Explore our summary of the euthanasia debate
The arguments for euthanasia:
We need it- 'the compassion argument'. Supporters of euthanasia believe that allowing people to ‘die with dignity’ is kinder than forcing them to continue their lives with suffering.
We want it - 'the autonomy argument'. Some believe that every patient has a right to choose when to die.
We can control it - 'the public policy argument'. Proponents believe that euthanasia can be safely regulated by government legislation.
The arguments against euthanasia:
- Alternative treatments are available, such as palliative care and hospices. We do not have to kill the patient to kill the symptoms. Nearly all pain can be relieved.
- There is no ‘right’ to be killed and there are real dangers of ‘slippery slopes’. Opening the doors to voluntary euthanasia could lead to non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia, by giving doctors the power to decide when a patient’s life is not worth living. In the Netherlands in 1990 around 1,000 patients were killed without their request.
- We could never truly control it. Reports from the Netherlands, where euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are legal, reveal that doctors do not always report it.
- The assumption that patients should have a right to die would impose on doctors a duty to kill, thus restricting the autonomy of the doctor. Also, a ‘right to die’ for some people might well become a ‘duty to die’ by others, particularly those who are vulnerable or dependent upon others.
For further information on the arguments for and against euthanasia, download our briefing on the euthanasia debatehere. (PDF)
Arguments For And Against Euthanasia Essay
1960 Words8 Pages
Euthanasia is the practice of ending an individual's life in order to relieve them from an incurable disease or unbearable suffering. The term euthanasia is derived from the Greek word for "good death" and originally referred to as “intentional killing” ( Patelarou, Vardavas, Fioraki, Alegakis, Dafermou, & Ntzilepi, 2009). Euthanasia is a controversial topic which has raised a great deal of debate globally. Although euthanasia has received great exposure in the professional media, there are some sticky points that lack clarity and need to be addressed. Euthanasia is a divisive topic, and different interpretations of its meaning, depend on whether the person supports it or not. While a few societies have accepted euthanasia, there are…show more content…
The patient voluntarily wanted to end his life because he was suffering from Lou Gehrigs’s disease (Siu, 2008). Since then, the controversy over active euthanasia has remained an ethical dilemma for healthcare providers, patients and their family members in America and the rest of the world. The general public’s belief is that, health-care providers have professional obligations to save the lives of their patients regardless of their health status. The majority of the public feels that, healthcare workers’ involvement in the euthanasia practice is a betrayal of the “do no harm” oath. When a healthcare worker is involved in either active or passive euthanasia, it can be viewed as a disregard to this value. However, the proponents for euthanasia claim that a physician turning down a suffering patient’s request to end their life is also a violation to the “do no harm” oath (Siu, 2008). The right to die falls under patient’s autonomy and the basic question is whether individuals should be allowed to end their lives if they choose to do so (Sanders & Chaloner 2007). Those in the healthcare sector grapple with this notion on a daily bases because they have to practice under the codes of ethics guidelines. Nurses and doctors should be cautious in their practice as they balance the patient’s autonomy and their professional ethics and guidelines. Sanders & Chaloner (2007) pointed out that nurses and doctors know that a patient's autonomy