Euthanasia is the deliberate act of terminating a persons life with the intention to relieve unstoppable or persistent suffering. It is a painless act that allows the patient to die through withdrawal of treatment or artificial life-support care and also through injection of lethal substances. Euthanasia is classified as either voluntary euthanasia which happens with the patients consent or involuntary euthanasia where the patient does not consent. It is further classified as either active or passive euthanasia. Active euthanasia is a deliberate intervention to terminate a persons life by administering an overdose of sedatives. On the other hand, passive euthanasia involves the withdrawal of treatment that is required to maintain life.
In many countries around the world, euthanasia is prohibited by the law. It is considered an offense to help somebody terminate their lives regardless the circumstances. In the US, the law on euthanasia varies in some states. In Arkansas state, the law prohibits euthanasia and any physician-assisted suicide ("Arkansas Laws on Assisted Suicide - Euthanasia - ProCon.org," 2017). Arkansas state law specifically addresses the act of physician-assisted suicide as a class C felony. This rule is stipulated in Arkansas Code of 1987 Section 5-10-104 under manslaughter. Arkansas law does not approve or condone euthanasia or any form of physician-assisted suicide. Therefore, in this state, it is a crime for a physician to assist a person to end their life by prescribing any form of medication or performing any procedure to aid in the same. However, by this code, a death that results from the effect of withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures doesnt constitute to suicide or homicide ("Arkansas Laws on Assisted Suicide - Euthanasia - ProCon.org," 2017). This law remains controversial and is subject to discussion about ethics, religion, and medicine.
A recent case involving euthanasia involved a convicted rapist and murderer in Belgium. The 50-year -old argued that he suffered unbearable psychological torture in prison. The court granted Frank Van Den the right to terminate his life under the Belgiums liberal euthanasia laws after serving 30 years in jail. He argued that he couldnt find any form of psychological treatment and that the only way to end the mental torture was through euthanasia. The authority canceled the request after the physicians pulled out of the plan. Family members of the Frank Van Den victims strongly opposed his right to euthanasia. They argued that the offender should languish in prison rather than having a swift and soft escape.
Euthanasia remains a controversial subject as to whether it is right or wrong. Some arguments support the act while others have been raised to oppose it. In my own opinion and according to the information above, euthanasia should legalize to a certain extent. One of the primary objectives of performing this act is to relieve unbearable suffering such as chronic pain experienced by terminally ill patients. In areas where euthanasia is legal, supporters base their arguments on experiences by terminally ill patients during their final days. They argue that these patient experience unbearable suffering and that pre-meditated is the best and possibly the only option in such cases (Scherer, 2010). In Washington state, for example, physician-assisted suicide was approved by ballot measure in 2008.
In most cases, the terminally ill patients request their bid to die to end the agony psychological pain associated with terminal illnesses. The rejected bids resulted to more horrifying alternatives such as starving themselves to death. An example is the case of Tony Nicklinson, a patient who suffered from locked in syndrome, a condition described by physicians as a living nightmare. The victim was incapable of moving a single muscle of his body. After the British high court rejected his bid to die, Tony followed the only remaining cause of action and starved himself to death. In my view, such cases are treated as special cases where euthanasia should be considered as an alternative. However, other options such as psychological treatment and extensive palliative care must be first provided to the patient and euthanasia should come as a last option. The patient, family and the respective authority must be involved when such a decision is made.
ProCon.org. (2012, November 6). Arkansas Laws on Assisted Suicide. Retrieved from http://euthanasia.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=005052
Scherer, L.S.(2010). Euthanasia. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
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