Euthanasia refers to the process of voluntary termination of one’s life with the intention of relieving him or her from obstinate pain and sufferings. James Torr defines euthanasia as the process of putting an individual to death so as to relieve him or her from terminal illnesses (8). Acts of euthanasia may include lethal injection by a physician or any other third party and withdrawal of medical treatment amongst others.
In most cases, doctors usually assist patients to end their lives, hence the name physician assisted suicide has appeared. Furthermore, Horn and Gretchen assert that euthanasia may be voluntary or involuntary (25). Most countries have laws that prohibit the administration of euthanasia. Involuntary euthanasia is usually treated as murder in most countries. Voluntary euthanasia is whereby the patient gives his or her own consent to die.
As a proponent of euthanasia, I would argue that every person has a right to self-determination. In this regard, therefore, an individual should be allowed to make personal choices to determine his or her own fate in life. Patients should be allowed to fully exercise their rights to die. The patient is the only person who experiences the sufferings or intractable pain from the disease. Thus, he or she is the best person who can make the most appropriate decisions concerning the quality of life he/she wants to live. Additionally, most patients often suffer from prolonged emotional imbalances associated with such intractable pains and sufferings. This eventually leads to poor quality of life and loss of personal independence. Therefore, it is important for an individual to be allowed to make independent choices regarding his or her life.
Secondly, the prolonged sufferings by an individual may be detrimental and traumatizing. Euthanasia should be used when all alternative treatments that are within the disposal of a patient have failed to relief pain and sufferings.
Thirdly, permitting euthanasia would help in reducing unnecessary and evil suicidal deaths in the society that may have undesirable consequences. Although, the opponents of euthanasia argue that legalizing assisted suicides would result into reluctance of doctors and healthcare professionals to save lives. I would assert that euthanasia should be performed only when the doctors’ efforts to save the life of the patient have failed and does not bear any fruits in reducing the pain and sufferings of the patients, hence there is an immediate need to relieve the patient from such pain and sufferings.
Fourthly, euthanasia gives an individual a chance to die with dignity as opposed to death after prolonged sufferings. Additionally, although most religious values and beliefs such as Christianity maintain that life is a prestigious gift from God that should not be taken away by any person other than God, I would argue that persistent pain and suffering usually make the life of an individual miserable and non-enjoyable.
Fifthly, prolonged illness of a person usually results into excessive drainage of economic resources such as family finances, medical facilities, drugs and medications. From my part, the life of the patient may thus be terminated if he/she wishes. It is the best interest of the patient to either die or live. This would help in saving such scarce economic resources, especially when there are no possibilities of the patient’s recovering. Euthanasia also helps in shortening the pain, grief and suffering of the family members.
However, it is important to note that euthanasia should only be allowed if the doctor proves that the patient is mentally competent and, thus, has the capacity to make sound decisions. Additionally, the patient should be well informed about the consequences of euthanasia prior to the act. The physician should not provide leading ideas or suggestions that would negatively influence the decisions of the patient.
In conclusion, euthanasia should be viewed by the society as a way of extending the natural right of patient to choose between life and death. In my view, it is morally right to relieve a person from persistent and unending pain and suffering. In the event of failure of advanced medical treatments, euthanasia may be opted for by the patient. Euthanasia would help the family of the patient in cutting down medical expenses on permanent illness that do not seem to improve or end. Furthermore, it is not reasonable to keep individuals alive past their natural life spans. The use of certain medical equipments such as life-supporting machines only prolong the patient’s suffering.