Ethical Essay: The Role Of Euthanasia In Medicine

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The word “euthanize” means to bring about a person’s death to relieve them from serious distress. The topic of euthanasia in medicine has evolved since intensive care was first instituted. Before the 1950’s, a simple model was used to determine when someone was dead: the individual was dead when his or her heart stopped beating. In the modern light, the answer to this question isn’t as clear. With advancements in organ transplantation and other medical technologies, the stopping of a beating heart is no longer a definite death sentence. This prolonging of life brings about many ethical dilemmas in the field of medicine. One of the issues is patient autonomy. The practice of euthanasia has been established to put the choice back into the hands of the patient. To better understand euthanasia, there are five different types.…show more content…
Active euthanasia is killing a patient who requests to die. For example, a patient with a terminal illness may wish to end their battle. To fulfill these wishes the physician may administer a lethal injection. Except in special circumstances, it is illegal to deliberately cause the death of another person. I contend that life is a gift from God and he has the ultimate power to decide when to take this privilege away. Patient autonomy argues that a person’s life is their own, allowing a patient to make decisions on whether to live or die. This is seen most strongly in cases where people are suffering severe pain or disability. However, to what extend is individual autonomy to be undermined? In our current model, the guidelines for determining the competency of a patient present too many holes. Therefore, allowing life and death decisions to rest on individual autonomy rejects our society’s basic attitude or respect for
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