Everybody has heard of famous court cases regarding euthanasia or news stories talking about people who have used it, but what is it really? Euthanasia is the practice of ending a humans life with that person’s consent, either by withholding life supporting medical care and drugs or by a specific act of killing (Newton, 2009). The patient must be in critical care and have very little chance of recovery In order to use euthanasia. Many court cases have fought for the rights to use It on patients and repeatedly their requests are shut down.
So should the killing of humans be Illegal, r should people be allowed to decide when and how we are going to die? What Is Euthanasia? Euthanasia Is derived from the Greek word euthanasia, which means good death (Deathwatch, 1989). Once It was converted Into English, the word translated out to mean a quiet, gentle, or painless death opposed to the harsh, suffering death that most people would face without It (Deathwatch, 1989). Euthanasia Is often used by medical practitioners; the doctor would allocate the patient a lethal dose of drugs and administer the drugs to them or the doctor injects the patient with lethal injections (Griswold, 2009).
More recently the word has become to be known as the act of allowing or even the act of doing this painless death (Deathwatch, 1989). There are two different forms of euthanasia, active and passive (Deathwatch, 1989). Active euthanasia is the hastening of a persons’ death by injections or a different form of assisted suicide while passive euthanasia is the withholding of treatment or medications that are currently keeping the patient alive (Deathwatch, 1989). For both passive and active euthanasia, informed consent must be present (Newton, 2009).
According to the Newton, informed consent is, “A patient’s expression of knowledge ND acceptance of the risks, benefits, and alternative treatment options of a medical procedure and subsequent permission to a physician to perform the procedure” (Newton, 2009). Besides using euthanasia, there is another form suicide that is commonly used on people who are close to death. Physician assisted suicide is similar to euthanasia in many ways but physician assisted suicide may Involve prescribing lethal medication, offering advice on various suicidal methods, or helping a patient use a killing device to take their life (Griswold, 2009).
Physician assisted suicide defers from euthanasia by the doctor prescribes lethal medication that the patient consumes on their own time Instead of killing the patient personally (Newton, 2009). Assisted suicide, Like euthanasia, puts the patient In control of the time of their death, the place of their death, and how their death will occur (Walter, 2009). Many laws ban the use of both of these forms of suicide, but many advocates for euthanasia are fighting for the right to use It (Supreme Court upholds right to die, 2003).
Much debate Is up about the quality of life versus the length of life, which one Is more Important? (Supreme Court upholds right to die, 2003) Advocates for Euthanasia Supporters for euthanasia have increasing grown over the last century. The Euthanasia Society of America’s membership has grown from 600 people in 1950 to over 150,000 members today (Deathwatch, 1989). Also fifty eight percent of Americans believe that if a person has an incurable disease and passive euthanasia (Deathwatch, 1989).
Even religious leaders are in favor of passive euthanasia, for they believe that individuals should not have to go through extraordinary and painful ways of preserving their life (Deathwatch, 1989). The Bible says that taking another’s life or even your life is against God’s will, but religious leaders believe that God did not want people to have to suffer unbearable pain when there was an easier way out (Deathwatch, 1989). All around the world, the act of taking someone’s life is considered murder, but euthanasia is an exception to the rule for it relieves the person of suffering and pain (Newton, 2009).
One hundred and thirty thousand people die each year in the Netherlands; forty nine thousand of these cases are patients whose doctors had to choose whether or not to continue retirement, increase pain medications, or to even take the life of the patient (Have, Willie. 2004, p. 35). Out of those forty nine thousand cases, only two thousand three hundred used euthanasia to end their life (Have, Willie. 2004, p. 35). Most of these patients were cancer or AIDS patients who had very little chance of recovering (Have, Willie. 004, p. 35). Van deer Wall, a Netherlands scientist, conducted a study of these patients (Have, Willie. 2004, p. 35). He found that, “ninety percent of these patients showed severe physical suffering, seventy one percent were suffering emotionally, ND in sixty three percent of the cases the life expectancy was less than two weeks” (Have, Willie. 2004. P 35). Euthanasia relieves the patient from not only physical suffering, but also from costly bills and emotional damage to their loved ones (Walter, 2009).
Once a terminally ill patient reaches the point of no return, they watch their life savings plummet while their medical cost and coverage skyrocket, often leaving family members in debt (Walter, 2009). Terminally ill patients also take up hospital beds, doctor’s times, and medications that could be used on a patient ho actually have a chance of recovering (Walter, 2009). Friends and family are forced to watch as their loved one’s condition grows worse, knowing that there is nothing they can do to help ease the pain (Walter, 2009).
Euthanasia provides a quick painless death in contrast to the months of suffering the patient otherwise would have endured (Walter, 2009). It also relieves the family members of hours of caring for the patient and saves them thousands of dollars on medical cost (Walter, 2009). Ending a person’s life on their own terms also allows the patient to say goodbye to heir family properly, for unexpected death can happen at any time and the patient might not get to say everything they wanted to (Walter, 2009).
Since euthanasia is illegal all over the world, various acts are trying to be passed to help the suffering ease their pain. The Guardianship Act, which is being proposed by many pro-euthanasia societies, is where a patient can refuse treatments or medications (Brown, 2001, p. 6). This and other right-to-die legislation has come to be known as the right to die peacefully and with dignity for patients who can no longer live a meaningful and fulfilling life (Deathwatch, 1989). Patients who are sane and can think clearly are then able to decide whether or not to continue medical treatment (Deathwatch, 1989).
The problem with this legislation is what do you do when the patient is unresponsive or in a coma like state and can not make decisions on their own (Deathwatch, 1989). With the Guardianship act, patients will write in their will who will make the decision of life or death or they would include what to do in specific sane and suffering, but also patients who are unconscious and suffering (Deathwatch, 1989). Dry Giles Yates, an advocate for euthanasia, proposed that if euthanasia as legalized then people would not have to make up their own methods of killing themselves, such as by hangings, drug overdoses, or by shootings (Brown, 2001 , p. ). In the United Kingdom, Dry. Philip Nietzsche saw this dilemma and came up with a solution to it (Toward, 2009, p. 24). He has recently created death kits, kits that test the strength of drugs and tell the buyer if it is strong enough to be lethal (Toward, 2009, p. 24). He believes his kits help the people by it guarantees that the dose of drugs they consume will be enough to kill them in a safe and peaceful way (Toward, 2009, p. 24). Without these kits, a suicidal person could take an amount that would only harm them and leave them in a worse condition than that of which they started (Toward, 2009, p. 4). These kits are similar to euthanasia and physician assisted suicide by it puts the patient in control of the time of their death and it helps end the lives of suffering patients, but there are many people in the world who believe that the suffering should continue to suffer (Toward, 2009, p. 24). In opposition to Euthanasia Euthanasia is illegal in the United States and almost every country around the world (Griswold, 2009). In 1997 the Supreme Court unanimously voted to outlaw any form of euthanasia, for it is considered a felony and manslaughter (Griswold, 2009).
Critics of euthanasia claim that death is a natural and painless process and that if need be, doctors will stop treatments and offer the patient pain medications to help ease their pain (Griswold, 2009). They believe that physicians today spend too much time trying to figure out ways to speed up death rather than to cure death (Griswold, 2009). Cardinal Clan, a critic who opposes euthanasia said, “The dying need encouragement and care rather than the message hat they are better off dead” (Brown, 2001, p. 6).
Opponents of euthanasia say that legalizing euthanasia would cause multiple destructive consequences (Griswold, 2009). One of those outcomes would be people who can not afford their medical bills would be more likely to use euthanasia so they do not have to burden their families with medical costs after their dead (Griswold, 2009). Even if the patient had a chance of recovering a couple of years down the road, they would feel pressured to end their life so they would not have to pay for years of medical cost (Griswold, 2009).
Another downfall of legalizing euthanasia would be when a patient is told that they only have a month or less to live, but they actually end up living for many years to come (Griswold, 2009). Upon hearing their diagnosis they would use euthanasia and would be killing themselves for no reason (Griswold, 2009). Finally, the last problem with euthanasia is it would be overused by patients whose families do not want to take care of them anymore would want to use euthanasia on their dying loved one (Deathwatch, 1989).
Humans have a basic instinct against killing other humans, which might be the source of the widely shared moral intuition that using euthanasia is wrong (Somerville, 2009). If we witness death too often and it can easily be achieved, then we will not mourn death in the right way and it will begin to lose its sentimental value (Somerville, 2009). Most of the people who oppose euthanasia come from religious or social organizations that believe death should come when it’s supposed to come and not by artificial means (Walter, 2009). Ending a life for the (Walter, 2009).
The last group of people who are opposed to euthanasia are doctors ND physicians who have taken the Hippocratic Oath, stating that they will not harm their patients in any way (Walter, 2009). Using euthanasia on a patient goes against this oath in everyday possible (Walter, 2009). Cases involving All around the world people have been using euthanasia for many centuries. One of the earliest recorded mass uses of euthanasia was during World War Two when Doll Hitler decided to create the master race by eliminating everyone he found unworthy of living (Griswold, 2009).
The main practitioner who performed euthanasia on the helpless Jews was Karl Brandt, a natural born German ho had a strong sense of patriotism for his country (Brandt, 2009). Before the war he was a famous surgeon who mainly operated on head and spinal injuries (Brandt, 2009). Once the war began, he Joined forces with Hitler and together the two made a list of medical conditions that they considered unworthy (Brandt, 2009). Some of these symptoms included mental retardation, malformations, paralysis, or being Jewish (Brandt, 2009).
They used many different forms of euthanasia on their patients; overdose of drugs, injections of poisonous chemicals, starving institutions, ND later gas chambers were used for mass killings (Brandt, 2009). In 1941 the mercy killing operation was put to a halt when Heimlich Hammier forced Brand to stop because he believed it was causing a public upset (Brandt, 2009). More than 200,000 innocent lives had been taken by euthanasia at this point, most of these deaths being done by Brand and his followers (Brandt, 2009). After the war was over, a series of trials called the Murderer Tribunals were held (Brandt, 2009).
Brand, along with twenty three other doctors, were charged with war crimes and crimes against unanimity (Brandt, 2009). He made no apology for his wrongdoings at the trials and declared them Justified practices (Brandt, 2009). His final statement before he was hung on June 2nd, 1948 was, “Death can mean deliverance. Death is life, Just as much as birth. It was never meant to be murder. ” (Brandt, 2009). Since World War 2, many other people have tried to help suffering people ease their pain, both legally and illegally.
One man who decided to perform euthanasia illegally on dying patients was Jack Savoring, a major advocate for the legalization of euthanasia (Savoring, 2009). While he was attending the University of Michigan as a pathologist intern, his views of death quickly set him apart from his other colleagues (Savoring, 2009). After being kicked out of the intern program in 1982, he was unable to find a Job and he spent all of his free time developing a drug to instantly kill suffering patients (Savoring, 2009).
His first assistance to suicide was with Jane Adkins, a fifty four year old English professor who was suffering from Alchemist’s disease (Savoring, 2009). After several consultations with her and her husband, he performed euthanasia on Jane on June 4th, 1990 (Savoring, 2009). Once police officials were alerted of the death, they were unable to prosecute Savoring for assisted suicide because no evidence was left behind (Savoring, 2009). The last time Savoring would ever perform euthanasia was in September of 1998 on Thomas Yuk, a fifty two year old man suffering from Lou Geris disease (Savoring, 2009).
Once the crime had been committed, Jack was prosecuted for first degree murder and was sentenced for ten to twenty five years in Jail for the hundreds of deaths he had taken part in (Savoring, people out there who overuse euthanasia and make it seem like an immoral crime, here are some legal cases where using euthanasia is the best solution. A famous case that made headlines around the nation was the euthanasia legal case of Nancy Curran (Newton, 2009). On January 1 lath, 1983, twenty six year old Nancy Curran was thrown from her car after her car slammed into a tree (Supreme Court upholds right to die, 2003).
After the crash she was deprived of air for almost twenty minutes, leaving her in a coma like state with irreversible brain damage (Supreme Court upholds right to die, 2003). A few years after the accident, her parents requested that err feeding and breathing tubes be removed since there was no chance of recovery and they did not wish to see their daughter live like a vegetable (Supreme Court upholds right to die, 2003). They took their case to the Missouri circuit court; where the court approved their aspiration, but they were then denied by the attorney state general (Supreme Court upholds right to die, 2003).
He believed that there was not enough evidence of Nanny’s dying wishes and a handwritten or vocal document must be present in order for their request to be granted (Supreme Court upholds right to ii, 2003). In July of 1989, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case and also denied their request due to lack of evidence (Supreme Court upholds right to die, 2003). Finally, they brought their case back to the Missouri courts and found witnesses to testify that Nancy did not want to be kept alive by artificial means (Supreme Court upholds right to die, 2003).
The court approved to have the tubes taken out, and on December 26th of 1990, Nancy Curran died of starvation and sever dehydration by the act of passive euthanasia (Supreme Court upholds right to die, 2003). Finally, the last major case involving a legal dispute over euthanasia was the devastating case of Terrier Savior. Terrier Savior, a 39 year old woman from Florida, collapsed on February 25th 1990 and suffered severe loss of oxygen to the brain (Savanna’s, 2003).
Due to the loss of oxygen she slipped into a persistent vegetative state, a medical condition that has no chance of full recovery (Savanna’s, 2003). In June of 1990, her husband Michael Savior became her legal guardian, without her parent’s consent (Savanna’s, 2003). In 1992, two different specialists both testified hat Terrier could expect a normal life span but would require extensive care throughout her life (Savanna’s, 2003). By the year 2000, Michael began to grow weary of taking care of his vegetable like wife and requested that the feeding tubes be removed from her body (Savanna’s, 2003).
Terrier then suffered for more than sixty hours without food and water beginning on April 21st, 2001 (Savanna’s, 2003). During the time that she was deprived of nutrients, Terries parents fought for the rights to have the tubes reinserted and eventually won the right to have another court case (Savanna’s, 2003). Judge Greer, the main Judge in these court cases, listened to both sides of the story and decided it was in Terries best interest to die peacefully rather than suffer for many years to come (Savanna’s, 2003).
He ordered that the tubes to be removed, but more than 180,000 people signed a petition stating that the custody of Terrier should be moved from Michael to her family (Savanna’s, 2003). Terries family and the 180,000 people lost the battle and on March 18th, 2005, Terries feedings tubes were removed for the second and final time (Savanna’s, 2003). She finally died on March 31st after suffering fourteen days without food or water our year old woman (Savanna’s, 2003). So in conclusion, euthanasia is the life supporting medical care and drugs, or by a specific act of killing (Newton, 2009).
It is outlawed in the United States and many countries around the world but many advocates are trying to win the rights to use it on patients who have no chance of recovery (Supreme Court upholds right to die, 2003). Cases using euthanasia have been around since before World War Two and will probably continue to be around for many years to come. In some cases, such as Nancy Caravan’s and Terrier Caviar’s, seceding whether or not to use euthanasia is arduous decision and can tear families apart.