Legalizing Euthanasia: A Practical Approach Essay

2357 words - 10 pages

Legalizing Euthanasia: A Practical Approach
Theressa Thacker RN
Excelsior College

Abstract
We are all in the process of dying from the day we are born. The prevalence of catastrophic diseases that once killed swiftly such as pneumonia, cholera, and massive heart attacks, have been replaced by chronic and, often, degenerative diseases such as advanced cancers, diabetes, lung disease, and Alzheimer’s, leading to a slow death for most (Gardner, 2012). This places a great financial burden on the Medicare system as well as patient’s families. Atul Gawande (2010) reports that twenty five percent of all Medicare spending is for the five percent of patients who are in their final year ...view middle of the document...

Thus, the Patient Self Determination Act (PSDA) was enacted by the Federal government in 1990. The purpose of the PSDA was to promote patient autonomy and make known patient’s wishes regarding their end-of-life care through the use of advance directives. However, the PSDA has fallen short of the mark as many advance directives are not honored. This dilemma is further complicated by the fact that Americans are living longer and the rising cost of health-care is putting a severe strain on the Medicare budget. Giving patients the option of voluntary euthanasia and physician assisted suicide will promote patient autonomy by giving patients more options regarding their end-of-life care, and alleviate some of the burden placed on the Medicare budget by reducing unwanted, life- prolonging medical treatments.
Pertaining to a patient, the word euthanasia elicits images of putting elderly patients to death or withholding necessary medical treatments for those patients who cannot pay. However, when speaking about euthanizing our pets, it is thought of as a humane, even merciful act. In the Greek language, euthanasia actually means “good death” (Orfali, 2010). In order to better articulate the argument that euthanasia should be legal, it is important to clearly define euthanasia and its different sub-types.
Active Euthanasia: To actively or purposely cause the death of a patient.
Voluntary Active Euthanasia: To assist or aide in the death of a patient at the patient’s request.
Involuntary Active Euthanasia: To purposefully cause the death of a patient without the patients consent.
Passive Euthanasia: To cause the death of a patient by withholding care that would save or prolong the patient’s life.
Voluntary Passive Euthanasia: To withhold medical treatment or care at the patient’s request with the knowledge that the failure to give care will cause the patient’s death.
Involuntary Passive Euthanasia: To withhold medical treatment or care from a patient without the patient’s consent, knowing that the failure to give care will cause the patient’s death.
The forms of euthanasia that this essay will address are the voluntary forms. The argument that euthanasia should be legal to promote patient autonomy is only valid if the patient has chosen euthanasia as an option to escape a painful or torturous death. To actively or passively cause the death of a patient without the consent of that patient is considered to be unethical, however voluntary euthanasia, is also considered to be unethical. John Keown (1997) explains that the harm that is done when taking an individual’s life is the harm done by depriving that individual of something that is valued (p. 9). If a patient’s quality of life is reduced by intractable pain or disease, then to force that patient to suffer is more harmful than assisting the patient to die peacefully.
The element of patient autonomy is central to the issue of legalizing voluntary euthanasia. Autonomy refers to the patient’s...

Other Essays Like Legalizing Euthanasia: a Practical Approach

Voluntary Euthanasia - Paper 1

1004 words - 5 pages reason it should be legalised as a breach of human rights is a breach of their freedom. Some people would argue that it is a different matter, but is it really? Freedom is to do what you want and not be told to follow strict rules and be restricted from what you really want to do or say. So denying them this choice is to obstruct their freedom. Another thing to mention is the implication of not legalizing Euthanasia. People will be people, and as

Euthanasia - to Live and Let Die

3538 words - 15 pages Hippocratic Oath. However, as a practical matter, physicians have had a measure of latitude in the specific application. For example, a fatal dose of an opium based drug might be administered to counteract intractable pain in a terminal patient, with an expected resulting death. Unlike euthanasia, PAS involves the physician as a facilitator of patient termination, one in which the patient still participates, in a limited fashion, as an active

Legalizing Euthanasia For Terminally Ill Patients Is Neccesary

1537 words - 7 pages and simple death, now known as euthanasia. In Greek, euthanasia translates to “easy or painless death” (Barnard). However, in modern times the question of legalizing euthanasia has become majorly controversial. Legalizing euthanasia for terminally ill patients is necessary because it will allow patients to die with dignity, it will prevent patients from having to live a low quality life full of suffering, and it will allow patients to have a

Euthenasia

651 words - 3 pages derived from the Greek word euthanatos which means easy death.Euthanasia is against the law in the UK where it is illegal to help anyone kill themselves. Voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide can lead to imprisonment of up to 14 years.The issue has been at the centre of very heated debates for many years and is surrounded by religious, ethical and practical considerations.The ethics of euthanasiaEuthanasia raises a number of agonising moral dilemmas

Re: Re: Topic 2 Dq 1

2679 words - 11 pages concern that with legislation of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide non-psychiatric physicians, who generally have a poor ability to detect and treat depression may allow life-ending interventions when treatment of depression may be more appropriate” ( Fairclough, , Ezekiel , Daniels, & Clarridge )”. “Ethical Arguments For And Against,--at least five district and reinforcing arguments have been used for permitting or legalizing euthanasia. The

If Human Life Has Intrinsic Value Is Euthanasia Always Immoral?

1806 words - 8 pages practice "passive" euthanasia - that is, taking away or withholding treatment even if the person will die. However, doctors cannot directly help the person to die, for example, by giving a lethal injection. I can argue that, in situations where a competent, terminally ill patient is asking for help to die, passive euthanasia has exactly the same moral and practical result as giving a lethal injection at the patient's request. At the moment, the law

Euthanasia And Frankenstein

1533 words - 7 pages suffering as well as supporting doctors who play an active role in assisting with a patient’s death. Most people will never agree that euthanasia should be legal especially those who are living with a medical disability. Some feel that legalizing euthanasia sends the message that people with medical disabilities are worthless and should be put out of their misery. Lots of people learn to cope and function despite their physical limitations (Rayner

Euthanasia: the Right to Choose

2127 words - 9 pages them, but the advocates of euthanasia always point out that a request to be killed will not be binding on anyone. There is no reason to suppose that these claimed rights are genuine, and hence they do not deserve respect. The main issues of euthanasia are maintaining the status of illegality, legalizing the procedure, and regulating the procedure. The controversy of euthanasia involves moral, ethical, and legal concerns. “In this country

Euthanasia

1669 words - 7 pages thing and let the patient decide what is best for them. They know what is best and active voluntary euthanasia should legally be a choice that is available to them. Works Cited David Degrazia, T. A.-B. (2011). Physican-Assisted Suicide, Active Euthanasia, and Social Policy. In T. A.-B. David Degrazia, Biomedical Ethics (pp. 381-382). New York: McGraw Hill Higher Education. M, M. (n.d.). 10 Arguments for Legalizing Euthanasia. Retrieved from listserve: http://listverse.com/2013/09/12/10-arguments-for-legalising-euthanasia/

How Christians Apply Their Beliefs To Abortion And Euthanasia

2351 words - 10 pages anyone of you does not want his own child, do not kill it, give it to me”. The Church of Scotland’s Board of Social Responsibility has a slightly more hard line approach to abortion. It said, “Abortion has no moral justification and represents the unwarranted destruction of human life that is made in the image of God”. It also stated however, that this was only “in the great majority of cases”, which means that abortion

Euthanasia

606 words - 3 pages Euthanasia, as a social phenomenon generates in Poland as in any other country disapproval from some and acceptance from others. Euthanasia is a controversial matter, becoming a bigger issue with high profile cases like Diane Pretty's a woman suffering from Motor Neurone Syndrome who lost her battle to have euthanasia legalized and died of natural causes in 2002. One of the questions that arise within this debate is whether euthanasia is a

Related Papers

Euthanasia Essay

2617 words - 11 pages religious views. In addition, legalizing this form of death will trigger the slippery slope effect which has the potential to put many lives at high danger. The act of euthanasia contradicts one of the most basic principles of morality; killing is wrong. Euthanasia is a form of a blatant violation of many holy commandments of ultimately all religions. From a secular perspective, the main principle of law is to uphold the sanctity of human life

Euthanasia And Religon Essay

2362 words - 10 pages to choose how and when to die. The view that keeping someone alive who wishes to die is both an infringement on that person’s rights as well as an irresponsible use of resources. The cost for lethal injections is much less then costs for treatments in many cases. Because euthanasia is already administered, it should be made legal in order for it to be regulated. Those against legalizing euthanasia argue that it will become a “slippery slope

Patient Assisted Suicide Essay

1225 words - 5 pages . However, a government agency reported in the Remmelink Report that said there are problems in the Netherland about euthanasia cases not being performed as it should be done. For instance, some reports called that doctors acted to quickly to the patients last request not giving them time to recollect on their thoughts; while other reported indicate that the patients were euthanized without asking for it at all. Legalizing Physician-Assisted

Euthanasia 26 Essay

975 words - 4 pages Euthanasia comes from a Greek word whose approximate English translation is good death. It is our observation that those who espouse "euthanasia" in reality favor an imposed death-not a good death. Euthanasia is often defined by its supporters as helping an individual who is suffering to die with dignity. It is often considered the merciful thing to do. It is referred to as physician assisted suicide, mercy killing, physician aid in dying