Ethical Euthanasia

December 22, 2006

Euthanasia, from Greek eu = good + thanatos = death.

“Nazi legislation and Hitler’s ideas are reemerging in Europe via Dutch euthanasia laws and the debate on how to kill ill children.” … Carlo Giovanardi. Italian Parliamentary Affairs minister, March 2006.

http://www.euthanasia.com/page7.html

An Italian man who had been bed-ridden for a very long time, without the least possiility of recovering, has died presumably helped by a Doctor. It is the latest ocurrence of a Euthanasia case which has raised again the dilemma of assisted death.

If I were a person in the same position as this Italian I would do the same thing, I would clamour for death and the termination of an anguished process with no hopeful remedy even in the far horizon.

Euthanasia always brings up dissidence on the part of Churches whose opinion has always been contrary to any assisted death, but I wonder whether they are not contradicting themselves when they preach mercy. Because Euthanasia properly administered is not but a case of mercy towards a person whose mental and physical feelings are unbearably and irremediably excruciating. 

There have been international forums which have convened to debate the issue, and so far nothing has come out of it. No conclusions positive to Euthanasia have come out of these forums and people keep suffering the world around because laws usually do not permit it. The Netherlands has been the first country in Europe to legalise Euthanasia and consequently The Netherlands has been the object of harsh criticism by the Catholic Church, as have been Belgium, Switzerland and France for having legalised it, true that all under diverse premises.

The Council of Europe’s Human Rights Body has condemned Euthanasia and I wonder which this Body is defending: Ethical principles or religious principles, the latter being something I very much doubt really exists. Because ethics is at the core of all human rights and a human being has the perfect right to dispose of his/her life in those cases where her/his existence reaches extreme suffering.

There is another point to be taken into account in Euthanasia and that is that the problem arises because it is “assisted”, someone else other than the dying person must contribute to her/his death. And that is where ethics mainly intervenes. The Law should provide for  incontrovertible reasons to be wielded to justify the assisted death, but it should be left crystal clear that the responsibility for the action lies exclusively on the dying person who has so determined that his/her life be extinguished.

I wonder what  the reaction would be of those persons who so adamantly condemn Euthanasia if they were the protagonists of the case: Would they stick to those  principles or would they have mercy on themselves?.

Have they ever asked themselves this question?

Advertisements

13 Responses to “Ethical Euthanasia”

  1. earthpal said

    Good post Jose. I fully agree with you.

    There are no easy answers and I would hate for myself or any of my loved ones to be in either postition.

    The thing about ethics and morals is that the religious groups tend to believe they have the monopoly over them.

    I work in a hospital and I see poorly people in a dire state and it’s pretty grim. It breaks my heart every time. I’ve lost count of how many times me and my work friends have said to each other…”If I’m ever in that state, promise me you’ll pull the plug.”

  2. […] Jose supports euthanasia, but not without caveats: – There is another point to be taken into account in Euthanasia and that is that the problem arises because it is “assisted”, someone else other than the dying person must contribute to her/his death. And that is where ethics mainly intervenes. The Law should provide for incontrovertible reasons to be wielded to justify the assisted death, but it should be left crystal clear that the responsibility for the action lies exclusively on the dying person who has so determined that his/her life be extinguished. Share this post with the world…These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  3. Tyger says:
    Jose supports euthanasia, but not without caveats: –

    Of course there must be caveats, Tyger, otherwise a loophole would be left in the law which might help murders go unpunished.

  4. yellowduck said

    Cogent, intelligent stuff, mister. Consider yourself blogrolled.

  5. snowflake5 said

    Good article. I’m in two minds about euthanasia. If it were simply about allowing the person concerned to make a decision about their own lives, it would be one thing. But I’m afraid there are families out there who think their old are a nuisance and I’m afraid euthanasia if allowed might be abused and forced on people who still want to live. Vulnerable people like that deserve the protection of the law (and the law as it stands does protect them). We should think very hard before loosening that protection.

    BTW, Merry Christmas, and I look forward to reading more of your blog in the New Year.

    S xx

  6. Thank you, Yellowduck. You are also in my blogroll.

    Yes, Snowflake, the law must always protect both the right to die and the right to live. I had already included you in my blogroll.

    Have the warmest and happiest Christmas.

  7. anticant said

    My grandfather suffered a terrible nervous illness for twelve years, during which he made two abortive suicide attempts. He was one of the earliest campagners for euthanasia way back in the 1930s, writing many letters to MPs etc.

    Of course voluntary euthanasia should be legalised, under strict safeguards. It strikes me as ironical that the most vociferous opponents are usually religious people who evidently take an abysmally low view of human nature.

    The main focus of campaigning and information is Dignity in Dying [formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society]. Its website is:

    http://www.dignityindying.org.uk/

    Until euthanasia becomes legal, it is very deirable to make a Living Will instructing your executors and medical advisers not to prolong your life when there is no longer any realistic prospect of recovery or pain alleviation. Dignity in Dying can provide suitable Living Will forms.

  8. I agree with what you write, Anticant. I’ll look up the site you give above. Thank you.

  9. christianzionismexposed said

    Alot of ‘allowing to die’ happens in ‘real life’, that most likely is on the edge of being legal. I think where the problem comes in mostly is in cases where there is some fighting amongst relatives because of money or beliefs.’ My dad was coherent enough to just refuse to eat (well, physically he couldn’t really swallow with melanoma-induced tumors clogging his physical mechanisms) and basically ‘starve to death’ while we watched. He made it clear he didn’t want IV’s or anything else although he no longer was even able to speak the last few days. We just knew he’d had enough pain and agony and wanted to go. The doctor personally came in and tried to feed him but never even asked (that I know of) about putting in an IV or prolonging his pain.

  10. Jose said

    It is sad, CZE, when you see someone in this predicament you comment on, but if it is a parent or a child that sadness multiplies to an intensity that we find unbearable. I imagine how much you must have suffered.

  11. christianzionismexposed said

    My dad was a big, handsome, strong Norwegian Viking who never complained and always helped anyone who needed anything and never asked for anything for himself. He died like he lived, Jose, even asking me if my back was bothering me when I apparently winced bending over him (it was out at the time apparently) and asking my aunt and uncle how their escrow was coming. I believe his last words were before he became totally aphasic the last little time, looking upward, “so many rooms” and smiling. He never thought of himself.

    At the height of his agony, I went home and crawled into bed in the fetal position. He was my hero and my best buddy from babyhood until his death.

  12. FAce said

    now thats what i call beauty

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: