Ethical Dilemma about Euthanasia: Analysis of Articles
Euthanasia is a means of terminating the life of a critically ill patient to relieve him/her from continued pain and suffering (Naga & Mrayyan, 2013). Medics, patients or relatives may make requests for euthanasia by raising their concerns. Physically assisted death can either be active or passive. This article gives recent information concerning mercy killing. It uses biased language by addressing a leader as “chairman” instead of the chairperson (Naga & Mrayyan, 2013). The topic of euthanasia has raised lots of concerns in modern society. Despite the technological advancement in health care and legal aspects about humanity, physically assisted death still raises controversy and ambiguity.
Scientific progress is increasing deaths in healthcare facilities instead of preserving life. The strongest point about this article is “Euthanasia is the active killing” (Naga & Mrayyan, 2013). The report presents that most societies and religions are against assisted suicide. People consider euthanasia as murder and an act that violates an individual’s right. Naga and Mrayyan (2013) argue that an individual’s dignity is not subject to his/her health status. Legalizing the practice will adversely affect the ethics of the medical profession because some practitioners may use it as an escape even for simple troubles. The researchers strongly propose exploiting technological, scientific, and medical advancements to develop new techniques to “prevent or relieve the disease or its symptoms” (Naga & Mrayyan, 2013). The weakness of this paper is arguing that euthanasia would help “freeing up medical resources” (Naga & Mrayyan, 2013).
According to Nunes and Rego (2016), euthanasia has become a controversial social debate. The authors provide recent claims concerning mercy killing. They use biased language describing individuals with disabilities as “physically disabled” (Nunes & Rego, 2016). Death occurs mostly in a hospital setting when because patients are prone to abandonment and loneliness. Legalizing voluntary euthanasia focus on allowing people to die with dignity. A utilitarian may claim that “mercy killing may be morally right” because it brings the greatest joy to the patient and the community (Nunes & Rego, 2016). The rapid changes in modern society will force the legalization of this practice. The authors suggest that a person may be subjected to euthanasia only if palliative care does not give positive outcomes. In such cases, hastening euthanasia will help to manage aggressive pain, prolonged unconscious states, and relieve the family from excessive financial and psychological burdens.
Nunes and Rego (2016) argue that physically-assisted death is an available alternative at end-of-life care. Legalizing euthanasia will lead to significant improvements in palliative care services. The medical ethics should promote valid values about dying and death. Those practicing euthanasia should adhere to the code of medical ethics and values in different cultural settings. Meanwhile, it is advisable to consider aspects such as honoring personal autonomy, protection of susceptible persons, and medical integrity (Nunes & Rego, 2016).
Goligher et al. (2017) strongly support euthanasia. Although human life is valuable, people should not prolong it in cases of critical ailments and intolerable suffering and pain. This article is recent and contains current information. Death is not a pleasant thing, but it relieves the patient from such sufferings and relatives from psychological torture and financial burdens. Assisted dying results in the greatest happiness because it outweighs the tribulations faced when a patient is alive. For instance, victims in ICU sections undergo severe psychological and physical pain. “Death may seem a kind of relief” (Goligher et al., 2017). However, euthanasia should apply when its benefits exceed the harms. The scholarly article does not contain biased language.
The article is weakest at the point where the researchers argue that “intentionally causing death is morally unacceptable” (Goligher et al., 2017). In contrast, medics should only consider euthanasia only if available technologies cannot heal or relieve the patient from prolonged sufferings. It is unethical and unlawful to terminate a person’s life deliberately. At some instances, permitting death will lead to the loss of human dignity. Allowing deliberate killing will make society lose confidence and trust in medical professions and facilities. The physicians and patients or relatives should first negotiate based on beneficence and make the right decisions but not opting to do things intentionally.
Banovic, Turanjanin, and Miloradovic (2017) report that many countries accept passive euthanasia but criminalize active-assisted death. They also state that there does not exist a distinction between the two forms on the grounds of ethics and morality. The authors conducted a study on ethical concerns about passive and active euthanasia. The sample size was 88 physicians in Serbia. The results revealed that physicians had divided positions about the matter. Most physicians were against euthanasia and opted for other solutions for the illnesses. They gave negative views on assisted suicide and procedures to execute it. The strongest point is that “human life is sacred” and death should only occur by natural causes such as incurable ailments (Banovic, Turanjanin, and Miloradovic, 2017).
Most respondents preferred passive euthanasia to active killing because physicians do not act as the primary cause of death. In passive assisted suicide, nurses act as accomplices to give necessary support to patients. Physicians face dilemmas in whether to abandon the patient and be responsible for their death or try all possible means to save a life. The weakest point about this article is generalizing and making assumptions on the outcomes. Banovic, Turanjanin, and Miloradovic (2017) “assumed that a greater percentage of respondents would consider PAS more acceptable than ADE.” The study involved physicians in Serbia, but the author generalizes the outcomes to fit most nations.
Terkamo-Moisio et al., (2017) studied feelings of nursing staffs towards mercy killing and characteristics these attitudes and how they relate with professional ethics. The journal provides current information. It uses unbiased language to differentiate the ages of participants, for example, the use of words such as “younger nurses” and “older adults” (Terkamo-Moisio et al., 2017). Medics have essential duties in the process of euthanasia because they interact more with the patients while giving end-of-life care. The researchers conducted a survey that involved 1003 nurses serving in the health care system of Finland. Most of the respondents (74.3%) supported euthanasia and proposed for its legalization in Finnish healthcare. The strongest point for this article is that every individual has a right to mercy killing (Terkamo-Moisio et al., 2017).
The medics approve respect for autonomy by allowing the patients to choose the time and cause of their death. Majority of the nurses supported communication with relatives and the patients before considering euthanasia. According to Terkamo-Moisio et al., (2017), nurses’ degree of religion influences their attitudes towards assisted killing. Religious backgrounds tend to make nurses oppose euthanasia and its legalization. The weakest point about this article is that 77.4 percent of the nurses argued that they would “request euthanasia themselves in certain situations” (Terkamo-Moisio et al., 2017). This significant proportion means healthcare professionals do trust other interventions of relieving pain. They do not believe in the medical technologies and services they give to patients.
Banovic, B., Turanjanin, V., & Miloradovic, A. (2017). An Ethical Review of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide. Iranian Journal of Public Health, 46(2), 173.
Goligher, E. C., Ely, E. W., Sulmasy, D. P., Bakker, J., Raphael, J., Volandes, A. E., … & White, D. B. (2017). Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in the Intensive Care Unit: A Dialogue on Core Ethical Issues. Critical Care Medicine, 45(2), 149.
Naga, B. S., & Mrayyan, M. T. (2013). Legal and Ethical Issues of Euthanasia: Argumentative Essay. Middle East Journal of Nursing, 101(899), 1-9.
Nunes, R., & Rego, G. (2016). Euthanasia: A Challenge to Medical Ethics.
Terkamo-Moisio, A., Kvist, T., Kangasniemi, M., Laitila, T., Ryynänen, O. P., & Pietilä, A. M. (2017). Nurses’ Attitudes Towards Euthanasia in Conflict with Professional Ethical Guidelines. Nursing Ethics, 24(1), 70-86.