In Belgium, most cases of euthanasia includes a patient who has extreme physical or psychological pain or is terminally ill. Marc and Eddy Verbessem, now deceased belgian twin brothers, had an incurable illness and went blind, and yet had no pain or difficulty. Due to their fear of losing means of communication, they decided to be euthanized, but were declined once until they were granted their wish at their second choice of hospital, in spite of the law.
Due to this and many similar cases, euthanasia has become a controversial topic debated about around the world. Euthanasia, also known as “mercy killing”, is a dangerous course to take and is the circumstance where an attending physician administers a dose of a fatal drug to a patient, usually by the patient’s request. Others believe that it is the patient’s right to choose what happens to them and is their right to die. Though controversial, euthanasia must be banned due to its violation of the Hippocratic Oath and its overall illegality in the majority of countries around the globe.
First of all, due to the possibility of euthanasia leading to a negative effect on the families of the patients and the overall society, it continues to remain illegal in most countries around the world. Euthanasia tolerant countries include Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. It is only these four that allow the practice, According to Christian Nordqvist, journalist for Medical News Today, one of the largest independent medical and health news sites, “the U.
S. Supreme Court unanimously voted against any constitutional right to euthanasia or PAS , physician assisted suicide” (Christian Nordqvist). Under common homicide laws, euthanasia is prohibited in the majority of states and is deemed to be a felony or manslaughter. If euthanasia was ruled against by the U.S.
Supreme Court, then that should be enough reason for it to stay unlawful. If it is reason enough to stay unlawful, then the national, and hopefully global, public will most probably agree. If the public agrees, then there is less chance of it occuring. If there is less chance of it occurring, then the world would be a better place, both ethically and lawfully. Under all jurisdictions, reporting and recording the occurence of euthanasia is required, but things prove otherwise.
As stated by José Pereira, Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery in the Division of Palliative Care from the University of Ottowa, “nearly half of all cases of euthanasia are not reported…and legal requirements were more frequently not met in unreported cases than those that were” (José Pereira). Is it mandatory that euthanasia be reported? Yes. It is mandatory that cases of euthanasia be reported, but clearly this is not the case. If cases of euthanasia are not communicated, then there is always the possibility of dangerous actions taking place. Fake pain from a patient is a possibility. Poor diagnosis is a possibility. A doctor with intentions that are not beneficial to the patient is a possibility.
A doctor who doesn’t know what they are doing is a possibility. Whatever the possibility may be, euthanasia should continue to not be allowed for it is illegal and for the sake of the safety of the patients, the doctors, and of the general population of the world.In addition, euthanasia should not be allowed in the sense that it could lead medical professionals to violate the Hippocratic Oath, which could place them in a difficult position. The Hippocratic Oath was created by Hippocrates, a Greek physician, and is taken by medical students when becoming physicians. Stated in the Hippocratic Oath, the code used by medical students to pledge their duty as physicians, medical students make a promise to “neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will they make a suggestion to this effect” (“Evolution of Medical Ethics”).
Duty, dignity, knowledge: the three are all part of (a) medical professionals’ job. Violating this code, the physician(s) begins to let go of these and allow(s) themselves to give a deadly drug to the one who asked and also allows euthanasia to be an option for the patient. Most medical professionals are against this, and are usually put in a difficult position when the case comes around. Most medical professionals are against this, and their morals and the sympathy for the patient is challenged. The Hippocratic Oath not only designates the importance of not giving a fatal drug, but also the importance of human dignity and sympathy. As expressed through MedicineNet, a site created by WebMD whose staff blends award-winning expertise in medicine, journalism, health communication and content creation, the Hippocratic Oath states that medical professionals should ” come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice” (“Medical Definition of Hippocratic Oath”).
Euthanasia gives reason to believe that it is not beneficial because of the ways it is given. Isn’t euthanasia voluntary? Yes, but many cases are also either non-voluntary or involuntary. If doctors are supposed to come for the benefit of sick, but end up having to euthanize them, then the doctor really just came to kill them. Giving euthanasia can be viewed as unjust because of this. Being placed in the position of the doctor, one can understand that the option of euthanasia is conflicting, especially if they have strong morals. Having strong morals is another thing.
Euthanasia can very be a rival to one’s morals. Why would a human want to help another human kill themselves? They wouldn’t. Suicide plays a big factor. No one would want to see a loved one die because someone else decided to help them do it. No one would enjoy assisting someone in their death. Because euthanasia violates the Hippocratic oath and and very much challenge one’s morals, it should continue to be banned for its difficult nature. However, others claim that euthanasia is an acceptable practice since people have the right to choose their destiny and is their right to die. Euthanasia is said to be voluntary, meaning it is done with the patient’s consent.
According to Marcia Angell, MD from the Boston University School of Medicine, and Senior Lecturer at the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, “terminally ill patients whose suffering cannot be relieved in any other way” should be given the personal choice of being euthanized (Marica Angell). If the patient’s suffering can no longer be alleviated, then it can be understood why the choice remains theirs. Voluntarily, the individual allows the physician to euthanize them. It is their own personal pain and with the wish of stopping it, euthanasia may be their only choice. Though the opposition may believe that it is the individual’s choice with what happens to them, there is always the possibility that the patient is not in their correct mental state, sometimes leading to the choice being made for them. Discovered by Doctor Lieve Thienpont, PhD, of University Hospital in Brussels, Belgium, in a study he conducted, “Ninety of the one-hundred patients studied, who had requested euthanasia had more than one mental disorder” (Lieve Thienpont et al.).
It may be their decision, but are they capable enough to make that decision in the first place? No. That won’t always be the case. It may be their choice, but they might be unable to decide for themselves and may end up having the decision made for them. Does this make it voluntary? No. It may in fact be the individual’s choice, but that’s only in the voluntary case. If non-voluntarily and involuntarily chosen, euthanasia can be done without the consent of the patient, due to incompetence and/or their wishes not being known, or against the wishes of the patient, which makes the issue so controversial.
Accordingly, the decision of being euthanized may belong to the patient, but can end up in the hands of another. In the end, euthanasia is risky and must not be allowed considering it contravenes the laws made to prevent it, contravenes the moral code of medicine, and contravenes the morals of the human administering it. Euthanasia is illegal in all but four countries around the world, proving the practice is unlawful and unacceptable by the leaders of our world. Additionally, there is the possibility that if performed, medical professionals could be lead to violate the medical moral code, also known as the Hippocratic Oath. Again, it is precarious since the resolution of being euthanized may not always end up being made by the patient themselves. By prohibiting euthanasia, people will have no need to go against their morals and the actual law itself, making the world a better and fairer and safer place. Ultimately, euthanasia will not prompt society to believe such a dangerous course is to be tolerated, and its felonious nature in itself should be prevented from having a negative effect on society, but the prevention itself shall prove to show a positive one.