In the past, I’ve written about the pitfalls and benefits of euthanasia. Should we have a right to terminate our lives when circumstances are dire? Should federal and/or state governments regulate this activity, keeping in mind that euthanasia is rife with practical, medical, ethical and religious minefields.
Medical ethicists give us great issues to ponder. Should doctors and researchers have the extension of life as a primary goal? Is keeping a suffering individual alive the golden rule in every situation? What is the current and prospective lifestyle possibilities of the person in jeopardy? Is pain a primary or secondary issue? Should a life be terminated if an individual does not want to live or has indicated during healthier times an aversion to life without full consciousness and lucidity?
The pitfalls of euthanasia are multifaceted and seemingly endless. Do the custodians of a sick person have a right to decide what would be best for a sufferer? For sure, if the sufferer has not expressed his desires previously and cannot speak for himself any longer, someone else must decide. Why wouldn’t every healthy person sign a document indicating to their survivors what their wishes are in times before death? These are called living wills. In fact, taking this decision from loved ones could be a great relief especially if family members disagree. In some situations, it is a gift from the sufferer.
What should a family do if there is little money available to continue treatment for a seriously ailing love one? Or their love one is in terrible pain? Or the sufferer is not lucid? Or the sufferer cannot take care of him or herself? And the big question, what should happen when it is just too much to deal with a loved ones’ sickness any longer?
Religion can play a significant role in a euthanasia decision. For instance, devout Catholics believe euthanasia is a mortal sin, one that results in eternal damnation. Why would a believer commit a mortal sin in his last moment on earth? Eternal damnation is a great threat to some people.
Many think that hospice is in fact a form of euthanasia. What difference does it make if a sufferer is given a pill that takes life immediately or is deprived of food and water and dies in a few days? It seems like straw splitting to me. These are identical for all intents and purposes.
As one ages, sometimes we feel detached and useless. A feeling of not being an integral part of the family could be very depressing, especially if the individual does not have activities to keep busy. The moment may come when a person believes he no longer has a purpose in life. Why shouldn’t these people have an opportunity to end their lives?
Many would say that euthanasia is a coward’s way out. This is true in some circumstances, but not all. Approaching a moment when a person’s mental health is in shambles and his role in life is diminished may be an excellent moment to move on.
By far the most useful situation for consideration of euthanasia is when serious health problems are involved. No one should be forced to live with excruciating pain every day. Our leaders and lawmakers should consider a nationwide policy pertaining to euthanasia that can be used in carefully planned situations.
I have mixed feelings regarding euthanasia. In fact, I had a situation many years ago when a doctor asked me if I wanted a very sick relative to be resuscitated if he died. I was unable to make the decision to give up hope. In retrospect, it was the wrong decision.