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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Research Paper on Euthanasia - Morality of Euthanasia

They say that modern medicine has helped lengthen a person’s life span so wouldn’t it be much better for a person to be forced alive through the use of medical machines? Will it be wise to wait and hope for a recovery of the patient than to administer euthanasia?

There are individuals who are against euthanasia in view of the principle that human life is sacred and precious and nobody in this world has the moral ascendancy to take that life.  This is called the Sanctity of Life Doctrine based on the Judeo-Christian Tradition which holds that all innocent human life regardless of its quality or kind is equally valuable and inviolable and should never be deliberately taken.  Since life is seen as a gift from God no human is free to do anything with it as he pleases.  Thus, the Vatican’s 1980 Declaration on Euthanasia states that it is an act or omission which of itself or by intention causes death.  For the majority, euthanasia can be practiced not only by engaging in actions but also be failing to engage in certain actions.  

Though active euthanasia is considered to be a criminal act, there are views that passive euthanasia should be allowed especially when it has been requested by the patient or his family.  Passive euthanasia is defined as the withdrawal of medical treatment as against active euthanasia which is the deliberate intervention by someone other than the person whose life is at stake for the sole purpose of ending his life.  

It is voluntary euthanasia when the terminally ill patient himself who is competent and has discretion persistently asks the physician to aid in his dying (Manning 2).  It is involuntary euthanasia when the request is made by a person other than the patient in view of the latter’s condition who could be unconscious or still very young or mentally incompetent to make the decision (Manning 2).  
The best interest of the patient is considered when administering passive euthanasia. It is believed that families decide to allow passive euthanasia because prolonging the life of their sick family member would just be prolonging the suffering of the patient and the rest of the family. For them, this act is reasonable given the patients in a terminal condition. In cases when a patient is in a persistent vegetative stage that only machines keep him or her alive passive euthanasia should be considered an option. They see the right to decide passed on to immediate family members that is why they can decide for euthanasia or against it. Considering further that the cost of medication is not cheap and some families can no longer cope with the expenses some families could no longer continue supporting, euthanasia becomes an option. While it is true that miracles can happen and the patient might recover, the emotional drag on family members could also affect their decision to administer euthanasia.

For some patients who are actually conscious and can decide for themselves, euthanasia should be a choice that should be given to them. It is recognizes that a person who has already lost hope on his medical condition and seeks to avoid further pain and suffering should be allowed to ask for euthanasia to be administered on him or her. Since it was his or her choice, no one would be held accountable. Sometimes, we have to respect their decisions because even if they are in a dying situation, they still know what is best for themselves.

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