Ethical Issues Surrounding Euthanasia

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I. INTRODUCTION: Euthanasia is a social issue in today’s world because not only does it affect the lives of those who are terminally ill and/or comatose, and the physicians who have been entrusted with their care, but it also affects the patient’s ability to have control over their own life, whether they are aware of this decision or not, which is one of the reasons why euthanasia has become such a controversial issue around the globe. Caddell and Newton (1995) define euthanasia as “any treatment initiated by a physician with the intent of hastening the death of another human being who is terminally ill and in severe pain or distress with the motive of relieving that person from great suffering” (p. 1,672). Even though the concept of great…show more content…
1,672). A huge theme that society has seen in regards to euthanasia is the physician’s role. Physicians have been seen as murderers for assisting the death of their patients and they have been referred to as mercy-killers. However, many people tend to disregard the fact that even the physician, who is usually the one being blamed, can actually be the victim as well. According to the American Medical Association’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, it was stated that “although life-prolonging medical treatment may be withheld, the physician should not intentionally cause death” (as cited in Dickinson, Clark, Winslow & Marples, 2005, p. 44). In a study mentioned by Dickinson et al. (2005) it was found that when physicians were asked about whether or not active voluntary euthanasia (AVE) should be legalized, the percentage of those who were in favor of was between 35% and 71% (p.…show more content…
Karlsson, Milberg and Strang (2011) suggest that some individuals “perceived that the legalization of euthanasia would bring about a situation where society has the legal right to take patients’ lives in certain situations, and that individuals would lose the protection of and power over their own lives” (pp. 37-38). In a sociological perspective, this can relate to the conflict theory because regarding euthanasia, there is a strong sense of coercion and power when it comes to handling the lives of individuals who are terminally ill, or incapacitated individuals who don 't have the capability to make their own decisions. In addition to this, “those who feel like they are not in control of their over their own lives…are more likely to fear the potential abuse of euthanasia” (Verbakel & Jaspers, 2010, p. 113). When the concept of losing one’s own power becomes a prominent reality for these individuals, it can not only result in a larger conflict, but it could also further ignite the euthanasia
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