A Peaceful Parting: Active Euthanasia
Many of us have had family members that we have watched suffer during the end stages of their lives. Though it hurts us as a close relative to see someone we love suffer, the person suffering themselves probably feels much more sorrow than us. My grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer several years ago. We had home health come in to help care for him and my family was good to help as well. Though he was well cared for, I could not help but feel deep sorrow for him when I would look at him and see him suffering on the inside. I remember him falling out of bed in the middle of the nights and I would be called in the bedroom to help put him back in bed. I was happy to have my grandfather still there with us, but at the same time I wanted him to be happy and free from the pain and suffering, knowing that this would only result in his passing. Many people who are suffering from a terminal illness don’t want to leave their families behind, yet wish to pass on into the next life peacefully. Knowing that many people wish to go when they feel they are ready, is the thought of active euthanasia really as big of an issue as many people portray it to be?
Active euthanasia is where a person actively assists the death of another person. Most commonly a lethal injection is used to euthanize a person. We see this all the time with animals that are suffering from a terminal illness or no longer have a good quality of life. So why not allow humans to have the same opportunity? The questions of suicide and murder often arise when discussing euthanization. Suicide is often questioned because the person being euthanized has to consent to the lethal injection. Murder often is questioned simply because one person must “poison” the other to complete the euthanasia.
In the eyes of an everyday normal human, what would constitute a good reason for euthanasia? Let’s start with terminal illness. There are so many terminal illnesses out there that cause life to be very difficult and painful. A simple stroke or heart attack could leave someone paralyzed, intubated, and helpless. Cancer is very painful and is a prolonged illness that can take away everything from a person’s normal lifestyle. AIDS also changes an entire lifestyle of a person and is not only terminal to the person that carries the disease, but could also be easily contracted by another and become terminal to them as well. With the option of active euthanasia, the pain and prolonged suffering from terminal illness could be brought to a complete halt by the person experiencing it.
Every morning we all wake up and take a shower, get dressed in the privacy of our own home, eat breakfast, pack a lunch, and drive to work or school to begin our day. For some people, they are woken up at 5 am, showered in a public bathroom, dressed in whatever clothes are picked out for them whether they match or not, spoon fed breakfast, served whatever lunch is on the menu for the day,...