Is Euthanasia Immoral?


Mr. Blackburn
Inquiry Skills
2 Dec. 1996


In today\'s society there are many disagreements about the rights and
wrongs of euthanasia. Although death is unavoidable for human beings, suffering
before death is unbearable not only for terminal patients but for the family
members and friends. Euthanasia comes from the Greek word "Thanatos" meaning
death and the prefix "eu" meaning easy or good (Russell 94). Thus, "eu-
Thanatos" meaning easy or good death. Euthanasia is a better choice for terminal
patients than suicide.

In our society, suicide is always traumatic for families and friends. If
there is no alternative to relieve the suffering of terminal patients, then the
more humane option to suicide is euthanasia. An option for people that are
unsure of euthanasia is called DNR or do not resuscitate(McCuen 2). This means
that if the patient has a heart attack or another potentially fatal problem in
the hospital, the doctors are told to preform a " No Code" which means that
they should let the patient die peacefully with any amount of painkillers or
medication requested by the patient(McCuen 3). Doctors that are treating a dying
patient should treat them with care. They should make them as comfortable as
possible and give them medication to dull their pain.

Instructors tell doctors in training to treat dying patients as people "
that are alive but just that their death is more imminent than our own"(Moroney
2).

Many families could rest easy that their relative is being treated well
and are receiving the necessary attention. A lot of terminal patients decide to
sign DNR forms or request euthanasia so that they would not be a burden on their
families. Euthanasia should be legalized in all of the United States because it
would end much suffering and pain.

Euthanasia is the justified killing or assisted killing of a disabled or
terminally ill person at their will or if the patient is incapable of making the
decision, at the family\'s will(Satris 260). The doctor or in some cases, a
family member, uses injections, weapons, or other means of killing to act out
euthanasia. But euthanasia is usually gentle and quiet. In most of the cases of
euthanasia, the patient died by lethal injection or certain life support systems
were withheld.

There are many types of euthanasia. The most common type is voluntary
euthanasia(Russell 32). Voluntary euthanasia is euthanasia that is preformed at
the will of the patient. Involuntary euthanasia is the other type of
euthanasia(Russell 32). That is when the patient does not want euthanasia, but
it is administered (i.e.-compulsory). There are also different ways to
administer euthanasia. One is direct euthanasia, which is deliberately inducing
death in order to terminate hopeless suffering(Russell 31). Then there is
indirect euthanasia which is indirectly causing death with the use of drugs to
relieve pain, but hasten death(Russell 31).

When a patient pleads for euthanasia doctors are placed in a dilemma. If
they help the patient die then their practicing license could be taken away and
they may be taken to court, possibly ruining their career(McCuen 53). However,
the patient who is constantly in pain will always be on the doctor\'s conscience
unless they do something about it. Usually the doctor decides to help the
patient by either giving the patient extremely strong painkillers and telling
them the lethal dosage or directly assisting in the death of the patient(McCuen
53).

A doctor that has helped terminal patients die is Dr. Jack Kevorkian. He
is probably the most well known for this practice because he does not deny he
practices it. The first case that Dr. Kevorkian had was in 1990. He met his
"patient" in Michigan (which did not prohibit euthanasia at that time). The
woman\'s name was Janet Adkins, who was suffering from Alzheimer\'s disease(Levine
114). Using a machine that Kevorkian invented she killed herself. This machine
that Kevorkian made consisted of an IV that first dripped salt water into the
patient. Then when the patient was ready, she pressed a button that released a
chemical agent that induced unconsciousness. After about five minutes, the
machine delivered a lethal dose of potassium chloride(Levine 115).

Some people think that euthanasia is not acceptable in our society
because of a variety of reasons. Many who oppose of euthanasia fear that if it
were to be legalized then many people would die needlessly and murders in so-
called "mercy killings" would run rampant(Satris 262). Others believe that
since we are the property of God then we should wait until He is ready to
receive us(Russell 93). Many churches and religious groups oppose euthanasia
stating that the sixth commandment "Thou Shalt