Medical Ethics: Euthanasia. What does euthanasia mean?. • Literally means “good death”. • Often called “mercy killing”. Sometimes referred to as physician (doctor) assisted suicide. British Medical Association (BMA) Guidelines. • The BMA does not want euthanasia legalised.
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What does euthanasia mean? • Literally means “good death”. • Often called “mercy killing”. • Sometimes referred to as physician (doctor) assisted suicide.
British Medical Association (BMA) Guidelines • The BMA does not want euthanasia legalised. • Euthanasia goes against the role of doctors as healers. • The doctor has to abide by the law. • Euthanasia maybe appropriate for some but it’s wrong for society as could be abused. • Interests of society overrule individuals. • Doctors performing euthanasia would change the way society sees them.
Euthanasia in the Netherlands • Patient must personally request. • They must be terminally ill. • Must be last resort. • 2 doctors must agree it’s best for patient. • 12 − 16 year olds need parental consent unless doctors think they can make decision. • Legal for patients with mental or psychological illness. • Patient must live in Netherlands.
Arguments for legalising voluntary euthanasia • Respects patient’s choices and shows respect for human rights. • Ends suffering and shows respect for life. • It’s humane for animals, why not humans? • It ends the relative’s suffering and anguish. • Economic argument: saves money and frees beds. • Modern medical care cannot remove all suffering. • Medicine sometimes prolongs life when they would have died naturally escaping suffering.
Arguments for legalising involuntary euthanasia • It’s an act of mercy to end suffering. • The patient may not be able to ask for euthanasia. • The patient maybe asked for it before but no longer able to. • Many patients would choose it if they could. • It allows the patient to die with dignity.
Arguments against legalising euthanasia • It is an easy option; we shouldn’t just be allowed to end our lives when we feel like it. • It devalues life and encourages killing others e.g. the disabled. • People will lose respect and trust for medical staff. • Many recover after being told they will die. • It’s the doctor’s job to preserve life - not to end it. • It ends life − it is legalised killing. • It’s the beginning of a slippery slope.
Christian View: Against Euthanasia • Euthanasia is against the law of God – John Paul ll. • No one can allow the killing of an innocent human. No one should ask for this act. – Catholic Truth Society. • Human life is on loan from God. We must care for one another – Church of Scotland. • Suffering is accepted because of hope of life after death. • There can be a purpose in suffering. • Hospices are an alternative. • Life is sacred and gift from God – Job 1:21. • Do not commit murder − Exodus 20:13.
Christian View: For Euthanasia • “Love neighbour as yourself” Luke 10:27. Euthanasia is compassion. Cruel to prolong life if suffering. • God gave freedom; should have freedom to choose when to die. • Illegal to allow animals to suffer; people more important than animals (Genesis 1:26) so shouldn’t let them suffer. . • Doctor don’t just save lives; they do what is best for the patient. • Kind to lessen suffering of relatives and friends. • Relieves burden on families and society. • Quality of life important not quantity. .
Muslim View: Against Euthanasia • No one dies unless Allah permits. The term of every life is fixed – Surah 3:145. • Euthanasia is suicide, which is wrong. It interferes with Allah’s will. • Suffering is part of Allah’s will. Surah 31:17. • It is the code of life the doctor aims to maintain and not the process of dying – Islamic Code of Medical Ethics, 1981. • Anyone who kills a believer deliberately will live in hell forever. God will be angry and curse him and prepare torment for him – Surah 4:93. .
Non-Religious (Secular) View: For Euthanasia British Humanist Association: • Supports voluntary euthanasia out of concern for quality of life. • People should have right to choose when they die. • Supports attempts to reform law to allow voluntary euthanasia. • Individual wishes should be respected.
EXIT • Support right to choose. • Support voluntary euthanasia as an option for everyone. • Patients and doctors should be protected in carrying out voluntary euthanasia. • Euthanasia should be made legal. • Safeguards for voluntary euthanasia must be introduced.
Should Doctors Perform Euthanasia? Yes • If patient requests euthanasia, doctor respecting human rights. • Doctor acts in the patient’s best interests. • Law is wrong and should be changed. No •It’s against the law and is murder. • It will create mistrust in doctors. • Doctors should preserve life not deliberately end it. • Failure of doctors to act may result in assisted suicide. • Religious beliefs of doctors can influence their views.
Only doctors should decide about euthanasia. Yes • Doctors are experts and know best. • Doctors not emotionally involved so can make best decision. • Doctors responsible for patient care. No • Doctors make mistakes in 40% of cases. • Doctors may be influenced by things like costs. • Family may also want to be involved in the decision.
Other Options for the Terminally Ill. • Advances in treatment can provide ways of treating most illnesses. • Palliative care can provide pain relief in the majority of cases. • Hospices provide support and possibility of a dignified death. • Specialist nurses provide care for patient in their own home.
Euthanasia Suggests Some Lives Not Worth Living? Agree • Quality of life is more important than quantity. • If someone is suffering with no pain relief their life is not worth living. • If someone is in coma with no hope of recovery the money used to care for them could help others. Disagree • All life equally valuable. • As long as someone is alive there is hope of improving the quality of life. • Once a life ends it cannot be restored.
Should Voluntary Euthanasia Be Legal? Yes • It would lead to a greater respect for the quality of life. • Would allow NHS funds to be used more efficiently, helping those who can recover. • Society will benefit as it shows respect for rights of the individual. • Not good for people to be allowed to suffer in any way.
No • Could lead to human life being devalued. • Could mean pressure would be put on the terminally ill or elderly to allow themselves to be killed. • May change the way society sees illness or disability. • May lead to fewer medical treatments being developed as not needed as urgently.