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A Personal Look at Euthanasia

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A Personal Look at Euthanasia

Recent debates over active euthanasia, "killing" a terminally ill patient, in Holland, has raised the question whether euthanasia is immoral or a simple human right. Doctors seem to have no doubt. They made an oath. The definition of Euthanasia depends on whether it is active or passive. Active Euthanasia is only allowed in Holland, and

it means that the doctor takes direct measures to put a patient to sleep, where as passive Euthanasia only involves stopping pill consumption, or stopping treatment. In England, only passive Euthanasia is allowed.

It is not a new issue; euthanasia has been discussed-and practiced-in both Eastern and Western cultures from the earliest historical times to the present. But because of medicine's new technological capacities to extend life, the problem is much more.

Euthanasia is a way of granting mercy-both by direct killing and by letting the person die. This principle of mercy establishes two component duties:

1. The duty not to cause further pain or suffering.

2. The duty to act to end pain or suffering already occurring.

Euthanasia touches some of the deepest feelings in human beings. It is the power over life and death, and responsibilities no one wishes to take, have to be taken. This, of cause, leads to the ultimatum, that it is the patients own choice. But can we allow some

one to take their own lives? Doesn't this mean that everyone else around the patient has failed, that more could have been done? From the patient's point of view, a lot of arguments talk in favor of euthanasia. For one, no body wants to be a burden. If a person has had a car accident which paralyses him from neck and down, and is doomed

to sit in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, he knows that he will be 100% dependent

on the ones that care for him, his lived ones, forever. It can also be mentioned that the life quality of a terminally ill patient, gets reduced a lot. Never being able to walk

again, never being able to talk to your children again, never being able to go shopping, swimming, playing, driving etc. must be terrible for anyone. The whole situation only gets worse, if the patient himself, can see that his condition is worsening, and only time keeps his thoughts clear. A third very important point is pain. If people see a deer, which had been hit by a car, and is in terrible pain, they will kill it, out of pity. Why the same shouldn't be allowed with humans, if pain reaches a level, where it is unbearable? For these people, who do not have the choice of active euthanasia, self-starvation is the only choice.

Under the first of these, for a physician or other caregiver to extend mercy to a suffering patient may mean to refrain from procedures that cause further

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