In a matter of life and death, people prefer life as the obvious answer. Death is a personal issue believed to go without other people’s interference on occasions where no one is harmed. There are circumstances where life is not the best option, a moment that leaves people wondering whether death could be an answer. Euthanasia should be considered an opportunity for patients to choose life or death. When given all the facts, mentally competent patients understand the quality of life they expect to lead if they choose to live in a stress-filled setting. Patients at wards and intensive care units often suffer from excruciating pain and find it hard to waste time while their bodies are withering away. Euthanasia should be defended because it is an honor to people’s explicit right to die with dignity, alleviates pain and suffering, and protects human autonomy in cases where death is inevitable.
Defensive Argument #1
Forcing patients to live with conditions that cause them unbearable pain and other extreme deformations is cruel. Throughout eternity, humans have had the opportunity to decide on what job they want to take, what religion to follow, and other life matters on their conceptions (Bulut, 2018). Similarly, they should be allowed to decide whether to live or die, especially when the conditions threaten their overall existence in a free society. Euthanasia is a medical procedure that approves its potential to abide by regulations and benefit more people. For instance, over 7 million people in America are diagnosed with terminal illnesses that guarantee death, yet they are not given a chance to choose death over life (Ward et al., 2019). Most patients understand that they are awaiting a slow death because they cannot care for themselves or acquire new treatments to reverse their conditions (Yildirim, 2020). It makes sense to allow patients with these life conditions to request euthanasia instead of bearing a torturous life. Legalizing euthanasia ensures that patients are afforded a death with dignity.
Defensive Argument #2
Living in pain is worse than death when patients are in pain or completely paralyzed. Half of the patients in intensive care units expect to die while bedridden and in pain. Despite the efforts to treat diseases that have been killing people for ages, there are cases where medication causes incredible suffering to untreatable illnesses. For example, cancer patients develop chronic pain from combining treatments to comfort them and improve their quality of life. Patients with the risk of experiencing memory loss become purely dependent with meager chances of regaining their personalities (Cipriani & Di Fiorino, 2019). Similarly, patients with locked-in syndrome cannot move or communicate verbally and rely on other caregivers to do everything for them. It is fair to say that these patients can use any means of suicide within their reach because they know they are about to die anyway. Legalizing euthanasia offers such patients the chance to end their life early with the aid of a physician to achieve a painless death because, to them, it is inevitable.
Defensive Argument #3
Assisted suicide is hoped for as a doctor-regulated method, direction, or action to help achieve a quick, painless death. Dying patients, especially those with widespread cancer, dislike living to be cared for by nurses or family members due to the uncertainty of their inevitable death (Yildirim, 2020). Doctors are obligated to respond to patient requests, sometimes withdrawing life support treatments from competent patients who do not want them (Yildirim, 2020). Many patients with difficult non-promising situations feel like a burden to their loved ones and need a chance to end their guilt. A good example is when patients are discharged from dialysis, feeding, and intravenous tubes at their will. Although most of these decisions are hard for the physicians, they relieve patients’ grief and deep contemplation of how much they cannot do for themselves. Therefore, under certain conditions, the only way to be kind to a patient is to allow them to choose death over an existence they find unworthy.
Opposing View #1
State government officials claim that the choice to live or die is morally other than personal and should be decided by physicians in ways that preserve a patient’s life and offer the best available care. Besides, there are cases where a deadly disease is cured, giving patients a better-quality life. As an illustration, smallpox, an extremely contagious and deadly virus with no known cure, was eradicated (Cohen, 2019). While legalizing euthanasia justifies killing struggling patients, it could be used as a ground to initiate deaths and close the gap for further research to treat such illnesses. Euthanasia cases have shortened a patient’s life to less than a week, limiting the chances of managing or even curing disease. However, most of the terminal illnesses witnessed today have existed for a long time, making it hard to determine when the cure could be invented. Despite the notion that recovery from some diseases could be possible, it is nearly impossible, and creating room for positive outcomes does not justify the cruelty of torturing patients.
Opposing View #2
Religious experts believe that human life has immeasurable value and should be left sacred. One of the main arguments is that euthanasia is murder, making it morally unacceptable. From a religious view, classifying the life of dying patients as not worth protecting is unfair as disabled people and the elderly can be independent (Bulut, 2018). Nevertheless, terminally ill patients suffer extended states of immobility or pain endurance, which could traumatize them, and they need to be given justice by allowing them to end their pain. Under such conditions, keeping euthanasia as a viable healthcare option allows patients a chance to die peacefully and is an act of mercy, a value highly withheld by religion. In extreme cases, patients risk losing their memories and cannot rely on therapies or palliative care to manage pain. Euthanasia is still the best healthcare option for terminally ill patients because it maintains the ability of the patient to control the situation and the expenses of fruitless life support treatments.
Sustaining terminally ill patients’ lives allows them to interact more with caregivers and loved ones. To some extent, the interaction proves to patients how much of a bother they are. In these situations, spending life lying down inspires death and triggers the feeling of guilt. Forcing people to live in a death-inspiring environment feels selfish as the patient feel unconsidered to end their lives in the only humane way (Somerville, 2019). While physicians subscribe to the vow of compassionately caring for patients, denying them the chance to choose a dignified death is hypocritical.
Patients refuse treatments when they cannot enjoy living anymore and believe their doctors would allow them these options. When a patient’s system fails to an extent they cannot move, talk, see, or taste, doctors may not consider them terminally ill. However, these patients cannot enjoy everything that makes life meaningful (Somerville, 2019). Competent patients understand the cost of life-sustaining treatment for a long-term illness and want to relieve their families of the burden. In the final days, patients who have lost their ability to work incur the most significant expenses to acquire futile care while death’s candidature seems so natural (Green et al., 2022). Instead of forcing patients to be subjective tenants at the hospital, the healthcare department should revolve around elevating suffering. Consequently, euthanasia should be made available when no possible treatments are left.
Farmers often euthanize suffering animals to end their struggle, but humanity believes in forcing an individual to live, hoping they would solve an illness. Similarly, physicians should consider euthanizing patients to preserve their autonomy and prevent them from finding unenjoyable life activities (Somerville, 2019). The challenges associated with hopeless diseases create bodily complications and, at times, cause deformations that no one would appreciate having for the rest of their lives.
The worry that legalizing euthanasia could cause harm is valid as the sanctity of life is considered unique for humans compared to when applied to terribly sick animals. The immeasurable value of human life does not mean it should be preserved while depriving the owner of all benefits of enjoying it. Honestly, the sanctity of life is narrow-minded as it limits a person’s right to die (Green et al., 2022). Under these conditions, the patient feels devalued and overly controlled. These thoughts create unending guilt when patients cannot enjoy food, fund their treatment, or thank those supporting them. It is hard for a patient to believe that preserving their life to feel guilty has any value, especially when the quality of this life is so poor.
Incurable illnesses are often accompanied by unbearable pain and other forms of suffering. In most cases, there are no favorable odds that a patient would get through the disease or that a cure would happen soon. The healthcare system can choose to keep the patients alive and watch them endure the torture. It is worth noting that the assurances and promises that a patient would get a cure or practical help do not override the fact that the patient is being left to suffer for a long time. Moreover, euthanasia is a medical practice that can be regulated by the law, ensuring that all eligible patients are well scrutinized. Precisely, eligibility for euthanasia could be centered on terminally ill adults with mentally competent reasoning to discuss the issue with more than one physician and in severe pain.
Keeping terminally ill patients alive violates several clauses of human rights. Legally, morally, and scientifically, some cases of illnesses justify the use of euthanasia. Patients spend time thinking about their inabilities, pain, and the bothering memories they leave with their loved ones. Euthanasia should be offered as an option each time physicians have no natural cure for presented conditions. Generally, euthanizing patients is not murdering them because it is most likely considered the art of bringing an inevitable death closer. Statistically, patients ask for euthanasia because they cannot withstand the pain and suffering, and giving it to them is better than watching them tortured by a health condition.
Bulut, A. (2018). The opinions about euthanasia among students in elderly care department of vocational school of health services at Bingol University. Medicine Science, 7(2), 277-282.
Cipriani, G., & Di Fiorino, M. (2019). Euthanasia and other end of life in patients suffering from dementia. Legal Medicine, 40, 54-59.
Cohen, J. M. (2019). “Remarkable solutions to impossible problems”: Lessons for malaria from the eradication of smallpox. Malaria Journal, 18(1), 1-16.
Green, G., Reicher, S., Herman, M., Raspaolo, A., Spero, T., & Blau, A. (2022). Attitudes toward euthanasia—dual view: Nursing students and nurses. Death Studies, 46(1), 124-131.
Somerville, M. (2019). Does it matter how we die? Ethical and legal issues raised by combining euthanasia and organ transplantation. The Linacre Quarterly, 86(4), 359-365.
Yildirim, J. G. (2020). Knowledge, opinions and behaviors of senior nursing students in Turkey regarding euthanasia and factors in Islam affecting these. Journal of Religion and Health, 59(1), 399-415.
Ward, Z. J., Yeh, J. M., Bhakta, N., Frazier, A. L., & Atun, R. (2019). Estimating the total incidence of global childhood cancer: A simulation-based analysis. The Lancet Oncology, 20(4), 483-493.