The problem of euthanasia lies at the intersection of a huge complex of disciplines – medicine, law, religion, philosophy – and the full discussion of it requires the participation of specialists from all these fields. Euthanasia is made by the person or his close relatives. Nevertheless, it is an effective and humane method of combating human torture, which needs to be introduced into medicine.
Euthanasia has become a pressing issue these days, as medicine has had the opportunity to preserve the life of a person who a hundred years ago would have been considered already dead or dying. However, the rescued person may end up in a prolonged coma, or his brain may be irreversibly damaged. In addition, the continuation of the person’s life may be associated with excruciating physical pain (Kaczor, 2020). Modern medicine is capable of keeping a patient in a coma for years, sometimes decades. Nevertheless, several arguments explain the necessity and meaning of evacuation at certain points.
Life is a good thing, but only when pleasure prevails over suffering. Accordingly, when a person suffers so much that he or she cannot enjoy life and can express unequivocally the desire to end their life, there are grounds for ethically justifying euthanasia. Life can be considered a good thing only when one lives meaningfully (Kaczor, 2020). The argument turns to what it is that makes a person’s life good: the possibility for meaningful activity, emotion, for communication. If the illness has reduced a person to a vegetative state, depriving him of consciousness, then their life is no longer fully human and, therefore, is not considered good. In such a case, ending a person’s existence is like cutting down a dead plant.
In addition, from a pragmatic perspective, there are several areas to consider. Keeping a dying person alive is expensive for hospitals (Tulloch, 2019). The argument revolves around a practical view of resource allocation. Keeping a person dying is not only excruciating for them and their loved ones, but it also wastes the resources of the medical establishment. Medications, equipment, and the efforts of physicians can be devoted instead to treating those people who can still be saved. In addition, keeping a dying person alive wastes the strength and resources of his or her loved ones (Tulloch, 2019).
It generally costs a great deal of money to keep a person alive during the dying stage. The loved ones of a dying (or terminally ill) person spend large sums of money to keep them alive, despite the lack of possibility of recovery (Tulloch, 2019). They often take on debts and loans to do so, and the need to look after a dying loved one creates psychological problems for relatives, up to and including clinical disorders.
In addition, there are regulations governing the specific cases in which euthanasia is possible. This greatly reduces the chance of the procedure being performed erroneously or unnecessarily. In general, euthanasia is used in the following cases:
- Terminal cancer (cancer in stages 3 and 4);
- Apallic syndrome (PVS, total disorder of the cerebral cortex functions, expressed in the complete absence of signs of cognitive activity, while maintaining the alternation of sleep and wakefulness, functions of the cardiovascular system, and respiration)
- Severe stage of Alzheimer’s disease;
- Last stages of multiple sclerosis;
- Total body paralysis (Devos, 2021).
After analyzing the texts of my classmates, I realized that my point of view is only strengthened. The point is that when we talk about evacuation, we should think of it in the appropriate context. In other words, it should not be interpreted as causing death but as alleviating suffering and as a humane act toward a particular person. In addition, I want to highlight Jessica’s argument that to make such a difficult decision, the patient must undergo all the necessary tests to prove the possibility of adequate and clear thinking. This is correct because the decision must be made by the patient, by someone who is of sound mind.
As for Julian and Grace’s point, their argument that human suffering is far worse than death itself also strengthens my position. Indeed, if a person is tormented, in pain, or finds himself in an irrational state, it can be called a kind of torture. And, for example, In Young’s lyrics make one refer to euthanasia not only as alleviating the patient’s torment but also as saving the mental health of nurses who observe horrible things. Finally, Jessica’s words that euthanasia is in some cases a manifestation of mercy are so returned, because it is merciful who help and relieve the hardships of those in need. Such a situation can also be projected in a medical context.
Finally, I do not believe that doctors should be judged or rewarded for such decisions, nor do I feel any guilt. The basic raison d’être of a physician is to help people to stay healthy, not to cure them. A person’s life comes first, and if it is exhausted or has only slight resemblances to a normal life, then the fulfillment of the patient’s euthanasia is the doctor’s goal. That is how a specialist will fulfill his professional duty, which is to make a person’s life easier.
Devos, T. (Ed.). (2021). Euthanasia: Searching for the full story. Experiences and insights of Belgian doctors and nurses. Springer International Publishing.
Kaczor, C. (2020). Disputes in bioethics. University of Notre Dame Press.
Tulloch, G. (2019). Euthanasia – choice and death. Edinburgh University Press.