Those who are unable to afford pain killing medication who has to live in constant excruciating pain is one reason for those who request euthanasia. For others, they have a terminal illness to which sums up to a large medical bill of which their family members would have to pay when they die; so in order to save money, they would rather die sooner. Fearing the slow step-by-step loss of the quality of life in the future as a disease advances to its later stages, those with a degenerative, progressive illness like Huntington’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, AIDS, Alzheimer’s etc. are also a group that request euthanasia (www.sciam.com).
But the main reason patients give for requesting euthanasia is unbearable suffering, both physical and psychological. Some of the physical suffering are symptoms such as constant vomiting, and painful puss filled sores throughout the body. Very ill patients, mainly those who are bed-ridden may feel the psychological pain that they are a burden to their family financially and emotionally.
While some may suggest that those who request active euthanasia are just clinically depressed; that is in fact very true. The patients are depressed for they know what lies ahead, and that they would rather not continue with it and just get it over with, for death is inevitable. Death or near death suffering for some patients, despite the advances in technology and medicine, are too painful and horrifying to look at. They range from toes turning black and falling off, to the cancer that eats through a person’s face.
There are many ways to which euthanasia can be performed. They range from lethal injection, gas, the removal of life support equipment, the withholding of food and fluids, and the removal of necessary medicines. It is legal to turn off a patient’s life support when the higher centers of the brain stop working. Patients are allowed to choose passive euthanasia, but cannot choose active euthanasia.
Passive euthanasia is when nothing is done to prevent death. One main form of passive euthanasia is the process of withholding foods and fluids. Many see this as cruelty due to its effects on the patient. It causes nausea, vomiting, heart problems, depression, dry skin, and shortness in breath (Weir 11). As one can see passive euthanasia would further cause the patient to suffer than active euthanasia. This is why active euthanasia should be allowed.
It is an also an individual right whether he or she should ask the doctor in helping them relieve their suffering; no Law or person should deny him/her of it. Because it is his or her own life, the patient should have full control over its length and quality. Living wills that allow for passive euthanasia are essential. They allow the patient to choose beforehand the right not to be put on life support when it is needed, which avoids unnecessary prolonging of life (Weir 63). While passive euthanasia can be guide-lined in living wills, active euthanasia cannot. Ones universal rights include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (Ogden 84).
The pursuit of happiness could also be perceived as the pursuit of quality of life. A final consideration is the financial and emotional benefits of euthanasia. If the patient is on life support not only does it cause unnecessary expense, it also causes an emotional burden on the family. The family does not want to see their own relative in pain and suffering for a long period of time. The majority of patients on life-support are not removed until the decision is made to remove it, so cost rises tremendously, but the outcome is the same: death.
Those who are against euthanasia argue that an alternative for euthanasia is hospice care. Caregivers in hospices provide pain control and emotional support to terminally ill patients (Miley 59). But the problem is, while the patient may feel somewhat psychologically better, in the end they still suffer the painful and rather unbearable physical torment of their illness. There are many countries in the world that has Laws pertaining to euthanasia. For those countries that allow euthanasia almost all have strict guidelines of which doctors will need to follow if they are to perform it. In Australia Their Northern Territory passed a law on 1995-MAY-25 which was assented to on 1995-JUN-16. It permitted active euthanasia, under careful controls, when certain prerequisites are met (Weir 115).