Are Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Ethical? Essay

1625 Words 7 Pages
Is Euthanasia Ethical?

Euthanasia is one of the most acute and uncomfortable contemporary

problems in medical ethics. Is Euthanasia Ethical? The case for euthanasia

rests on one main fundamental moral principle: mercy.

It is not a new issue; euthanasia has been discussed-and practised-in

both Eastern and Western cultures from the earliest historical times to the

present. But because of medicine's new technological capacities to extend life,

the problem is much more pressing than it has in the past, and both the

discussion and practice of euthanasia are more widespread.

Euthanasia is a way of granting mercy-both by direct killing and by

letting the person
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instance, repeated cardiac resuscitation is sometimes performed even though a

patient's survival is highly unlikely; although patients in arrest are

unconscious at the time of resuscitation, it can be a brutal procedure, and if

the patient regains consciousness, its aftermath can involve considerable pain.

Patients are sometimes subjected to continued unproductive, painful treatment to

complete a research protocol, to train student physician, to protect the

physician or hospital from legal action, or to appease the emotional needs of

family members; although in some specific cases such practises may be justified

on other grounds, in general they are prohibited by the principle of mercy.

Weather a painful test or therapy will actually contribute to some overriding

benefits for him or her, they should not be done.

In many such cases, the patient will die whether or not the treatments

are performed. In some cases, however, the principle of mercy may also demand

withholding treatment that could extend the patient's life if the treatment is

itself painful or discomforting and there is very little or no possibility that

it will provide life that is pain-free or offers the possibility of other

important goods. For instance, to provide respiratory support for patient in

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