that under no current circumstance cannot be cured or sufficiently treated and the result for the patient is imminent death after a short period (98). Individuals suffering from terminal illnesses are reported to go through high levels of stain and pain that their only option is having to continue painstaking palliative care or death. It is at this point that Euthanasia becomes the best possible medical solution for a patient.
Craig Ewert is a patient who suffered from a terminal illness that saw his stuck to a wheelchair and bed suffering excruciating pain throughout a lengthy period of his adult life. In the documentary of his death, he states, “…I have two choices I go on with the procedure and die, or I avoid it and suffer, inflict the suffering on my family then I die…” (YouTube p.np). The procedure, in this case, is Euthanasia. The statement is clear; a dignified death is by far a better option than palliative care.
The differentiation between Euthanasia and Suicide
The concept of death has always been presented in a manner that passing away is a bad thing and suicide is unacceptable on that premise. There are a variety of causes of death principle of which are accident, malnutrition, an illness, murder, suicide and euthanasia (Kommers, Finn, and Jacobsohn 6). Suicide is the act of causing enough bodily harm that leads to death. On the other hand, Euthanasia is an act of alleviating pain through a dignified death. The two through definition are well differentiated; however, these dissimilarities exist in a variety of fields.
Health differentiation argument
Physicians are obligated to offer the best possible care to a patient. Nevertheless, as indicated there are illnesses that have no cure at the moment and palliative care is not offering much of a solution but causing additional problems. The case of Craig Ewert serves as a good example of an individual who suffers through life despite all the care that is available in a variety of hospitals. Through the documentary is evident that Mr. Ewert is not enjoying his life. In this case, euthanasia is a medical procedure that alleviates pain that no other procedure can cure. Physicians are only as successful as their procedures, consequent to which their proficiency is limited. The best way to give the best possible care to patients such as Mr. Ewert is through a dignified painless end. At the end of the documentary, it is clear that both Mr. Ewert and his wife were at peace with the procedure as it was less painful than what he was going through on a daily basis. It is high time for the medical community to add Euthanasia as a medical procedure until the time other better alternatives to terminal illnesses have been developed.
Religious differentiation argument
The concept of death has always been presented in a manner that passing away is a bad thing and suicide is unacceptable on that premise. Religiously, particularly the Christian faith does not allow suicide for any reason even when logic dictates that it is the best possible option. According to 1 Corinthians 15:26 and Genesis 2:7 respectively death is an enemy of life is a sacred gift from GOD. Nevertheless, a testimony by job indicated that though he knew his death was inevitable, he asked for divine aid from God from his suffering, in specific he asked for compassion through death (Job 30:23). Job knew as Christian he did not have the option of suicide, but he asked for God to take his life. Jobs request is not a reason for Euthanasia but is an indication of the difference between death by natural causes through suffering and the painless alternative. Euthanasia is a concept of death that is defined by empathy, service, selflessness, as well as trustworthiness. This was all that Job was asking for.
Legal perspective argument
Sir Thomas Browned developed the term Suicide as grammatical derivative from the words SUI meaning ‘oneself’ and Cases, which translated to ‘murder’ (Das, Kleinman, and Lock 90). It was during this period that suicide was considered a crime. In the US, assisted suicide is considered illegal; nevertheless, a physician is allowed to allow quick death for patients by denying them a curative option if they get the concept from the patient themselves. According to Douglas, it is hard for legal minds to prove that death is a medical option in one case but not in another (78). Individuals suffering from terminal illnesses go through lengthy periods of agonizing pain before death’ consequently, denying them treatment does not quicken their death but only makes their situation worse which goes against the code of ethics. The legal premise of allowing death as a medical option in particular cases has been challenged in California, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington (Kommers, Finn, and Jacobsohn 112). These states allow accosted suicide as it is a legal medico procedure that holds a result that alleviates pain. Despite the allowance, it should be noted that a variety of issues have to be considered before the procedure is undertaken. Firstly, the patient has less than six months to live depending on the diagnosis; secondly they should be sound of mind when making this choice and not under any duress from family or any other outside party; and lastly they should make the request in paper as well as vocally (Quill, Cassel, and Meier 77).
Every individual should be provided with the option of having a dignified death. From the information provided through the course of this paper indicates that Euthanasia is the best possible medical procure for ailing terminal disease patients. The legal, religious, as well as medical platforms in the US, offer a negative approach to a dignified death even when it is logical for an individual to die. The arguments presented in the paper cover all the aforementioned aspects and offer clear indication in support of Euthanasia.
Conwell, Yeates, and Eric D. Caine. “Rational suicide and the right to die: reality and myth.” (1991): 1100-1103. http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM199110103251511
Dennis, Michael. “Suicide and self-harm in older people.” Quality in Ageing and Older Adults 10.1 (2009): 16-23.
Douglas, Jack D. Social meanings of suicide. Princeton University Press, 2015.
Kleinman, Arthur, Veena Das, and Margaret M. Lock, eds. Social suffering. Univ of California Press, 1997.
Kommers, Donald P., John E. Finn, and Gary J. Jacobsohn. American constitutional law: essays, cases, and comparative notes. Vol. 2. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009.
Quill, Timothy E., Christine K. Cassel, and Diane E. Meier. “Proposed clinical criteria for physician-assisted suicide.” Medicine Unbound: The Human Body and the Limits of Medical Intervention: Emerging Issues in Biomedical Policy 3 (2010): 188. Retrieved from: https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=5qhAQpt7a2QC&oi=fnd&pg=PA188&dq=Quill,+T.E.,+Cassel,+C.K.,+%26+Meier,+D.E.+(2007).+Care+of+the+hopelessly+ill:+Proposed+criteria+for+physician-assisted+suicide.&ots=yYXnXoFv-y&sig=-1hMMzDVeR6ePClT_fH2mROLLkk
YouTube. Right to die/The Suicide Tourist. (2016) online video source retrieved from YouTube on 15thNovember 2017 www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_lR5uSemSE