Can the principle of autonomy be used to challenge euthanasia? Some argue that the simple interpretation of autonomy, which says you have the freedom to let another person step in to take your life, is a contradiction to what autonomy means – that what you actually do gives your freedom. The other view is that euthanasia is not primarily a private matter. It is a public or social action that involves others, and so it is something that should be treated as a form of public action. In fact, this has been done to some extent, either by formally expanding the categories of persons authorized for euthanasia or by vaguely applying the criteria by personnel involved in the administration of euthanasia. Belgium, for example, abolished the age limit for euthanasia in 2014; Euthanasia has extended beyond the line originally drawn by Dutch law to patients considered legally and mentally incompetent, and the possibility of extending it to those who are not terminally ill but consider their lives complete. severe psychological pain in an otherwise healthy person was considered sufficient grounds for requesting euthanasia; and researchers have found cases of involuntary euthanasia in the form of ending the lives of disabled infants in the Netherlands. Another challenge for a euthanasia system would be to recognize whether patients who request death have the legal right to make that decision. Keep in mind that any request for suicide from a patient with clinical depression is generally classified as a manifestation of this mental disorder and is therefore unable to do so. It is probably impossible to separate natural responses to incurable diseases and clinical depression. In fact, there is evidence that between 25% and 77% of patients with an incurable illness are affected by major depressive disorder [16, 17]. Any euthanasia protocol must first determine what is considered a “fit mental state” for an incurable patient. Derek Humphry Let me explain how I came to the subject of euthanasia. In 1974, my first wife, Jean, died of bone cancer.
A thrombosis had set in, her bones had ruptured and she had lost control of her intestines. One day, after a very close confrontation with death, she sat in her hospital bed and said, “Will you help me die?” That`s when I discovered the subject of euthanasia; on the other side of my late wife`s hospital bed. It seems to me that, as with the opposition based on whether the physician is “active,” the argument that physicians should only be “healers” focuses too much on the physician and not enough on the patient. When healing is no longer possible, when death is imminent and patients find their suffering unbearable, then the physician`s role should shift from healing to alleviating suffering according to the patient`s wishes. Nevertheless, no physician should have to comply with a request for assistance in dying from a terminally ill patient, just as no patient should be compelled to make such a request. It must be a choice for both the patient and the doctor. In short, the only human choice is to allow suffering people to choose to end their suffering. In addition, discrepancies between existing laws and how they are applied have created uncertainty.
This uncertainty leaves doctors, their patients and loved ones unprotected. If we do not address these issues openly and directly, we will continue to have uncertainty and unregulated practices of euthanasia or assisted suicide, with the fear of prosecution hanging over the heads of all parties involved. Station B, Tate P: Attitudes among NHS doctors towards euthanasia applications. BMJ. 1994, 308: 1332- 10.1136/bmj.308.6940.1332 The truth is that assisted suicide as public policy is full of loopholes and dangerous consequences, especially for the weak in our society. We should reject laws that legalize this practice. “There are people telling me why you`re doing this [advocating for PAS], you`re supposed to heal, you`re supposed to help this person, my response to that is that some people need assistance in dying. Prolonging a death in some cases is not helpful, it can be counterproductive.
My goal is not to go against the Hippocratic Oath, I help people, people like my daughter [Emily, who died at 25 after a 17-year battle with leukemia], who need help at the end of life. What stimulated me was that on two occasions, when she was clear and competent, Emily asked me to give her enough sleeping pills so that she could fall asleep permanently. She was blind but bedridden and had to be carried, but her mind was still competent. If I had known it`s legal in five other states… And if I had understood what their desires were, I would have gone immediately [to go into a legal state]. The refusal of euthanasia honors the sanctity of life and the equal, undervalued and intrinsic moral worth of all people, including the weakest, who can no longer contribute to society – principles that so many other laws circumvent. “The question is whether the state of California should continue to criminalize the fact that a dying person takes their own life, no matter how much pain and suffering they may have.