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Ethics
Health
Philosophy
Ethical aspects of euthanasia (Greek for "good death"), a physician-assisted suicide of a patient with a goal of ending the suffering from a terminal or incurable illness, were debated since the times of Hippocrates. Since then, although modern medicine made a great deal of progress, euthanasia and its validity as a medical practice still leads to controversies. Should a patient in great suffering be able to end his life with the help of a doctor?

Positions

Arguments supporting this position

Details

Context

The practice of euthanasia is often linked or put in opposition to the palliative care since both concern themselves with a well-being of terminally ill patients. There is no consensus in the hospice community towards the legalization of euthanasia.

The Argument

Euthanasia as an act is final and cannot be undone. If the main reason for the legalization of euthanasia is alleviating the pain of a terminally ill patient, then logically follows, that an administration of opiates or other pharmacological measures aimed at minimizing suffering suffice in reaching that goal. If that's the case, then there’s no justification for actively ending a patient’s life. Administration of anesthetics is always preferable than euthanasia since it doesn't create ethical dilemmas, it keeps the possibility of a recovery, no matter how improbable, open and doesn't put a responsibility of deciding in matters of life and death on physicians. Furthermore, a legal euthanasia - as a quick and cheap resolution to the issue of dying patients - might also put the scientifical progress in a field of palliative care in jeopardy.

Counter arguments

There are diseases and conditions for which an alternative of a palliative care is difficult or simply non-existent. For example, palliative care cannot stop some patients from experiencing constant vomiting, breathlessness or paralyzation. Palliative care also do not resolve an issue of the dependency on others, which is very important for some patients interested in the legalization of euthanasia.

Premises

The goal of the euthanasia is alleviating the pain of a terminally ill patient. Palliative care can reach that goal without irrevocable ending of a patient's life. Therefore, the palliative care is always preferable than the euthanasia.

Rejecting the premises

Not all patients can be relieved from pain by palliative care, which defeats the purpose of the argument.

References

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This page was last edited on Sunday, 26 Aug 2018 at 21:02 UTC