Euthanasia is a medical practice that provides mercy killing to patients suffering from incapacitating incurable diseases. Callahan opposes euthanasia because the practice is an unethical healthcare issue that undermines the purpose of medicine. According to Callahan, the purpose of medicine is to “Promote the individualistic pursuit of general human happiness and well-being” (Callahan, 545). Human beings can only enjoy general happiness when alive and not while dead. Medicine aims to promote and preserve human health by preventing factors that cause human death. Therefore, mercy killing is an unethical medical practice that undermines human autonomy.
Callahan’s conception of the purpose of medicine portrays euthanasia as unethical healthcare practice because participating in a person’s killing abuses medicine. According to Callahan, physicians do not have the right to decide the life patients should live. The author states, “It is not medicine’s place to lift us from the burden of suffering and the body’s eventual death” (Callahan, 588). There is a very negligible difference between killing and allowing death. Medical practitioners should focus all the resources to save patients’ lives. Death is inevitable and should naturally occur because death has dominion over all humanity, including physicians. Therefore, doctors should not be able to pronounce death judgment on specific patients.
Callahan’s argument convinces me because it acknowledges the concepts of empathy and equality in healthcare ethics. Patients have equal rights to live fulfilling lives despite their current health conditions. Mercy killing undermines the fundamental human right to life, and the government should hold doctors who encourage euthanasia responsible for human death. Therefore, mercy killing is an unethical medical practice that stakeholders should discourage in the healthcare sector.
Vaughn, L. (2010). Bioethics: Principles, issues, and cases (Vol. 58). New York: Oxford University Press. Web.