Euthanasia: An Individual Choice Essay

1834 words - 7 pages

An eight-year old boy walked in to his grandmother’s room to find her not breathing. He instinctively called 911, not knowing what his grandmother’s or mother’s wishes were. That should have been the end to his grandmother’s suffering, but it was not. In this instance, doctors insisted on keeping his grandmother on life support, despite his mother’s request and his grandmother was incapable of articulating her wishes. She didn’t want her mother on life support. Today in modern “democratic” medicine, physicians are suppose to serve and advise, and only in extreme situations of incapacities, emergencies, lack of available health care proxies, or patient’s waivers of decision making should they decide for a patient. Euthanasia should be the decision of the individual, not family, not government, and not the medical community.
Euthanasia has many different meanings. Some consider euthanasia as meaning a gentle and easy passing, the good death of another, or mercy killing (Lane, 1). Others consider it to mean an intentional termination of life, by another, at the explicit request of the individual. This implies that the act would be initiated by the person who wishes to terminate his/her life, or some define it as to include both the voluntary and the involuntary termination of life (Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 1). Euthanasia is discussed in many places besides a hospital or doctor’s office. It is also discussed in churches, philosophy classes, taverns, street corners, homes, medical societies, nursing classes, hospices, journals, and legislative assemblies (Lane, 2).
Many say they have good reasons to argue      why euthanasia is a good thing. They use the argument that euthanasia is a cry for help (NCLC Department of Medical Ethics, 1). Others say terminal illness is so painful that death is the only way out. Some are concerned with what is in store for their future and would use euthanasia as an option. Then there are those who are wanting to die, but are incapable of performing their own demise, so they request help (Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 3).
Some people believe that euthanasia should not be the choice of the individual, but the people who are taking care of them. They argue that when an individual is not in a sound state of mind, they should not be in a position to make such drastic decisions for themselves. They feel that once an individual has lost their decision making capabilities, then someone else must make their decisions for them (Ontario Consultant on Religious Tolerance, 2). In 1994, 51% of the people in Oregon were in favor of decisions by proxy , and then in 1997, that percentage increased to 60% (Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 9). These people perceive it as their right to choose for another, when it has been deemed that an individual is no longer mentally competent.
Others have also said that family, the government, and the medical community should...

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