The debate about euthanasia is a very emotive subject and this article explores whether its ever right.
The debate; is it right?
There has been a lot of debate on the subject of euthanasia and assisted suicide and whether it is right or wrong. It is a very emotive topic and one which produces a lot of passion and feeling about the ethics and morals of such an issue. Lets first look at whether it’s right.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide are two slightly different ways of releasing someone from life. Euthanasia is when a person is put out of their misery, for whatever reason, by someone else, whether in the form of pills or a plastic bag or pillow or some other means. Assisted suicide is when the person is given the means to end their life themselves.
We all know that murder is wrong but is euthanasia in the same league? If a person is suffering terribly through illness or old age and if they are in a stable frame of mind, should they not be given the choice of whether they live or die?
As someone who has seen at first hand the suffering an old person can go through, I can completely understand why someone would wish to end their life. Let’s look at a couple of cases involving elderly people where euthanasia might be an option. These are real people so therefore I have not used their real names.
Doris is an eighty five year old widow who used to be a physiotherapist and a keen dancer. Now, she is in a care home and suffers badly from arthritis. She uses a frame to get around but finds it incredibly painful and difficult. She also has bad asthma and needs oxygen occasionally when she suffers a bad attack. When she has a bad attack, she gets very scared because her breathing is so laboured. When in her room one day, she mentioned to me that she prays she doesn’t see another Christmas because she is in so much pain and her quality of life is low. She knows what she wants and what she wants is to be allowed to die with dignity. Should she be given that right?
Mavis is eighty nine and a widow. She is also in a care home. She used to be a brilliant gardener who has won awards for her displays and on her dresser in her room are photos of a well dressed woman smiling as she accepts her award. Now she is barely recognisable as the woman in the photos. She suffers from dementia and weighs less then seven stone. She rarely speaks and never smiles and spends her days wandering from her bed to the lounge and back again. When she does speak, she talks of herself in the third sense, i.e.; ‘Mavis wants a biscuit’, or ‘Mavis wants to go to bed’. She has no quality of life. Should she be given the right to die? This is a different case because Mavis has dementia and therefore is not in her right mind but she is not living. She is waiting to die.