5. Stakeholders and their perspective
For citizens to make a well-informed decision about euthanasia, they need to be properly educated. The relevant stakeholders concerning the controversial topic of euthanasia are terminally ill patients, the families of the terminally ill, the elderly, religious groups, medical physicians and society.
Terminally Ill and their families perspective
The main point of view evident from the terminally ill is the relief from the imminent suffering and death. From a survey conducted it showed that 71% of respondents would want to be relived from the pain and distress through euthanasia if they were terminally ill (Survey Results). A serious problem for the ...view middle of the document...
Shortening this period through euthanasia could be seen as a way of relieving the stress and pressure of meeting these finances; on the contrary the cost of the lethal medication required for euthanasia is less than 50 British pounds, which converts to roughly $90AUD (BBC,2014). Contrastingly, Dr. Bob Wright argues that, “elderly people who led active lives and were fit and healthy could still benefit greatly from intensive care, but there was a ‘spectrum’ of doctors, patients and families who argued for vigorous treatment at the end of a life, even when the patient was ‘irretrievable’” (Dr Bob Wright). It is of the utmost importance that the decision whether or not to proceed on with life is that entirely of the individual. There are numerous cases of elderly patients who wish to die in order to die a peaceful death, for instance Nancy Crick.
The doctors duty is to preserve life and relieve suffering, acting always in the patients best interest, a dilemma arises when the preservation of life is no longer compatible with the relief of suffering and the patient wishes to die. The withholding of life sustaining measures and medicine, which may hasten death, are generally accepted as satisfactory medical practices. What divides doctors is the right for them to take action with the intention of ending life. This is derived from the medical ethic of the Hippocratic Oath. However this oath was developed long before the medical advances met today’s society and is therefore no longer accepted as a definitive statement (Healey, J The Euthanasia Debate 2002). The modernised version of this oath is now known as the Declaration of Geneva, which was adopted by the World Medical Association in 1968 and amended in 1983. The relevant portion reads, “I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from its beginning even under threat and I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity” (Healey, J The Euthanasia Debate 2002). The significance of this declaration rests upon how one interprets ‘respect for human life’ and ‘the laws of humanity’. Last year, however, a survey of 500 doctors by Exit International found that 60-70% of general practioners in Victoria, NSW, SA and WA were in favour of euthanasia laws (Voluntary Euthanasia Debate, 2013). The division within society in regards to euthanasia is also evident within the medical field, those doctors who aren’t in favour of euthanasia state that they do not wish to be one of the doctors who takes a human life. Like with all of the other stakeholders, the decisions made are entirely that of the individuals and are dependant on the given circumstances. Some argue that Euthanasia is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks. Whereas others contend that voluntary euthanasia would provide options for a comfortable and dignified end to life. It can potentially be viewed...