Assisted suicideds or euthanasia


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Euthanasia can be defined as the way of relieving from severe and intolerable pain through some deadly agent.

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Assisted suicideds or euthanasia

  2. 2. 1Introduction Euthanasia can be defined as the way of relieving from severe and intolerable painthrough some deadly agent. Researches revealed that in many countries euthanasia have beenpracticing frequently. According to the survey countries like US and are Belgium are practicingeuthanasia. Different cultures have different rational and irrational justifications for theacceptance of euthanasia or assisted suicide. Greeks were the first one who derived the wordeuthanasia, meaning; good death. Some cultures believe that to choose death for oneself is rightof a person (Philippa Foot 85). The issue of Euthanasia is under discussion in the field of bioethics. According to theresearchers some cultures givefreedom to die whether from natural way or to get relieved fromunbearable pain. They can also choose a medicated way to end up their lives. According to theauthor an argument has reflected that it is notjustthe matter of personal choice to choose the waya person wantsto die, but in euthanasia there is a need of another person to practically implementthe particular way to end-up one’s life (Philippa Foot 85). In many civilized societies it is considered to be an act, which is against the laws andmedical norms because it has reduced the human life importance. Some cultures emphasize theconcept that death of human is considered as totally a natural process. Euthanasia will allow aperson to handle and control the other factors such asthe place,the time to be dead or the wayhe/she wants to die (Philippa Foot 86).Euthanasia leads to a silent death to the people who choose their own way to end-up their lives inorder to gain relief from unbearable pain. Doctors and physicians feelthat it is their fundamentalresponsibility to give relief and painless life to their patients. To heal their wounds and to give
  3. 3. 2them soothing treatment to those pains that could be relief only by death. The cure to give lesspainful death is euthanasia and it has been argued that it is immoral and unethical practice to givethis type of treatment. The (CEJA) Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs concluded after anopen discussion that the euthanasia can be adopted as one of the ways of treatment for differentpatients, their level of fatal diseases, and the pain they are suffering from (Philippa Foot 87). According to the American Medical Association (AMA) in the Code of MedicalEthics,two points of views were described about the treatment providing ways to attain thedeath. The first step isto giveeuthanasia death to the patient, who allows the other person to givehim treatment to giverelief from painful and uncontrollable condition of life. The other way isphysician-Assisted suicide in which the patient’s doctor or his physician would recommend orgive him a treatment to finish patient’s life. This could provoke the patient to become agree onthe acts which would end-up his life. Theresearch has points out that these both attitudes are notrecommended or are against to the profession of doctors (Philippa Foot 88). Other issues are related to ethical values of cultures and the norms practiced in thosecultures. Euthanasia is also considered equivalent to murder someone. In the context ofeuthanasia, there are two views, the libertarianand traditional views.James Rachels, aphilosopherfavors the libertarian view. According to him there is no such difference between thetwo forms of euthanasia, i.e. active euthanasia and passive euthanasia (James Rachels 79). The traditional view demonstrates that there is a very distinct and clear differencebetween the active and passive euthanasia on the basis of moral values and norms practiced. Theactive euthanasia is the way that patient’s doctor or physician adopted some directaction or treatment to relief the patient from the unbearable pain of fatal disease. It might
  4. 4. 3consider askillinga patient according to the will of patient itself or his family. The other way, i.e.passive euthanasia would allow the patient to die naturally. It will prolong the treatment andpatient will remain in unbearable and painful condition till the death. Other ways are voluntaryeuthanasia, involuntary euthanasia and non-euthanasia (James Rachels 78). The voluntary euthanasia is allowed and acceptable in some cultures and it is consideredlegal act. The non-voluntary euthanasia is generally not acceptable and is illegal in all countriesaccepting extreme conditions for the infants in some of the countries. The third category isdirectly addressed the killing or murdering act, i.e. involuntary euthanasia (Philippa Foot 89). In this case there are arguments related to moral and bio-ethical acceptance of euthanasiabecause of its active type and passive type, the condition and intensity of the situation in whichthese two types of euthanasia are allowed in medical profession (James Rachels 78). The concept of being right in the act of euthanasia is sometimes based on the beliefthatdeath is a form of mercifulness or it is an evil for the human. There are many misunderstandingsabout the concept and philosophy of life. People considered that life is the name of everything,which should be smooth and in its good condition (Philippa Foot 90).ARGUMENTS ON EUTHANASIA ISSUE; The philosopher James Rachelsargues that there is no such difference between thepassive or slow poisoning and the active or quick actions of euthanasia. The AMA and theRachel’s arguments are two ends of one rope. According to AMA there is a rationale andrelevant differences between the active and passive euthanasia. The passive euthanasia might beallowed in some extreme cases, but adopting active euthanasia is highly prohibited and immoral
  5. 5. 4action. On the other hand, Rachel said that either you choose a prolong way or direct way to killor give relief to patient from painful life is the same (Philippa Foot91).FOOT POINT & AMA VIEWS: According to AMA the two acts have entirely different moral values and ethicalboundaries to be adopted. The active euthanasia might be allowed moral and bio-ethicalacceptance, if the condition of patient is extremely critical otherwise there is no need ofeuthanasia to be adopted. This will have rejected the profession and moral responsibilities of anydoctor or physician. In AMA there is no concept of mercy killing except in specific cases.RACHEL’S POINT OF VIEW: According to Rachel the quick action is better than prolong and painful treatment or towait the natural death. A doctor’s profession is to give relief from pain and heal the patients. Hefavors the active euthanasia as a relief act from unbearable painful fatal disease rather than towait and let the patient allowed to die from his natural death. He provides evidence in favor ofhimarguments against AMA arguments (James Rachels 78). Rachel argues that for an infant that suffers from dehydration and severe infection has toface deep pain. He claims that it is better to give them an injection, which could make it easydeath and give relief from prolong and unbearable pain. According to Rachel it is not always immoral to give active euthanasia as a way of reliefto patients who suffer from diseases like Down’s syndrome or intense infections. According tohim letting someone dying with unbearable pain and killing someone is the same actions. There
  6. 6. 5is no significant difference that can give authentic and rational reason for the passive euthanasia.It is also equals to kill someone slowly (James Rachels 78). The second argument he made was that there is no such logical realities on which thedoctors made the decision to give active euthanasia and it has no concern with the decision ofdeath and life of patient. He said that the decision not to operate the Down syndrome infant andlet him die by his own natural death is not humanitarian and based on irrelevant reasons thatshould the child give active euthanasia or remain passive. According to Rachel, people have misconception of active euthanasia that it is immoralkill someone immediately through any medicine or treatment in which another person isinvolved. They do not think that to let someone die in severe pain is also the same instead it ismore painful and unbearable.He said that morally it is not acceptable that doctor who isresponsible to give healing and relief from pain do not take any action and only allowing hispatient to suffer from severe pain and let him die badly in front of him (James Rachels 78). He argues that if the choice of doctor is not related to some personal benefit and heconsidered his patient’s health first, even there is no moral value difference between the killingsor between active and passive euthanasia and if the doctor’s act is considered right, then nomatters how he would treat his patient. Either chooses the active or passive euthanasia(JamesRachels 78).AMA’s classifications: On other side, the AMA clarifies the situation by specifying the condition of the patientand also prohibiting the mercy killing. There is much to think that deliberately letting someone
  7. 7. 6die with unbearable pain has some difference from killing someone or murder someone on thebasis of morality or ethics. AMA argues that the intentional killing or act of active euthanasia will be against of thedoctrine of doctor’s profession and the cause for which doctors are serving to their societies withtheir services. AMA has two different statements regarding to euthanasia. According to Rachelthe first one is related to killing or active euthanasia, which is considered as morally wrong. Thesecond one is related to passive euthanasia or letting die the patient painfully (Philippa Foot 98). AMA favors its argument that in passive euthanasia the doctor is not doing anywrongaction to bring the death to happen. But he waits for the time the patient will die naturallydue to illness. While in active euthanasia the doctor actually kills the patient in either way.Rachel simply denies the concepts of AMA and believes that it is the same that if doctor is notgiving proper medicine to his patient and the patient dies due to unavailability of medicine andcare, and the doctor adopted the passive euthanasia act to let the patient died (James Rachels 78).Difference between moral & legal actions: According to him there is big difference between the illegal act and the moral actions. Ifthe doctor is not providing any attention to its tan it would be an illegal act, but if deliberatelyand intentionally done something than it will be a criminal act. The bad thing which consideredis letting someone die or giving him passive euthanasia is that the culture has accepted the life ofhuman as it is ended after death. If it is taking as continual part of life then the philosophy of lifeand death would be different (James Rachels 79).
  8. 8. 7DOCTORS ARE LIFE GIVER NOT LIFE TAKER: The argument about the killing or ending up human life can be considered as that life isnot permanent and it is scared in nature. It has to be demolished one day, as life is uncertain andnobody knows what will happen in the next seconds. So a patient could choose its own way todie (Philippa Foot 111). Doctors perform the act of passive euthanasia in order to eliminate the fear of beingscolded from the society or blamed in committing the immoral and unethical acts. Some doctorsdo not go for mercy killing and would not allow the people to prescribe the active euthanasia.They avoid it and also the intensity of pain and condition from which they are suffering. Somebelongs to the doctrine of mercy and prescribe the active euthanasia. Researchers argues that if any action does not harm any one’s moral values and nothurting their personal interest than it is allowed to give the active euthanasia. Argumentssuggested on the doctrine of being merciful and giving active euthanasia to some situation ismeaningless because it has proven that the new and modern medicines are also not enoughcapable of soothing the patient from their unbearable pain. And it is immoral to allow such atechnique for fewer of situations(James Rachels 79).JUDICIARY CLAIMS: Judiciary also claimed that it is allowed to give treatment like passive euthanasia or activeeuthanasia to patients who are suffering from unconsciousness state of illness. The criminal actstag was eliminated from these types of extreme serious condition cases. Those patients prefer toprescribe euthanasia from their physician or doctor. The physicians or doctors would not have to
  9. 9. 8face any legal difficulties regarding to that. Many courts and legal authorities have cleared thateuthanasia in such cases is entirely different from assisted suicides (Philippa Foot 94).Rachel’s arguments on assisted suicide: According to him the concept of active euthanasia and passive euthanasia is the same in terms ofmoral values and bio ethics. Both are related to give relief to the patient in his unbearable painfulcondition. There should be no difference between the relevance of these two actions. He strongly believesthat it is better to give a quick relief from that painful condition instead of waiting to become naturallydead. He emphasizes the doctors and the physicians that active euthanasia cannot employ to kill someonedeliberately, but it gives quick relief to your patient. It is not killing or murdering, but it is as same as youare letting your patient in prolong state of pain and wait for the time of his natural death. Humanity willsee both of these actions morally and ethically equal.He has provided evidence to him argument that ifthere is a way out for quick relief from painful ending of life than why prolong or mercy killing would beadopted by the physicians. They only wanted to secure their professional code of ethics, i.e. not to end upthe patient’s life by their own. They named this attitude as immoral and unethical act by giving reasonthat doctors are the people who relief their patients not kill them (James Rachels 80). Researchers analyzed that most of the patients have to face chronic pain during theprolong treatments in palliative care centers. The matter is not that who is right and who iswrong, the doctors or the philosophers. The matter is that there should not be misinterpretation ofthe two concepts; the mercy killing and the difference between the active euthanasia and thepassive euthanasia. Laws and morals should be treated separately on their specifications. Doctorsshould realize that they are forced by the law about their responsibilities regardingtheirprofession, i.e. they are the healers not the life takers. The AMA safeguarded the doctrine ofpassive euthanasia that it is according to the medical ethics, but it is not just only the passive
  10. 10. 9euthanasia, but active euthanasia could also be an ethical act. There is no difference morallybetween the active and passive euthanasia in actual regardless of some specific conditions.Doctors only satisfy the charges of jurisdiction law regarding euthanasia in its two types(Philippa Foot 98).
  11. 11. 10Conclusion:In the profession of medicine the responsibility of a physician or a doctor is to providerelief and heal the painful condition of the patient. The two philosophers Rachel andPhilippa foot argues about the morality and ethical values of this profession regardingactive and passive euthanasia. Both of them provided their point of views to elaboratesome of the misconceptions about immoral and illegal actions adapted to give relief to thepatient, prescribed by his doctor or by selected by him. Phillipa has described verycritically that passive euthanasia is relevant or give reasoning to every situation of thepatient. Only passive euthanasia is morally and ethically allowed in extreme criticalsituations such as prolong comma and hopeless unconscious state of patient.Rachel’s arguments may be correct according to the social and emotional aspects ofhuman nature. He emphasizes the equality of mercy killing, i.e. passive euthanasia, whichis prolong and unbearable painful experience for patients to the active euthanasia. This isquick treatment for relieving patient from intolerable pain in the form of death. He putsthe opinion that humanity does not allow anyone even the physician or doctor to remainsomeone in prolong painful condition even they could relief him in shorter quick way.He argues against the morality of passive euthanasia and immorality of active euthanasia.On contrary AMA’s statement is backed up by the judiciary. Doctors and physicians areallowed to adopt the passive euthanasia and active euthanasia in critical conditions andthey will not be penalized or charge any legal punishment. Under these conditionsPhilippa Foot’s arguments are more authentic than Rachel’s.
  12. 12. 11ReferencesJames Rachels Active and Passive Euthanasia.“The new England journal of medicine”. Vol.292, January 9, 1975, pp.78-80Philippa Foot. Euthanasia.“Philosophy & public affairs”. Blackwell Publisher, Vol.6, 1977, pp. 85-112