Category:EnglishPaper Title:EuthanasiaText:Euthanasia: A Necessary ReliefAccording to Websters Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, euthanasia is thatact or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injuredindividuals (persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way forreasons of mercy. How can anyone disagree with this concept? Euthanasia isacceptable when the person involved, or the family if the individual isincapable, makes a conscious decision while suffering from an incurable disease.
The whole idea of assisted suicide was started in the thirties and fortieswhen Hitler went on his genocidal rampage. This fact alone gives the term euthanasiaa negative connotation, but one must examine the differences between our timeand his. Hitler was bent on exterminating Jews, even if he destroyed a fewthousand others before he found his focus (King 1). This is where thedistinction lies.
Our society is out to relieve pain and suffering for certainindividuals who would benefit from it, not to cause it. Hitlers victims werepeople who had no rights, choices, or any influence in the outcome of theirlives, and we, as a society, need to realize that although this trend may havebegun in Germany, everything hateful, cruel, and selfish ended there as well. A persons right to choose is even incorporated into our national laws. TheDeclaration of Independence states that a person has certain unalienable rightswhich are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness (Day 2).
According tothis statement, any person denied this right is a victim of violation. Thissaid, I do believe that there should be, and is to an extent, some distinctionbetween someone openly committing suicide for paltry, insignificant reasons, andsomeone who is asking for death for health reasons of grief and misery. Given,if a family loses a family member by the euthanasia technique, it can cause agreat deal of personal heartache, but that pain can be matched if not doubled tohave to see their loved one suffering in a bed not able to even care forhimself. The legal jargon is another aspect of it. Dr. Jack Kevorkian was recently putin jail for performing assisted suicides on patients.
Even though Kevorkian hada video to prove that the subject (Thomas Youk) was indeed consenting to this,the doctor was sentenced to 10-25 years in jail (Humphry 1). As the law is atpresent, we have difficulty justifying deaths that are unnatural and though theissue of euthanasia is a fairly new problem, somehow we have got to come to someconclusion. The law does not accept that a person can ask to be killed (Humphry1). And why is that? The law needs to recognize that while it can decide what isbest for the nation as a whole, it cannot limit a persons rights when itcomes to making personal decisions. We are all taught to think for ourselves,and one can only hope that we all make the right decisions.
Some people are of the opinion that it is cruel and inhumane to just killsomeone and while the definition of cruelty differs among people, inhumanity isnot an issue here. As practiced at the EXIT facility (Society for Human Dying)in Switzerland:An EXIT team member provides and anti-emetic to the patient and half anhour later, 10 g of sodium pentobarbitone is given. Within five minutes, thepatient falls into a deep sleep and within two hours, with few exceptions, willdie peacefully. The team member stays with the patient until death occurs andthere is always a witness present, usually a close relative. (Schaer 1)The process contains no coldness, just serenity and closeness. Other peoplebelieve that instead of purposefully killing a person, would it not be better tosimply let them die naturally? They say that people should be offered analternative.
For example if a person does not take food or water, he will diea peaceful death in 2 days to 2 weeks. Usually it is less than a week(Pilgrim 1). Essentially these people are opting to let the patient starve todeath or die from malnutrition. Assuming that the person is a proverbialvegetable, this might be the favorable choice, but if the person is of soundmind, that treatment is far more cruel that the typical medications that areadministered during euthanasia. What it amounts to is the individuals choice versus the government versusthe familys choice.
The man wants to go through with the process, thegovernment will not allow it, and the family wants the man to be at peace, butdoes not want to let them go. Euthanasia might as well be spelled c-o-n-t-r-o-v-e-r-s-ybecause it seems that we all go in circles with our points of view. What we needto do is sit down and put ourselves in a situation of pain, suffering, andincompetency, and then decide what we would like our outcome to be. Works CitedDay, Jackie. The Rights of Euthanasia.
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Jack Kevorkian, prisoner # 284797. 20 April 1999. Online Posting. 18 June 1999.
http://www. finalexit. org/dr. k.
html. . King, PJ. Lessons from History: Euthanasia in Nazi Germany.
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org/euth/nazieuth. htm. Pilgrim, Ira. Birth and Death. 15 January 1999. Online Posting.
19 June1999. http://www. mcn. org/c/irapilgrim/MED30.
html. Schaer, Meinrad. The Practice of Assisted Suicide in Switzerland. Online Posting. 18 June 1999.