Euthanasia or assisted suicide is a form of medical procedure to end a patient’s life in hope to bring an end to their pain and sufferings under the consent of both the patient and their respective family members. These patients usually suffered from debilitating or incurable diseases that had affected them physically and mentally that are so great that they develop a desire to pass away, which is understandable. What’s more, the majority of them are on expensive treatment which drains their bank account like a waterfall. Some patients that are on life-support can also further disable them to do things that they once enjoyed, for example travelling or exercise, this can bring a great toll on their overall quality of life.
The word euthanasia comes from greek which directly translates to “good death”, which is ironic because no deaths are good news. It all started as a concept to assist someone experience a painless death back in ancient greek. Without a doubt, many people viewed euthanasia as “cruel” and a form of “murder”, however, the idea that assisting someone to die with a sole purpose of ending their sufferings changed the views of many. People then start to wonder, maybe it’s much more inhumane to let a person live on and suffer from their injuries and illnesses. The root of pro-euthanasia movement started at 1950s however the legalisation of euthanasia was initiated in 1930s in England. Slowly but surely, the practise of euthanasia was introduced and legalised in different countries, starting with Netherlands in 2001.
In hospitals, euthanasia is often done by a physician, which is why it is also called physician-assisted suicide (PAS). Being a doctor means that they face extremely difficult situations where tough decisions have to be made very often every single day – this of course includes putting down the life of a person. It can be a very painful process for both the patient and also the physician. This is because having been taught that being a doctor is “supposed” to save lives and treat patients so that they can be healthy again, doctors can feel a sense of powerlessness and be emotionally impacted when obliged to perform mercy killing on a patient.
Besides ending a person’s suffering for good, there are surprisingly many benefits of euthanasia, depending on each individuals. The choice to end one’s life is entirely up to the patient, this means that they have complete autonomy over their own medical decisions. Furthermore, patients wouldn’t have to go through with the treatment which may be much harder to endure than the disease itself, like chemotherapy. Some people are able to relieve their feelings of absolute dependency on their family members or caregivers through euthanasia, besides that, their financial burden can also be alleviated.
Wether euthanasia is legal or even ethical has been an ongoing debate for decades. Not only euthanasia goes against many beliefs systems and religion, but also many issues surrounding life preservation and the possibilities of alternative treatment other than euthanasia. What if the patient has been misdiagnosed? What if the doctor had made a mistake? Countless what ifs had drove many people to debate against euthanasia and advocate for alternative medical options to lessen a patient’s sufferings. In a matter of life and death, there is absolutely no room for mistakes. In my opinion, I think that we are still far away from the final conclusion of whether euthanisia should be legalised globally or not. Ultimately, I think that it all depends on each individual, their current situation, existing problems and the problems that will arise and how it will impact their lives.
by Tham Rou Win