Moral Dilemma Study - Euthanasia

Stephanie Rodrigues & Apurva Bachal

What is Euthanasia?

  • MediLexicon defines Euthanasia as "A quiet, painless death" or "The intentional putting to death of a person with an incurable or painful disease intended as an act of mercy. "
  • An example is giving a person who is suffering from a terminal illness, an overdose of their medication to save them from pain.
  • Euthanasia was a prevalent practice from the start of medicine.

Types of Euthanasia

There are multiple types of Euthanasia; Here are some:
  1. Active Euthanasia: Where a doctor purposefully administers more medication than needed to preserve life
  2. Passive Euthanasia: Where a doctor does not administer the proper medications to preserve life
  3. Involuntary Euthanasia: Where the person with the illness does not give the consent, but is killed; can be considered murder in some cases
  4. Voluntary Euthanasia: Where the person with the illness gives the consent
  5. Non-voluntary Euthanasia: Where the person with the illness are unable to give the consent (ex. coma) and some one else makes the choice for them.

Religious Standpoint

Since life is such a sacred thing in almost all religions, euthanasia is considered a dishonorable act.
  • Christians believe that all life is sacred and is given by God. No one posses the power or the right to take another life
  • Buddhists are against Euthanasia, especially voluntary. Since they believe in Karma, a premature death alters their chance of their next life being better than the current
  • Much like Christians, Sikhs believe that life is sacred and given from God. They believe that Euthanasia changes God's ultimate plan
  • According to Judaism, it is against tradition to shorten a life in any way. They believe that it is unlawful to kill yourself or anyone else to escape pain

Societal Standpoint

Euthanasia has been tremendously frowned upon because it is viewed as playing God. Many people believe that it shows no respect for life. As many hospitals are seen as a society with in a society, physicians who believe in Euthanasia lose the trust they once had with their patients. Euthanasia takes medicine past where it is intended to go.

Should scientists be free to pursue their investigations regardless of potential risks?

In the case of Euthanasia, the situation for each person varies greatly. I personally think that depending on the condition of the patient, a doctor has the right to fulfill the needs of his or her patient. Although the Hippocratic oath states “the prohibition against killing patients”, it is a document that can be changed. I believe the duty of a doctor is to provide the best care possible and make sure their patients feel the least amount of pain. The term “do not harm” stated in the Hippocratic oath is a very broad term and can be interpreted in various ways. As technology is progressing, the average lifespan has been extended greatly. However, not everyone desires the need to stay alive as long as possible because of the pain and suffering that could come with it.

Should they publicize every discovery they make?

I believe that the publication of discoveries and/or decisions should be up to the caregiver and patient. For euthanasia, I believe it is the patients right to tell or not to tell his friends and family about the life ending procedure. The doctor, who is the patients advocate, should also respect the decisions of the patient and comply with them even after they have passed. Basically, whoever is involved in the process of such procedures should be the ones to decide whether it shall be public or not. I don’t think the government or society has the right to tell someone they have to suffer and continue to live on if they choose not to. However, a situation where euthanasia is an option must be when the patient is in an extremely bad state.
Euthanasia Video


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