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Human Euthanasia The Right to Die

Updated on June 19, 2012

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Human euthanasia, and the right to die

The practice of Human euthanasia is very common in our society, we use it on animals as well as people (as I will explain later in this text) on a daily basis. There are many heated arguments for and against this practice, I will only be discussing euthanasia as it pertains to human beings. The common understanding of the act of euthanasia is the act of ending a person’s life( with no other intent), usually this is done by administering high doses of medication in order to slow breath and heart rate to the point of death. Opponents of this practice focus on the sole purpose of the means more than to the end, as I have observed. Supporters of euthanasia contend that it is an act of compassion and that a human should be given a choice as to how much suffering they should have to endure and that the quality of life for them should be taken into account, if their suffering is the only thing left for them to endure than they should be released from the ‘duty’ to live. After some research I support euthanasia for terminally ill human beings.

The law allows for Benemortasia, another word for good death, and is an accepted practice in society. Benemortasia is the practice of allowing a patient to continue to live without life sustaining treatment, allowing the death to progress on it’s own with no medical intervention. This can mean weeks, months or even years of suffering and pain for a person. But we must also consider the quality of the person’s life, can they speak, are they suffering, is their dignity intact? A person who it has been determined that their quality of life can only decline into more suffering and loss of comprehension at some point prior to death has only suffering and no quality. This is to no benefit to any person involved, the subject, the family or witnesses to the event.

Planned euthanasia can be a relief for all involved. The family has a timeline of the event, giving them time to adjust to the circumstance of the death of their loved one. They can say their goodbyes, make amends, listen to last wishes and be relieved of the torture of waiting for the moment of death to arrive. Gone will be the last memories of your loved ones reduced to a tortured shell laying in an unfamiliar bed(in many cases).

Many times when a loved one passes from a terminal illness the death can be considered a relief to them, to watch a family member or friend slowly and miserably die is without a doubt more painful than a planned event before the suffering is so great that you are praying or wishing death to come as much as for relief for yourself as for your loved one at times. In either case death is eminent, with euthanasia the suffering can be shortened, ridding all involved of the pain and suffering experienced. This is an act of compassion for the individual who is suffering.

Human euthanasia occurs in hospitals on a regular basis but under another name , so to speak. High doses of pain killing medication are administered to patients who are in unbearably suffering from their disease. The doctors who order these high doses of medication and the nurses that administer them, know the exact outcome of the dosage. The families are informed that the pain medication will slow heart rate and breathing causing death. This is looked upon differently than direct euthanasia because the intent is to relieve the patient of the pain. The fact that it results in death (predictably so) is treated as though it is a secondary result. They concentrate on the means rather than the end. But this is not any different from the standard idea of euthanasia because truly the result is the same. The doctor knows the effect of the medication but administers it in the name of pain relief. So a person truly is euthanized in the end. Pain treatments that lead to death are euthanization. A person should not be forced to live the last days of their life in pain, suffering, and delusions from being heavily medicated only to be given such high doses of medication their heart and breathing stops. This does not in any way preserve what opponents of euthanasia could fairly consider ‘life’.

The freedom to choose the extent of suffering one may endure at the end of a terminal illness should be left up to the individual first and foremost, then to the families that will endure their own type of torture. Decisions made to this end should be preplanned with doctors when the patient is still able to make sound decisions on matters as important as this. Doctors should be allowed to perform such acts as a service to their patient, looking after the well being of the physical and the mental state of their patient. Although they may not agree as in many practices the doctor doesn’t have to agree with the patient in order to perform some procedures, in example gastric bypass surgery, the personal opinion of the doctor may be that the patient use diet and exercise for weight loss, but it is the wish of his client to have the surgery instead. The doctor will perform the surgery at the request and satisfaction of the patient.

Euthanasia should be allowed when it is chosen by an individual capable of making sound decisions. It ends suffering, gives time for the patient and families to get their affairs in order, and allows the patient to decided how much suffering he or she will endure. The freedom of choice is the individuals when the individual has no hope for a cure and the only result is death. These individuals are the ones suffering the pain of their terminal illness and they should not be forced to experience undo pain and suffering with nothing but death eminent.

As a last note, in no way do I support suicide, whether it results from an escape from a painful death from disease or some sort of mental illness. Human euthanasia can only be acceptable if there is a specially trained and licensed doctor involved and a coherent patient. I believe in the duty to live as long as one has the capability to due so without debilitating physical pain and suffering. Mentally ill patients looking for a way to end their own lives are not capable to make such decisions, and therefore do not qualify to make such choices.

Where do you stand?

Do you believe that an individual should have a right to choose assisted suicide in order to relieve terminal pain suffering?

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Why do you feel this way?

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      maryjane 3 years ago

      I am strongly against euthanasia. We should not make it easy for doctors to euthanize. Already it is more convenient for a doctor to euthanize than to try to save a patient. If a patient wants to die earlier than planned it should not be done in a hospital or medical facility that is supposed to be taking care of the living not killing people. That is just very wrong. Actually there are very few people who would want to be euthanized. I think it is more of a doctor issue.

    • KimberlyLake profile image
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      Kimberly Lake 4 years ago from California

      @Denise I am very sorry to hear about that. I pray that peace and rest comes to your family soon. I agree with your comment that they wouldn't let a dog suffer this way, it is tragic, I know what you mean. I have watched a few of my family members spend their last days this way, it is very sad and demeaning for them as well. I wish there was an answer to the problem of this kind of suffering.

    • profile image

      Denise 4 years ago

      my mother in law is as we speak on her deathbed unable to be given the dignified end she hoped for. Her wish was that she would go quietly in her sleep, and she asked that we pray for this to happen quickly.

      A week later as we watch her slowly die from what is effect now, starvation as she can no longer eat and is now sleeping more so not drinking, she gets thinner and thinner daily (if that's possible given the sight of her) she has soiled herself and is now washed and cared for as a complete invalid. If you knew her well, you would know she would hate this passionately. Such a dignified and private person. Don't get me wrong the nurses who care for her are amazing, they do everything within their power to make her comfortable, but their hands are tied behind their backs and they are unable to end her suffering.

      It is cruel and no one would make their dog suffer as she does.. it makes me so angry that there is no system or trust in our health professionals to make sound judgements with patients as to their wishes.

      Now we have to sit and wait by her bedside daily, watching her die and we pray and hope that her heart does give up soon to spare her any more of this horrible and pityful death.

    • KimberlyLake profile image
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      Kimberly Lake 4 years ago from California

      @Sarahbaty Hi Sarah, thank you for you comment, I appreciate your input. I do believe that euthanasia is practiced in some hospitals under certain circumstances, although it is not directly called that. In some cases it may be from high doses of pain medication for relief of pain in the terminally I'll patient. I wasn't referring to a murderous medical staff but the knowledge that over medicating a patient may cause their heart and breathing to stop. What I think you are referring to is a different subject and I agree with you on that in every way. There are sickos in every field for sure.

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      Sarahbaty 4 years ago

      I am very much against it because it is very dangerous. People have been euthanized in the U.S. because doctors have decided that they had a bad quality of life. The reason for the bad quality of life is because the medical staff may have put them into a severe drug coma and the patient was in a vegetative state because of it.That means that medical staff who overdose patients with deadly sedatives can say the person has no quality of life when in reality the staff overdosed the patient instead.That makes it easy for medical staff to commit murder. There are psychopaths in every field. Not every medical staff cares about saving a life, like people would like to believe. Some medical staff believe in murder instead for whatever the reason. Euthanasia that is accepted will make it too easy for medical staff to get away with murder. Instead, all euthanasia should be illegal and not accepted everywhere in the United States and any medical staff who does euthanize should be put in prison for life.

    • KimberlyLake profile image
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      Kimberly Lake 5 years ago from California

      Thank you for the comments. They are appreciated!

    • sharewhatuknow profile image

      sharewhatuknow 5 years ago from Western Washington

      Hi Kimberly, so nice to meet you and thanks for following me.

      I TOTALLY AGREE with euthanasia. No one has the right to state that someone is to continually suffer severe pain, discomfort and utter lack of quality of life right up to the moment of death. Especially if that person is suffering from a terminal illness!

      That is cruelty and deviant, not humanity.

      And even if death is a few months away, according to the prognosis of at least two medical professionals, I still agree that the patient be allowed to end their life then and there, if they so wish.

      This hub was great and I voted up, awesome and useful.

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 6 years ago

      Thanks Kimberly. Good info.

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