Ethical beliefs shape the way we live, what we do, what we make and the world we create through our choices (The Ethics Centre 2017). In science, particular any new thinkings, hypothesis or experiment to be tested, ethical aspects need to be put into consideration. Researching about ethics in science is my homework for this week and I found a very interesting topics that never stop the world debating around it.
Euthanasia is the using of medical treatment to end a patient’s life at his/her request (Dignitas 2017) The following arguments support this procedure:
- A survey produced by Australia Institute showed that 70% of 1400 candidates believe euthanasia should be legalised (ABC News 2012) This figure significantly proved that more and more people are up to battle for the right to end their suffer and to recognise their death with peace and dignity.
- It is used for patients with terminal illness, meaning no cure possible. This is to end patient’s suffer from pain and depression. It brings the patients relief from fighting to an illness that he/she knows there will be no cure. (Dignitas 2017)
- Not everyone is able to receive euthanasia. A patient had to undergo a number of tests, medical treatments and interviews with a range of physicians, psychologists, doctors, etc. To finalise the decision. Therefore, this is a thoughtful process! We are trying to save the patient’s life, not ending it. (The Economist 2015)
- This is one of the option, not the only nor the final option. Patients can choose to continue their journey fighting the disease knowing they won’t get back to where they used to be OR ending their life with dignity, peace and respect. Family and friends get to meet the counsellors to understand such choice.
Figure 1. Statistic Brain 2016
A number of true stories can be found to support the decision of euthanasia. For instance, The Sun 2016 has published a story about Bob Cole choosing euthanasia to end his suffer from aggressive form of lung cancer. “I don’t want to die painfully and slowly watching TV and eating chocolate ice-cream. There is absolutely no quality of life in it.” Bob responded after his consultant gave him three months to live after the diagnosis. It can be clearly seen that patients are significantly determined about their decision and that they want to choose how to end their lives. Generally speaking, this should be fully respected as one has the rights to choose how they die.
On the other hand, a significant number of debates have occurred to against euthanasia. They can be listed as below:
- Allowing euthanasia may lead to less good care to terminally ill patients (BBC UK 2014) This argument believes that once euthanasia legalised, not much efforts would be done to recover the circumstances. Hence, there would be no motivation for such cure of that disease.
- Patients could be under stress or depression while making the decision. For example, doctors are not aware of all options that could be given to patients in terms of pain management (Living with Dignity 2014) Patients that receiving a news of their disease could think it will be the end of the world and not even try hard for any treatment. If they were given the choice of euthanasia, they would easily give up on any treatment.
- It is being questioned that whether euthanasia is the right to die or duty to die (ABC Religion and Ethics 2014) The legalisation of euthanasia has put a pressure to the weaker and older individuals to die to save spaces for the younger generation. This can cause a devaluation of life and go beyond ethical belief in our society.
The Ethics Centre, 2017, “What is Ethics” <http://www.ethics.org.au/about/what-is-ethics>
Dignitas, 2017, <http://www.dignitas.ch/?lang=en>
ABC News, 2012, <Survey shows support for legalised euthanasia” <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-16/survey-shows-australian-support-for-legalised-euthanasia/4376524>
The Economist, 2015, “24 & ready to die”, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWWkUzkfJ4M>
Amy, J. , 2015, “I will die today at 2pm”, The Sun UK <https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/188494/i-will-die-today-at-2pm/>
BBC UK, 2014, “Overview of anti-euthanasia arguments” <http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/euthanasia/against/against_1.shtml>
Living with Dignity, 2010, <http://vivredignite.org/en/about-us/>
Charles, C. 2014, ” Right to Die or Duty to Die, The Slippery-Slope Argument Against Euthanasia Revisited” , ABC Religion and Ethics, <http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2014/09/01/4078456.htm>