Under which conditions is euthanasia morally permissible?

Euthanasia is the intentional killing of terminally ill patients who are in excruciating pain and suffering. A morally admissible behavior is one that is permitted by the moral system. Euthanasia is used to relieve the agony and suffering of a patient whose condition is incurable. In most cases, euthanasia is performed at the patient's request, or, in extreme cases, at the request of families, physicians, and judges. Euthanasia is illegal in most nations, especially when done freely, and can result in a 14-year prison sentence. Euthanasia is immoral and only morally permissible in extreme circumstances. Euthanasia raises moral and ethical questions such as ‘is it right to induce death of a terminally ill patient undergoing severe pain and suffering considering that the condition is not curable?’ ‘How is euthanasia different from killing someone as opposed to letting them die?’ Euthanasia increases immorality in the society as people seeks to commit suicide others cause murder and argue it out as euthanasia. Hence, Euthanasia should only be allowed in extreme circumstances in order to discourage immorality, enhance ethical behavior and foster social responsibility in the society. It is important to recognize that, the significant aspect in moral permissibility of euthanasia is the circumstances that drive the decision. It is reasonable to show sympathy by ending the life of person suffering intolerable pain, or incurable diseases, or mutilation. Euthanasia should be the last resort for a terminally ill patient with unreliable pain and suffering.

Medical practitioners should be guided by bioethical principles of beneficence and autonomy, and should try as much as possible to disengage in euthanasia considering that its main goal is to prevent death. One of the extreme circumstance under which euthanasia is permissible is when a terminally ill patient is diagnosed to have a life expectancy of six months or less and the same is confirmed by another doctor. Also the patient diagnosed with the above life expectancy must make a verbal request for lethal prescription and another written request in an interval of at least two weeks. For the physician in charge of the prescription must ensure that the patient is mentally competent to make the decision on euthanasia. Under the above circumstances, euthanasia should only be conducted after the fulfillment of above conditions. Euthanasia is morally permissible if the patient is suffering great pain and there is no hope for improvement as a way of promoting quality of life and showing sympathy to the patient. Euthanasia is also morally acceptable in extreme circumstance where the person who is terminally ill becomes extremely a burden to the family and insists of dying when the burden of living is too heavy for him. Patient autonomy should be respected in ensuring that they enjoy the freedom to choose. It is unjust and immoral to refuse euthanasia when the pain and disabilities of the patient are way above the capabilities of the doctor to provide treatment (extreme circumstances). The society should uphold death with dignity by allowing euthanasia in extreme circumstances.

Section 2: Presentation of the Objection to the Argument

The morality of euthanasia is widely critiqued all over the world from the ancient times. Some of the philosophers and religious leaders argue that every individual has a moral obligation to God, hence it is prohibited for one to take away life as only the creator has gives life has the mandate of taking it away. Euthanasia is not morally permissible in all circumstances as no one should depart away from life through voluntary death. the argument that one assist in carrying out euthanasia under extreme circumstances such as self defense to save life is completely wrong as life is taken away not saved. No one should assist in ending the life of another being by citing out the life expectancy of the patient such as six months. According to medical experts, no one has the ability to predict ones life expectancy as it is evident there are terminally ill patients who live for years. Euthanasia is not morally permissible under all circumstances, because suffering is not one of the determinants of human dignity. We are required to support and promote human dignity by encouraging people to live, and loving them despite of their health condition and suffering as opposed to opposed to assisting them end their life prematurely and fulfilling their humanity through suffering. There is no difference between killing a person and letting him/her to die as the end result is death.

Practicing euthanasia under all circumstances is morally wrong as it means giving happiness, and suffering the first priority and undermining the value of life. Supporting euthanasia in extreme circumstances simply implies that people should only live when they are happy, but in contrary suffering and pain is part of human life. Everyone should endure pain and suffering through focus and positive thinking. One cannot compare the dignity and value of life with happiness and suffering, as human life cannot be compared with anything due to its sacredness and immeasurable value. The dignity of human life should be preserved through protection of life by allowing terminally ill people to die through natural causes. Arguing for morality of euthanasia in extreme circumstances is wrong as it is likely to result in suicide contagion.

Section 3: Response to the Objection

It is important to acknowledge that the argument supports euthanasia only at extreme circumstances such as incurable conditions of the patient, extreme pain and suffering and a less life expectancy. Euthanasia is not recommended in there is possibility of recovery of the patient from the condition, whereby all means should be exhausted. On contrary, if there is no possibility of recovery, it is crucial to act morally by preventing the person from suffering and keeping him/her alive through medical means. It is of no importance to prolong a useless struggle, causing misery to the patient and benefiting the hospital due to the accumulation of sustenance charges.

There is need to focus on quality of life being lived by the patient by considering that a person is alive if the brain is active. According to utilitariasm, everybody should strive to increase happiness and decrease suffering. On this point, under extreme circumstances, euthanasia should be morally permissible to relieve the suffering of others reduce the misery of the patient, the relatives, and everyone involved. When a patient is diagnosed with a terminal and incurable disease and is undergoing severe pain, the suffering should not be prolonged by keeping him alive to die slowly and painfully.

According to medical ethics, medical practitioners should respect patient autonomy by allowing them to exercise their right of the type of medication and make their decisions. Despite the outlined extreme circumstances under which euthanasia is morally permissible, the final answer should come from the patient. If the patient wishes to live despite the suffering, no other party should put to an end the life of the patient as it is morally wrong and unethical. Allowing terminally ill patients to continue languishing pain and they will eventually die is not showing dignity. Terminally ill patients should not be forced to ill as they have the right to self determination and control over the way they wish to end their life.

In conclusion, moral justification is needed for ethically acceptance of euthanasia. One experiences a lot of pain seeing a loved one suffering and languishing in pain, considering that there is no possibility of recovery. Most people show sympathy to the terminally ill patients by supporting euthanasia as a way of relieving them pain and suffering and allowing them to die with dignity. Euthanasia should only be used as a last resort for only terminally ill patients and in extreme circumstances. Doctors should strive to control the pain being experienced terminally ill patients as well as provide the appropriate intervention in dealing with emotional depression and suffering to prevent incidences of euthanasia. Supporting euthanasia in ordinary circumstances is dangerous for the society as it result in tremendous abuse and deprive of care for the terminally ill patients and other vulnerable populations. It is important to appreciate quality of life and respect of patient autonomy, by allowing terminally ill patients to take control of their life and decide the appropriate means to end their life. Death should be postponed by all means through medical interventions, emotional and spiritual support. Patients should be encouraged to live and think positively and to always appreciate the value and sacredness of life.

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