This essay Euthanasia has a total of 1542 words and 10 pages.
Prof. Raymond A. Pohlod
Advanced College Writing
July 19, 2009
1, 1192 words
Euthanasia has won the hearts of many terminally ill patients over the years. There are, however, options available to these patients to make them more comfortable and comforted in their last days.
A. A brief history of the debates on Euthanasia
1. The presence of Euthanasia in the Middle Ages
2. Adolf Hitler and Euthanasia
3. Jack Kevorkian's input
III. The Hippocratic Oath
A. The oath clearly states the requirements of doctors
B. Doctors breaking the first promise
IV. The human body's natural inclination to live
C. Robbing the body to fight naturally
D. Physicians can treat illness
E. Death Culture that views ending human lives as necessary
V. Palliative Care and Hospices
F. Palliative Care helps the patient overall
G. Looks more on how being terminally ill affects the person
H. Makes the patient comfortable
Technology has become so advanced that the confidence in better treatments and even cures for terminal illnesses has grown much stronger. Euthanasia has become a primary debate over the years and has even recognized legality in a few countries like the Netherlands, Sweden, Oregon in the United States, and Belgium. It is, however, not morally right and should be considered an option by neither the patient suffering nor the physician working with him or her. Physicians committing this act do not withhold the Hippocratic Oath which means they do not uphold the ethical standards of the medical profession. It breaks the trust which is a vital a tool in a patient and doctor relationship. The human body has a natural inclination to live; giving an individual the choice of euthanasia robs the body of life; robs the body of hope. There are options that are available for individuals, even the terminally ill, to continue living in a comfortable manner, like palliative care and hospices.
According to Princeton University, euthanasia, also known as "mercy killing", is "the act of killing someone painlessly (especially someone suffering from an incurable illness)"("WordNet Search, Princeton"). The practice of euthanasia can be traced all the way back to the middle ages, where Sir Thomas Moore in his 'Utopia of 1516, stated "...if a disease is not only distressing but also agonizing without cessation, then the priests and public officials exhort this man...to free himself from this bitter life...or else to permit others to free him..."("Papanikitas"). Carl F.H, Marx, was one of the pioneers who opposed euthanasia in the early nineteenth century. Marx was a medical graduate who presented his theory on the stages a terminally ill person goes through and offers alternatives to euthanasia for each stage, which will help the individual, have a more peaceful end.
In Germany, under the rule of Adolf Hitler, a law was passed in 1937, the law that legalized the euthanasia program 'Akion T4' ordering five thousand children who were handicapped to be killed. Children were not the only ones subjected to death; adults were as well.
The debates continued over the centuries and results benefitted both sides, with some countries gaining the legalization of euthanasia, for example the Netherlands and activists like Dr Jack Kevorkian who admitted to helping to kill 150 individuals, who was convicted for the murder of Thomas York who was not terminally ill, and was sentenced to 10 -25 years in prison ("Chronology of Dr. Jack Kevorkian's Life and Assisted Suicide campaign").
A requirement of most medical schools is students at the end of their studies and upon accepting the responsibility of being a medical doctor, to take the Hippocratic Oath. The oath which is originally Greek necessitates that doctors vow upon healing gods to maintain ethical and professional principles. A section of the oath states "I will use those dietary regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgment and I will do no harm or injustice to them. I will not give lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan? In purity and according to divine will I carry out my life and my art" ("Greek Medicine: The Hippocratic Oath"). Over the years the oath has been modified but the precepts remain the same. Since this is an oath that doctors swear by before even beginning to treat patients, the practice of euthanasia is obviously a broken promise. Breaking the first promise made is the first step to breaking the trust that a doctor and patient should have.
The human body has a natural inclination to live. "When
Topics Related to Euthanasia
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