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Since the evolution of man, infants have been born with severe illnesses. These infants may be able to survive due to advancing technologies, but are left with possible and probable defects. Many infants will die even though they are being treated because they are not equipped to sustain life. These circumstances have led to the debatable issue of infant euthanasia, or mercy killing, to allow these babies an end to their suffering, and die peacefully. While many people feel that euthanasia is murder, infant euthanasia should be legalized to spare terminally ill newborns of long, painful deaths, and to spare them of possible life-long disabilities.
Euthanasia is said to be morally wrong by pro-life groups. They point out that infant\'s may not be suffering while they are dying. They also emphasize that advances in pain management make it possible to relieve all or almost all pain. These people say that children should be saved at all costs, no matter how great the disability may be. They accentuate that the infants may be saved due to advancing technology, and that there are also therapy treatments for their possible disabilities.
However, in considering whether or not to treat a newborn, the main goal should be to spare infants of long, painful deaths. Most experts believe that the primary answer to this issue is to follow what\'s in the child\'s best interests. If his mental and physical handicaps are overwhelming and it would be inhumane to prolong his life, then treatment should be withheld or withdrawn. After all, saving an infant for a life of suffering is hardly a humane and loving act. An infant was born with a skin condition similar to third-degree burns over almost all of its body for which there was no cure. The baby\'s mother was young, unwed, and indigent. Providing basic nursing care caused tearing away of the skin. The infant could not be fed orally because of blistering in the mouth and throat. Any movement of the infant seemed to cause it pain. Even with intensive care its life expectancy, at most, was believed to be days. It would have been reasonable, merciful, and justifiable to have shortened the baby\'s dying by an intended direct action chosen by the parent and the neonatologists. In cases relevantly like this, it is not immoral or morally wrong to intend and effect a merciful end to a life that, all things considered, will be meaningless to the one who lives it and an unwarranted burden for others to support. Among the women who work in the Stanford intensive care nursery, several said that if they were to have an extremely premature baby, they would not want it to be treated aggressively. One woman said that if she knew what was about to happen she would stay away from a hospital with a sophisticated intensive care unit. Others say they would make sure they were under the care of a doctor who would not press the extremes on survival. Many parents would make a similar choice but are not given the opportunity. It has been called a violation of God\'s commandment not to kill. "...in effect, the demand that physicians fight death at all costs is a demand that they play God. It is a demand that they conquer nature, thereby declaring themselves more powerful than God\'s order." Perhaps the ideal of conquest will be replaced by the ideal of living in agreement with nature. The most benign technology works in harmony with natural causes rather than intruding on them. The "Baby Doe" rule is a list of guidelines stating that a baby should be treated aggressively with very few exceptions. These exceptions to the rule are when "the infant is chronically and irreversibly comatose", when the treatment would merely prolong dying, not be effective in ameliorating or correcting all of the infant\'s life-threatening conditions, or otherwise be futile in terms of the survival of the infant", and when "treatment would be virtually futile in terms of the survival of the infant and the treatment itself under such circumstances would be inhumane..." This policy rather loudly states that parents and professionals may not consider the salvageable infant\'s life prospects no matter how harmful they may appear. A graphic
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Neonatology, Medical ethics, Euthanasia, Neonatal intensive care unit, Infant, Preterm birth, Child euthanasia, Voluntary euthanasia
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