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Euthanasia refers to the practice of termination an individual’s life either through lethal injection or by suspending medical treatment. The major moral issue regarding euthanasia is within two separate questions: whether a person has the right to choose when to die and if such a person has the right to seek assistance from a practicing medical practitioner while committing suicide. Euthanasia supports the principle of autonomy, non-maleficence and beneficence principles and additionally changes what the society perceives as socially acceptable.
Several issues like informed choice, beneficence versus maleficence and right to die has a direct link or indirectly with euthanasia since, they have great influence to both the patient and the medical practitioner. Although the ethical matters that are on lime light to euthanasia seem to be encouraging the most essential thing in any discussion, the appreciation and the honor it is given in several communities all over the globe (Cohen & Heath, 2005).
Euthanasia supports the principle of autonomy. This is because exercising euthanasia implies that the patient chooses to die. Fundamentally, this is a right that a person enjoys; the person grants another individual permission to transgress. First, the patient is intrinsically susceptible owing to the patient’s position in the medical hierarchy ((Borry, Schotsmans & Dierick, 2006)). The patient depends on the health care practitioner for the assessment of competence following the prognosis and even for the prognosis itself. Still, as much autonomy is important, it is not the only interest of the patient. Other patient’s interests are life and health, as well as, the provision of a rational typical healthcare to sustain life and health. Particularly, these interests are vital if, the patient becomes incapacitated; a state where the patient cannot exercise autonomy. Irrespective of any decline in autonomy, an incapacitated patient still has inherent dignity and a right to live just by virtue of being a human (Raymond, 2009).
Autonomy supersedes all other considerations. Even if, the patient wants to die, he/she should exercise the right to independence in an accountable and ethically way. The duty of respecting the right to life goes beyond respecting one’s life. It is not ethical to deny oneself of life (Cohen & Heath, 2005).
The principle of non-maleficence obligates the medics to “do no harm” because their main duty is to offer helpful treatment to patients. Euthanasia causes harm to the patient since, live ends and causing death can never amount to a benefit. As much as euthanasia can help in alleviating suffering, the benefits of this practice prevail over the potential harm which is death (Borry, Schotsmans & Dierick, 2006).
Accordingly, euthanasia is an act of beneficence. The medics have an obligation to “do good”. The patient’s health should be bettered by the physician’s treatment and hence, the physician should focus on improving the patient’s health by facilitating the patient’s death. The physician does no good to the patient. Moreover, despite the level of palliative care measures, some suffering is much unbearable to some people than others, more so the people in socially susceptible position (Raymond, 2009).
In conclusion, the physician should only and always seek to restore the patient’s health, preserve life, prevent impairment and alleviate suffering. However, since the number of people in the globe is growing the population facing the incurable illness is high the matter of euthanasia has become very crucial.