Euthanasia: The Legal and Ethical Perspectives

Nursing: Basic Care and Comfort
August 29, 2022
August 29, 2022

Euthanasia: The Legal and Ethical Perspectives

Many people feel that they have no control about when or how they are born, but they do have control over how they die. Individuals who have been diagnosed with diseases or chronic conditions may wish to end their lives early by suicide based on the fear of experiencing excruciating pain and misery. Suffering is a patient-defined definition that encompasses both physical and psychological distress suffered by terminally ill patients (Ay & Öz, 2019).

As a result of their pain, many people would prefer to die rather than go through a long-lasting disease and lengthy treatments (Sumachev, 2020). Euthanasia, also known as physician-assisted suicide or mercy killing, is a highly contentious legal and ethical topic. The aim of this essay is to explore the legal and ethical perspectives on euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide. The essay will also discuss the perspectives of ethical egoists and social contract ethicists and to determine if there is any professional code of ethics concerned that contradicts professional and familial responsibilities.

Legal and Ethical Benefits and Drawbacks

Euthanasia is a highly contentious issue, with several reasons both for and against it. Many people feel that they have the absolute right to end their emotional and physical misery and to choose when and how they will die, regardless of whether their choice is decent or unethical. Euthanasia is classified as voluntary, where both the practitioner and the patient wish to end the person’s health. Non-voluntary is where the patient is unable to consent, and involuntary is when a third party initiates the patient’s death without the patient’s permission (Pesut et al., 2020).

Furthermore, euthanasia is on the one hand classified as active, where killing entails administering a fatal dosage of a drug to the patient, causing them to die painfully. On the other hand, is inactive or passive killing, which entails purposefully allowing the patient to die by withholding or withdrawing the ventilator (Thiele & Dunsford, 2019). People who support euthanasia claim that it should be legalized all over the world, and everyone has the right to choose.

Therefore, it would be ethically and psychologically unethical to subject terminally sick patients to needless pain and suffering before they died naturally. Euthanasia should be a natural expansion of the patient’s rights, helping them to determine the importance of life and death by themselves (Sumachev, 2020). Maintaining life support devices against the patient’s wishes is illegal and immoral in both law and medical philosophy (Pesut et al., 2020). Many people support passive forced euthanasia for terminally ill patients who are unable to make their own decisions. Opponents may regard this as homicide when it is carried out without the patient’s consent. Relatives who prefer passive involuntary euthanasia will believe it is morally correct to make choices about terminally ill patients and let them go because they are going to die regardless.

Suicide or killing, according to the opposition, is both morally and ethically unprincipled. According to some scholars, there is a philosophical difference between deliberately ending a patient’s life and removing medication that ends a patient’s life (Wallace, 2019). Adversaries argue that deliberately killing amounts to mass murder, in which family members either manipulate the patient’s decision or deliberately killing them for personal benefits, such as money. They also assume that it is unethical for physicians to assist their patients in dying; rather, their task should be to provide the high quality of service possible, such as pain management, in order to extend the client’s life. Furthermore, some antagonists may be opposed to legalizing euthanasia based on religious grounds.

Moral Uniformity

There is a philosophical distinction between passive and active-assisted death when one explores the function of causation and the concept of allowing somebody to pass on or die and also killing. The dissimilarity concerning initiating the dying and “walking” with nature does not provide a reliable measurement for determining the problem’s tolerability. If this were not the case, multiple attempts to alleviate discomfort by symptom and pain control would be considered unethical, as would interfering with the natural phase of dying. Refusing care as a means of hastening death is argued to be unfit for civilized and human culture, resulting in undignified and immoral death. Rather, assisted dying should be requested for a much more peaceful death.