Euthanasia Alternatives Essay

1226 words - 5 pages

Running head: EUTHANASIA ALTERNATIVES Euthanasia Alternatives There is much controversy surrounding the issue of euthanasia in our society today. Many doctors and nurses are being asked by their terminally ill patients and their patients' families to end their suffering, therefore, purposefully ending their life. Although euthanasia is not legalized anywhere in the United States, health care providers are going through with the patient's or family's requests (Clay, 1997). Some argue that euthanasia should be permitted and that it may be the best approach to solving a given individual's problem. Others agree with it under certain circumstances and specific certain qualities that the patients must possess, such as being in a hopeless condition or being unable to make sound decisions. Lastly, there is a group who strongly oppose euthanasia, arguing that life should not be taken away or given up on, purposefully and that there is always another path to take; there are many other ways to turn besides ending life. Although the majority of the public supports the death under certain circumstances approach (Asch, 1996), euthanasia should not be legalized and following through with it should be stopped. No matter what the circumstances, an individual's life should not be purposefully taken away or given up on by a health care provider, as there is always an alternate approach.When terminally ill patients are considering death, they should consider all of their options. There is almost always another alternate measure to death that is somehow hidden. Richman (1995) talks about "tunnel vision," or the way that a patient's other choices or thoughts are absent because that patient's focus is solely on the suicide and not on any other alternatives. One of the first things to do is to open the lines of communication (Clay, 1997). By doing this, patients can sort out their problems and concerns. These problems can be talked about with a psychologist or therapist, who can help the patient considerably. Terminally ill patients who are suicidal may also be depressed and therefore, a pharmacological aspect of care can be taken to treat or alleviate the depression (Clay, 1997). Patients who take this approach may no longer think about death and are thankful that no one answered their wish to die.Another and probably the most important alternative approach to euthanasia is providing palliative care to the patient in need. This approach focuses on many aspects of the patient's life besides just the medical issues and assures that the remainder of the terminal patient's life is as comfortable and meaningful as possible (Kutscher, 1983). Health care providers provide this type of care. Their focus is to alleviate the many stresses experienced by the patient and family during the end stages of life, including emotional, spiritual and social ones. They also assure, throughout the dying process and the final stages of life, that the patient's dignity is kept...

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