Ethical issues in medicine – Essay Example

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Ordinary life supporting means, such as food and water, are basic human needs, which are required by a person at regular intervals, in order to continue his life. In addition, any such death which is caused by the failure to provide the ordinary life supporting means does not comes under the definition of euthanasia. However, it is not necessary for a person to use extraordinary life supporting means to continue his life and a person also has an absolute freedom to discontinue any such medical treatment which can be categorized as an extraordinary life supporting mean.

This is because, as there are many intricacies involved in deaths which are caused by the removal of extraordinary life supporting means, so each such case of death must be looked separately and that too thoroughly to ensure that such death was actually caused by the removal of extraordinary life supporting mean. While, active euthanasia, which is also known as mercy killing is a deliberate act which is performed by a person with the aim of taking the life of the other person. Active euthanasia may be performed either with the authority of the other person or without the authority of the other person, that is, where it is not possible to attain the authority of the other person, to perform such an act (Caralis et al, pp.

155-65). Euthanasia is performed by a person when the other person expects him to do so for him as either a favor to him or in the name of love, as the other person wants to be relieved from the suffering which he constantly bears, due to any such disease or may be due to any such accident, and because of which he wishes for death.

But, the other person’s death wish should not be fulfilled by culminating his life at his request; instead the medical staff, his family and his friends should try to lessen his pain by appropriate means. Because, with the assistance of latest technologies and numerous developments in the field of medical science, it has now become quite possible to lessen the suffering and pain of an afflicted person to quite an extent through appropriate medication and treatment.

Moreover, the afflicted person’s pain can also be lessened through pain killers, but if and only if such pain killer does not cause any severe threat to the afflicted person’s life or the intention is to not to take the life of the afflicted person (Van der Maas, 669-674). At present, the law doesn’t permit anyone to perform euthanasia. The reason behind such a restriction on performing euthanasia by the law is, as euthanasia is similar to suicide and suicide is prohibited by the law.

Works Cited

Asch, David A. "The role of critical care nurses in euthanasia and assisted suicide." New England Journal of Medicine, 334(21), 1996: 1374-1379.

Baume, Peter, and Emma OMalley. "Euthanasia: attitudes and practices of medical practitioners." The Medical Journal of Australia, 161(2), 1994: 137-140.

Caralis, Panagiota V., et al. "The influence of ethnicity and race on attitudes toward advance directives, life-prolonging treatments, and euthanasia." Journal of Clinical Ethics, 4(2), 1993: 155-65.

Emanuel, Ezekiel J., et al. "Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: attitudes and experiences of oncology patients, oncologists, and the public." The Lancet, 347(9018), 1996: 1805-1810.

Robertson, John A. "Involuntary euthanasia of defective newborns: a legal analysis." Stanford Law Review (1975): 213-269.

Rachels, James. The End of Life: Euthanasia and morality. Oxford University Press, 1986.

Rachels, James. "Active and passive euthanasia." Bioethics: An Introduction to the History, Methods, and Practice (1997): 1-82.

Van der Maas, Paul J., et al. "Euthanasia and other medical decisions concerning the end of life." The Lancet 338.8768 (1991): 669-674.

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