The Ethical Dilemma of Euthanasia
An incredibly controversial issue clouds the minds of millions of people everyday as death confronts them. The problem revolves around the ethics of euthanasia. Should medical assisted suicide be outlawed in all situations or under certain circumstances, could it be considered ethical? Do humans violate nature’s course with science and advanced technology by playing God? Why should doctors and families witness their loved ones suffer when the solution of euthanasia promises a painless death? Authors Andrea E. Richardson and David Miller of the articles “Death with Dignity: The Ultimate Human Right” and “From Life to Death in a Peaceful Instant” reflect upon their experiences and feelings on these questions.
In “Death with Dignity: The Ultimate Human Right,” Richardson introduces the reader to the depressing story about his father. His father, a good family man, had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which kept him in the hospital for weeks at a time. For this man, the painful and paralyzing experience destroyed both his joints and internal organs. Richardson sneaks the idea of euthanasia into his introduction by saying, “For others-for those like my father- death is an event clearly visible on the horizon. It is an event that is forecasted, feared, and at times yearned for” (Richardson, 42).
Richardson then talks about the history of euthanasia by discussing the tribal ideals and medical techniques used thousands of years ago. “The discovery that certain berries had lethal effects was used as a means of humane euthanasia for people who were very ill or badly injured” (Richardson, 42). The author explains how medicine has evolved to the point where the quality of life among patients has become a secondary concern. Instead, doctors measure success at a hospital by observing if the medical staff takes every last effort to keep patients alive.
Current medical treatment remains unnecessary for many patients and may sometimes be detrimental to their quality of life. “At this point of time, extraordinary covers treatments such as ventilators, high risk surgery with low chance of success, feeding tubes, and multiple organ transplants”(Richardson, 43). When one considers this, one must wonder about the necessity of such procedures.
People choosing their fate has been...