New York Times
Different people view end of life and euthanasia which may also be termed so mercy killing differently depending on various kinds of environment that surround individuals.
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For instance, the kind of set up that an individual has grown up in, the kind of religion an individual professes, the personality of an individual and many other aspects that surround an individual are very vital when it comes to an individual’s perception on euthanasia. This is why legalizing euthanasia has attracted heated debates both among the professionals as well as the general public.
Despite the many controversies that surround the idea, there are many and strong points that necessitates euthanasia thus the legal, medical and other related professionals should revisit the issue with diligence and settle down on the legal and ethical way of adopting the practice.
Before settling down on the conclusion of the need to adopt the practice of euthanasia in our state, it is important to visit some basic aspects that are very key in the issue of euthanasia. As I mentioned earlier, euthanasia is the process of ending the life of an individual diligently to save him from a prolonged period of suffering and pain when this person is diagnosed with a terminal ailment (McDougall, Gorman & Roberts, p1).
It is considered a planned form suicide. Though some terminal diseases may be having medical solutions, others may lack such thus putting the victim in difficult times especially when the disease is in its final stages. However, it is not recommended to undertake the procedure when a terminal disease is in its initial stages since there may be medical means of maintaining the disease without pain or suffering.
What necessitate the procedure are the painful and difficult stages that accompany such diseases when they can no longer be maintained through medication.
Terminal and incurable prolonged and painful suffering are very common in the society we are living in but every individual tries to find means of getting their loved ones from such situation. Nancy Cruzan’s accident that took place in 1983 is a good example of such situations (McDougall, Gorman & Roberts, p. 8). When she was driving through a rural road in Missouri, she lost control of her car and landed in to a ravine.
This accident left her with serious injuries that took her family four years of continued effort before they realized that it was irreversible. Throughout the period, Nancy’s condition attracted extensive media coverage that prompted many viewers opinion on the issue of Euthanasia.
People react in diversified manner when the thought of legalizing Euthanasia is put across. For instance, when Nancy’s parents declared on her behalf that her only life support should be disconnected, there was a national outcry since many thought that this was inhuman and it denied her of her right to live.
For quite a long time, Nancy only support to her miserable life was a feeding tube that her parents suggested to be removed since it was leading their daughter in to life she may not have wanted to live.
Despite much opposition and the heated debate that accompanied this decision; quite a good number of citizens supported their decision since they could understand the quality of life Nancy was leading. After a long struggle that took the Cruzan’s to the US Supreme Court, their request was accepted stating that it was constitutional to refuse any kind of treatment.
The kind of euthanasia adopted by this family is one among the two methods of mercy killing. This method is called involuntary mercy killing and it is carried out without the consent of the primary victim. Like the case of Nancy Cruzan, it is carried out on the patients who are in a state of coma who cannot talk for themselves.
Also, the medication or the procedure is carried out by the medical practitioner contrary to the voluntary method where upon the patient’s agreement to end his life, he is the one who administers medication to himself. There is also the active and the passive methods of euthanasia.
The active method refers to inducing death probably by administering medication that would take the life of the suffering patient while the passive method involves withdrawing a life support without which the patient would automatically die (Pause, para1).
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Such kind of life support may include kidney dialysis machines or feeding pipes whereby their disconnection causes the patient to die fairly soon. Nancy’s case is a good example of a passive euthanasia.
In the United States, Oregon is the only state that has legalized euthanasia. Statistics taken from Washington shows that many other people in the other states are more than willing to legalize the action since around 80% of the people interviewed supported the idea (Kingsbury, para3).
Every person worries about the long period of suffering that comes along with a terminal illness since it ends the life of an individual in a slow but very painful manner. Just as the Oregon’s law that has proved to work very effectively, the procedure would require the consent of the victim, probably a major, accompanied by the approval of the doctors on the need of the procedure.
This would be important since many patients suffer with pain for long and they eventually die, a procedure that would be carried sooner if the doctor’s approves that there is no medical solution to the ailment.
However, many people may feel that legalizing Euthanasia is creating loopholes for its abuse. For instance, Carson claims that he has survived with terminal cancer for a long time since it was diagnosed and adopting euthanasia would have made him end his life rather prematurely (Kingsbury, para6). Others feel that euthanasia may be carried out with ill motives (Life Circle Books, Para. 17).
Considering the religion, it may be against most beliefs to end a person’s life since many believe that only natural and unavoidable means should bring the life of an individual to a halt.
Again, it is viewed that legalizing euthanasia would endanger the lives of the minors like women, children and the elderly who may be a burden to their care takers. However, if the parties put in to consideration all factors before legalizing the procedure, it is possible to come up with an abiding law that is not easily misused.
In conclusion, every individual has a right to life and euthanasia should not be carried out without the consent of the victim. Though it is an ethically and dignified way of ending a suffering person’s life, it is not recommended if it is against the victims religion or beliefs.
Euthanasia is a very sensitive issue whose legalization should be carried out diligently while putting in to consideration any loophole that may lead to misuse of an individual’s right to life.
Kingsbury, Kathleen. A New Fight to Legalize Euthanasia. Time Magazine, 16, May 2008. Web. <http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1807401,00.html>
Life Circle Books. If Mercy Killing Becomes Legal. Euthanasia, n.d. Web. <http://www.euthanasia.com/mercy.html>
McDougall, Jennifer, Gorman, Martha, & Roberts, Carolyn. Euthanasia: a reference handbook. New York, NY: ABC-CLIO, 2008.
Pause, Pregnant. Types of Euthanasia. Pregnant Pause, 2008. Web.