Advancements in philosophy and ethics and growth in the understanding of pain in the medical context form the theoretical basis for discussions of euthanasia in today’s society. Euthanasia (also known as mercy killing) is one of the options its proponents would like terminally ill patients to have. This paper considers the ethical issues surrounding euthanasia.Euthanasia in Today’s Society Research Paper
Euthanasia is the deliberate termination of life with the intention of relieving a patient from pain and suffering (Youngner and Kimsma 2). Proponents of euthanasia believe that it is unethical to keep a patient alive if the patient is constantly in pain, and has no reasonable prospect of recovery.
Such a condition may arise from an accident or a terminal illness such as cancer. Under these circumstances, the proponents advocate for mercy killing to relieve the patient from pain. After all, the medical profession exists mainly to alleviate the pain and suffering of the human body.Euthanasia in Today’s Society Research Paper
The ethical issues surrounding euthanasia vary based on the specific circumstances of each case (Rogers and Braunack-Mayer 42). If a patient is conscious and is capable of making his own decisions, euthanasia becomes a personal choice (voluntary euthanasia). On the other hand, if a patient is in a vegetative state or is incapable of rational decision-making, the ethical dilemmas of euthanasia become more complex.
The most important ethical dilemma related to euthanasia that medical practitioners face is the question of the right to life. The right to life is a universally accepted principle guarded by law in almost all countries. People who can ethically take away life are law enforcement officers in circumstances where there is a threat to the lives of others, or where a court sentences someone to death. Most countries do not even allow individuals to take away their own life.Euthanasia in Today’s Society Research Paper