The debates regarding euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide continue to take different shapes or routes. There are professionals and stakeholders who support these practices while others condemn them. The nature of such arguments hold implications for the achievements and procedures medical practitioners require to provide critical care. This paper describes the ethical aspects revolving around the questions of assisted suicide and euthanasia and specific perspectives that support my decision.
Assisted suicide and euthanasia are in accordance with the utilitarian principle and make it possible for medical professionals to allow patients experiencing chronic suffering and pain to die peacefully.
Ethical Issue: Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia
The field of health exists to ensure that more people have access to high-quality, sustainable, affordable, and timely medical services. The desire to provide culturally competent care has compelled practitioners, caregivers, and physicians to present practices that are evidence-based in nature. Unfortunately, some of the current medical procedures have triggered ethical debates that require the application of different moral theories and philosophies, such as euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Sprung defines “euthanasia” as the act of killing patients who might be experiencing intense suffering due to the presence of a terminal condition (199). The practice is usually painless and capable of meeting the changing health needs of the individual who has selected it. Goligher et al. go further to define “physician-assisted suicide” as a voluntary process aimed at ending life and that entails the administration of a dangerous substance (150). This can be done indirectly or directly by a skilled physician.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide are ethical concerns that are controversial in nature. This is true since they address the decisions many people make regarding death and life. Such medical procedures require the informed consent of the targeted patients if they are to remain acceptable. Unfortunately, relatives and family members of the individual make the final thought or choice. This is a clear indication that the rights and freedoms of different patients might eventually be disregarded (Sprung 201). In other cases, some people will apply their religious worldviews to explain why human life ought to be precious (Goligher et al. 153). For example, Christian ethics guides believers to respect life and avoid killing one another.
Similarly, existing and emerging theories explain why human beings have to act in a moral manner whenever resolving the dilemmas they face. Due to such differences in human views, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide have remained divisive topics that continue to trigger diverse policies and laws in different countries (Strinic 4). It is also evident that the future of this debate will take diverse paths.
My Study of Ethics
The materials studied in class have equipped me with powerful concepts and ethical principles that have reshaped my position regarding the questions of assisted suicide and euthanasia. For instance, I have understood that all people have their unique moral guidelines that govern their views, behaviors, and ways of addressing various problems. Such philosophies are informed by different theories that deal with human value and morality (Lapierre et al. 71). These ideas and insights have made it easier for me to develop a personal model for addressing any ethical dilemma that I might encounter in life.
With this kind of knowledge, I am now capable of determining my position regarding euthanasia and assisted suicide. The first applicable theory or perspective is the utilitarian approach. According to Strinic, “utilitarianism” is a moral model that encourages human beings to do what is capable of producing happiness for the greatest number of stakeholders or individuals (6). With this approach, I believe that euthanasia is a good option since different family members will no longer have to worry about their patients’ pains or troubles. Personally, I believe that assisted suicide is a medical process that is capable of reducing pain and ensuring that more people do not have to cater for their patients’ health costs.
Situation ethics is the second perspective that encourages me to support the idea of mercy killing. According to this model, someone who is experiencing suffering will find peace after death. This is appropriate when the targeted patient has a terminal condition, such as cancer and coma (Strinic 6). The theory compels people to pursue actions that will empower their beloved ones and make it easier for them to get rid of chronic pain. My completion of the targeted ethics class has, therefore, guided me to analyze euthanasia and examine how moral principles can make it easier for people to address most of the dilemmas they face. My analysis and understanding of utilitarianism make it easier for me to support euthanasia and get rid of intense suffering. Such a practice will also increase the comfort of individuals whose patients die peacefully through assisted suicide.
The selected ethical dilemma is a leading source of controversy in every part of the world today. The above section has explained how and why my ethical philosophy supports assisted suicide. While that is my personal situation, the concept of critical thinking will always guide me to work through this ethical topic. I will present evidence-based insights and ideas to all people focusing on this moral dilemma. This strategy will always encourage me to focus on facts before formulating the most appropriate conclusion (Lapierre et al. 73). For instance, I will empower individuals who might not be expecting their loved ones to die peacefully to appreciate the attributes of Kantian ethics. This theory requires people to do what is morally acceptable without looking at the current or existing circumstances (Goligher et al. 152). This means that they will have to consider their situations and facts before identifying the most convincing choice.
Through critical thinking, I will go further to ensure that more people acknowledge the idea that euthanasia will always be divisive. However, those who appreciate what some patients have to go through will find new reasons to embrace physician-assisted suicide (Goligher et al. 153). It would also be appropriate for me and my colleagues to engage in policymaking agenda in order to encourage more societies to implement laws that empower people to formulate appropriate verdicts whenever addressing various chronic conditions.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide remain controversial ethical topics despite the fact that they have become evidence-based models for transforming patients’ experiences. The above discussion has explained how my study of ethics has encouraged me to accept these practices. This is the case since they address the problem of intense pain and resonate with the dictates of utilitarianism. All societies should, therefore, consider such notions in an attempt to support the delivery of high-quality care to all patients.
Goligher, Ewan C., et al. “Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in the Intensive Care Unit: A Dialogue on Core Ethical Issues.” Critical Care Medicine, vol. 45, no. 2, 2017, pp. 149-155.
Lapierre, Sylvie, et al. “Religiosity and the Wish of Older Adults for Physician-Assisted Suicide.” Religions, vol. 9, no. 3, 2018, pp. 66-77.
Sprung, Charles L. “Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia: Emerging Issues from a Global Perspective.” Journal of Palliative Care, vol. 33, no. 4, 2018, pp. 197-203.
Strinic, Visnja. “Arguments in Support and Against Euthanasia.” British Journal of Medicine & Medical Research, vol. 9, no. 7, 2015, pp. 1-12.