Euthanasia is a practice in which an individual suffering from a terminal illness is medically killed through the use of a lethal chemical. The life of such an individual can also be ended through suspension of medical treatment. Euthanasia is commonly practiced around the world. Therefore, the question whether this kind of life termination should be legalized or not is very topical nowadays. This paper seeks to provide reasonable answer to this question.
Euthanasia should not be legalized because of the following reasons. Firstly, there are various alternative treatments that can help an individual to stay alive for quite some time instead of taking voluntary euthanasia. When a patient is suffering from a terminal illness, it is believed that such an individual has two options: either to die painfully and slowly in suffering, or to receive euthanasia (Cohen 2001, p. 17). According to a research carried out in the field of Palliative medicine, it is possible to relieve any pain through the use of modern techniques and show compassionate caring instead of euthanasia. Patients with terminal illness may have their symptoms managed in their homes as well (Stolberg 2007, p. 39). Thus, through hospice movement, patients can be treated and their symptoms can be relieved.
England has especially developed facilities that are aimed at caring for patients suffering from terminal diseases. Indeed, a Committee of House of Lords recently endorsed a ruling that stated that the rule should not be changed and euthanasia should not be allowed. It is true to state that a lot of patients are suffering and dying in their homes as they are unable to benefit from medical care (Steinberg 2006, p.112). Sometimes, the necessary medical facilities cannot be found in the near. Moreover, medical practitioners may lack training to deal with patients with terminal illness. In order to ensure that there are no cases of euthanasia, the alternatives of managing the patient’s life should be effective. Besides, it should be ensured that doctors are trained more widely. More specifically, there should be no laws allowing euthanasia as it will be undermining of individual’s right to life.
Secondly, euthanasia should not be legalized as the request for such services are not free, hence they are not voluntary. Notably, patients suffering from terminal diseases are vulnerable. They do not have sufficient knowledge on how to alleviate the symptoms. Such a patient suffers from fear and anxiety. He/she is concerned about the impact and consequences of his disease in relation to other people. Thus, he/she cannot be objective while making decisions about his/her fate. Indeed, those suffering from terminal illness usually develop intense depression and feel themselves worthless - something that may force them to make wrong judgment. Resolutions by a patient to end his/her life may also be caused by dementia, confusion as well as adverse symptoms (Brody 1975, p. 245). However, such causes may be relieved through the use of right treatment. It is important to value the little life that one may have left despite the illness. It has been found out that when terminally ill-patients adapt back to life, they are so much relieved that their request were not accepted. Practicing euthanasia is a sign of lack of value of those in sufferings. Doctors have a role of promoting the wellbeing of every individual. Moreover, how we care for the weak and for the most vulnerable in the society depicts the kind of the society that we have.
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Thirdly, euthanasia denies the patients their final stage in life. When an individual is suffering from some kind of terminal illness, he/she usually has an opportunity to ponder over his past life. Thus, one is able to correct wrongs, prepare the future for the loved ones as well as prepare for his/her own death both mentally and spiritually (Steinberg 2006, p. 120). Sometimes, people involved in the hospice work witness situations where people are able to mend their family relations and rediscover love that could not have existed before. Terminal illness may bring hardships, helping an individual accept the essence of helping others. Some are able to develop their good character as well as maturity in such conditions (Draper 1998, p. 96). Thus, death should be properly managed as it serves as the concluding stage of personal growth. In such moments, some encouraging words may be spoken that may help to strengthen those who have been left to face the unpleasant diagnosis. Virtually, losing such an opportunity to care for the vulnerable denies them an opportunity to go through the final stage of humanity. Often, one conquers suffering not by letting the reality to overshadow it but by boldly facing it (Steinberg 2006, p. 320). In this case, voluntary euthanasia shortens the life of an individual and denies him/her the opportunity to accomplish some other duties on earth.
Euthanasia should be not be legalized as it undermines advancement in medical research. For decades, the major desire in the medical field has been to come up with treatments for terminal illness. Moreover, efforts have been made to come up with methods for managing and alleviating symptoms. However, euthanasia shifts the focus from developing the cure for some condition to simply killing the person with such a condition. This threatens the progress that was already made in this field. Management and development of cure for such conditions are, thus, rendered to the starting point (Emanuel 1994, p. 223). Therefore, instead of using funds to employ more people that would look after and console the vulnerable, the practice of euthanasia leads to the use of funds to destroy life of individuals who may have assisted in development of the research. Thus, if euthanasia becomes legal, then there would be advances in the field of killing (Ktenology) instead of developing expertise in treatments and management of symptoms (Cohen, 2001 p. 36). As a result, euthanasia will be encouraged
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