Life is a gift and it is the right of every individual to lead a good, healthy, and peaceful life. Life is meant to be respected, conserved, and improved in every way possible. However, when an individual’s potential for meaningful, blissful, advantageous life has come to an end and every attempt has failed to treat or cure the individual, I believe that it is important to make it legally possible for the individual to die peacefully if they request. Euthanasia is a term that is used for this practice of medically-assisted death. Presently this process is considered illegal in most countries and is a controversial subject that is debated all around the world.
There are several reasons that I would quote in support of euthanasia to be made a legal process. The first reason is the pain and suffering a person feels during a never-ending or life-long disease. Even with pain relievers, they may not get rid of the pain because most pain killers lose their effectiveness after repeated administration. Above all, the patient feels even more depressed when he releases that due to their physical condition, they have lost their independence (Young n. pag. 2007).
Secondly, it is the economic cost involved in preserving the life of the terminally ill person. It is obvious to ask a simple question that when resources are limited if it is good to spend tremendous resources to maintain the life of one terminally ill individual rather than using those resources to help cure those who have promising chances for recovery. For instance, if in a financially poor family, an individual is terminally ill and has no chances of recovery and at the same time another person is sick and cannot afford the medical expenses due to the lack of money, is it legal or ethical to deny the person of treatment who has good chances of recovery? The answer would be NO. Additionally, social pressure also frequently exists in situations where medical resources are inadequate.
A good and peaceful death
Today, with the advancement in medical technology and skills, the average lifespan has increased. Due to the population growth in many countries, especially the developing and third world countries, there is a shortage of hospital space. Therefore, in such situations, the service of doctors, hospitals, and nursing home facilities could be used for people whose lives could be saved rather than continuing the life of those who want to die. If these human resources are utilized effectively, the general quality of care can tremendously increase. Often it is a burden to keep people alive past the point they can contribute to society.
A good and peaceful death is a wish that all of us have. A death that is considered good is generally believed to be dead in a pleasing environment as one falls asleep. According to the ancient Roman orator and statesman Cicero “a good death is an ideal way of respecting natural law and public order by departing from the earth with dignity and tranquility” (Cited in euthanasia.com). I would say that euthanasia can be considered as a technique to guarantee that, the individual dies in a dignified and appropriate manner.
Euthanasia can be considered as a dignified way to reduce suffering that has been thought about for ages. For instance, in 1516 the English statesman and author Sir Thomas More described euthanasia to end suffering in his book Utopia. He states that “those that are ill from incurable diseases they comfort by sitting and talking with them, and with all means available. But if the disease is not only incurable but also full of continuous pain and anguish, then the priests and magistrates exhort the patient saying that he has become… irksome to others and grievous to himself; that he ought to… dispatch himself out of that painful life as out of a prison or torture rack or else allow his life to be ended by others” (More 1964, pp. 186–187) (Cited in euthanasia.com). I believe that every one of us has the right to pain relief. With modern progress in pain control, it is expected that no patient should ever be in unbearable pain.
Together with the advancement in the medical field, it is essential to identify new and more effective steps to ensure that the best possible care for the dying. This may further result in a life that continues to be desirable or at least tolerable by the individual and the request for help in dying would not arise. However, in extreme cases where treatment cannot reduce the pain, a quick death is preferred to prolong dying in agony, and in such cases euthanasia should be legalized. Nevertheless, I conclude that euthanasia should be legalized all over the world but most importantly it should also be a carefully regulated aspect.
euthanasia.com Reasons for Euthanasia. 2008. Web.
Young, R. Voluntary Euthanasia. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008. Web.