Ethics in Healthcare

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Ethicsin Healthcare

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Euthanasiahas been considered in some parts of the world as being legal, whileother regions still perceive it as illegal. For instance, euthanasiahas been made illegal in every state in the United States with anexception of Washington and Oregon. Despite it being classified aslegal or illegal, it is still being practiced in different parts ofthe world where approximately 5000 cases of euthanasia have beenreported annually (Medina, 2005). Individuals have consideredeuthanasia due to varied reasons some of these include loss ofautonomy, loss of dignity, and decreasing capacity of participatingin enjoyable activities among others. Euthanasia raises ethicalconcerns in the provision of healthcare since it involves mercifulkilling of an individual. The topic of euthanasia is importantbecause it helps in covering the ethical concerns involved. Thepurpose of this paper is to discuss the ethical concerns associatedwith euthanasia.


Euthanasiais the killing of an individual for the sake of relieving greatsuffering emanating from feeling mercy to the individual (Cavan,2000). Euthanasia can be passive or active passive euthanasiainvolves allowing an individual to die through the withholding oftreatment or through discontinuing treatment. On the other hand,active euthanasia involves taking some positive steps in terminatinglife for instance, the administration of toxic substances orinjecting an air bubble into the blood stream of an individual.Alternatively, euthanasia can be classified as being voluntary orinvoluntary. In voluntary euthanasia, the subject usually expresseshis/her desire for the end of his/her life while, in involuntaryeuthanasia, the subject does not express his/her desire to endhis/her life (Cavan, 2000).

Perspectivesof Individuals Opposing Euthanasia

Thereare individuals who are against euthanasia since they consider it asmurder. Individuals opposing euthanasia fear that euthanasia maybecome a means of health care cost containment, thus becomingnon-voluntary and against the values and rights of humans (Biggar,2004). Those rejecting the notion of euthanasia claim that it isimportant to respect human dignity through searching for solutions tocost containment in order to prevent euthanasia. Instead ofconsidering euthanasia, these people argue that individuals shouldnot be killed because of their suffering, but their reasons forsuffering should be identified and solutions found so as to enhancethe quality of life. Based on the religion, it has been argued thateuthanasia is wrong since it is only God who has the right of givingand taking life thus, humans are not supposed to meddle with theissue of taking life. Moreover, those opposing euthanasia believethat life is a valuable gift bestowed upon the humans by God, andgiving it up because of some pain is not a good way of valuing it(Paterson, 2008). Furthermore, those opposing the idea of euthanasiaclaim that individuals are likely to request euthanasia on simplesufferings in case people are freely allowed to practice the act amove that would adversely affect the society.

Perspectivesof Euthanasia Supporters

Thosesupporting the idea of euthanasia claim that there are variousreasons why euthanasia should be accepted as the best option. Theseindividuals argue that euthanasia helps the patient that undergoeseuthanasia, the patient’s family, as well as the family’seconomy. According to them, euthanasia is a choice and an alternativethat emanates from a patient’s decision and as such it needs to berespected since every individual has the right to choose what he/shewants without being restricted (Biggs, 2000). Thus, in case a patientchooses euthanasia so as to minimize suffering, the decision shouldbe respected. Also, these individuals argue that euthanasia isimportant because it helps in cost containment. For individualshaving long-term chronic prognosis, euthanasia helps in mitigatingthe cost and the burden towards the patient’s family. In addition,according to the supporters, euthanasia is critical since it helpspatients to terminate their continuous state of suffering and diewith respect, dignity, peace, comfort, and free of pain.


Themain question that revolves around the element of euthanasia is theethical concern. It needs to be questioned whether it is ethical tohelp individuals die should the health practitioners have mercy andassist a patient in dying? Also, is it ethical to deny a sufferingpatient an option to die peacefully when he/she has already made thedecision? It is unethical to assist patients in dying since it isonly God who has the right of taking one’s life. Also, it isunethical to carry out euthanasia because it is just like carryingout murder.

Inconclusion, euthanasia describes merciful killing where a patient orthe patient’s family on behalf of the patients requests forpeaceful dying. Although it has been argued to help the patient aswell as the patient’s family, euthanasia is unethical. This isbecause it goes against the ethical principles of respecting humanlife since it is just like assisted murder. Despite patients havingthe right to choose and make their own decisions, euthanasia isunethical.


Biggar,N. (2004). Aimingto kill: The ethics of suicide and euthanasia.Cleveland: Pilgrim Press.

Biggs,H. (2000). Euthanasia,death with dignity and the law.Oxford: Hart.

Cavan,S. (2000). Euthanasia:The debate over the right to die.New York: Rosen Pub. Group.

Medina,L. (2005). Euthanasia.Detroit: Greenhaven Press.

Paterson,C. (2008). AssistedSuicide and Euthanasia: A Natural Law Ethics Approach.Ashgate Publishing Group.