Need a perfect paper? Place your first order and save 5% with this code:   SAVE5NOW

Essay on Good Death

It is morally simple to justify helping somebody escape slow and ugly death. That said, putting humanness and personal integrity over biological life and function justifies euthanasia. Euthanasia originates from the Greek word, good death. Either kind of euthanasia- positive or negative could be or might be the right thing to do based on the ethical concept that the highest good is personal integrity and human wellbeing. Active euthanasia is simply helping “the patient die” in contrast to passive euthanasia which is “letting the patient go”. My moral defence for euthanasia justifies active euthanasia. Active euthanasia validates man’s happiness-the happiness brought by dying with dignity.

Contemporary medicine has become the institutional molder of death and the concept of immortality. This is because, modern medicine seeks to discover, control and eradicate illnesses. Owing to medical breakthroughs, doctors have been able to offer curative treatment to patients with acute illnesses. Thus, hospitals not only function as hospices but also as institutions that provide medical, surgical, and curative interventions. The increased prominence of degenerative and late-onset illnesses is secondary to increased life expectancy resulting from societal changes in the modern age. From a medical perspective, active euthanasia is a way of upholding the right to life by honoring the right to die with dignity in patients diagnosed with chronic illnesses. In essence, active euthanasia is a continuation of palliative care.

Advancements in medicine such as palliative care make it morally indefensible to justify negative euthanasia. Significant developments in analgesics and palliative care have promoted the use of interventional and non-interventional pain medicine. This has established a theological and medical ground that addresses suffering in patients diagnosed with degenerative diseases. Additionally, medical practitioners have the duty of care to save life thus not saving life through failing to treat would ordinarily mean death secondary to failure to perform their duty to protect life and health. More importantly, the double effect of euthanasia is not about the emotionally appealing distinction between omission and commission but the justifiability or the clinical outcome. It makes little sense to justify withdrawing life-sustaining treatment such as ventilators, hydration and nutrition as actions done passively.

In active euthanasia, the patient is allowed to end life in a secure, peaceful, and dignified way. Death with dignity ensures respect to autonomy and the elimination of barriers to dignity such as pain. The indirect contribution to death with dignity made by healthcare professionals through active euthanasia ensures that patients with degenerative illnesses gain the strength of character. Death with dignity in the face of indignity gained from active euthanasia is attained from the fact that the patient has control over the dying process and gains an experience of emotional wellbeing. Although death from active euthanasia is fast, it could also be beautiful. Evidently, death with dignity in the face of indignity reminds me of the words of Kahlil Gibran. He mentions the beautiful scenery that surrounds death, “The prairies and fields are disappearing behind a white specter /That looks like the spring cloud, yellow as the candlelight/ And red as the twilight” (Gibran 19-21). The author ends part two- The Ascending, with the words, “I am cloaked in full whiteness;/ I am in comfort; I am in peace” (Gibran 26-27). This signifies the beautiful nature of a peaceful death.

In passive euthanasia, death is slow, ugly death and dehumanizing. The dehumanizing nature of passive euthanasia is a question of whether the end justifies the means. However, it is morally unjustifiable to let someone die a slow and ugly death. Ethical systems that value humanness and personal integrity ahead of biological life and function cannot orally defend passive/negative euthanasia. When medical practitioners cross the line from genuinely acting within their duty of care to prolonging life to only prolonging death they let the patient go. Prolonging death is achieved through judgments such as turning off respirators, stopping life-supporting interventions, countermanding drugs, or canceling surgery.

Bereaved family and friends of patients who die from active euthanasia cope better with respect to grief. The grief experienced after active euthanasia differs from that caused by other unnatural causes of death such as suicide. This is because the bereaved get an opportunity to say goodbye and have last moments with their loved ones. Secondly, the bereaved family and friends are prepared for the cause and day of death. Lastly, the family and friends get the chance to speak openly about death and the grieving process. This level of care and openness simplifies the grieving process.

Grieving death from passive euthanasia is more disturbing and traumatic. It is hard for the bereaved to live with the thoughts that their loved one was simply allowed to die because steps were not taken to preserve or prolong life. When doctors provide life-saving treatment, family, and friends of the patient hope is rekindled. In contrast, when the underlying disease is left to take its natural cause, the dying process is lengthened due to human intervention increasing the risk of traumatic grief owing to failure to support the patient. Additionally, post-traumatic stress disorder can prevail when family members or friends witness passive euthanasia as death is prolonged.


Surely, active euthanasia is truly a good death. “Helping the patient die” in contrast to “letting the patient go” which actually is a fait accompli in contemporary medicine, upholds personal integrity and human wellbeing evidenced by the right to die in dignity. When clinical judgments are made to cross the line from prolonging life and health to prolonging death questions on the grief, moral dignity, and the role of contemporary medicine are raised.

Works Cited

Gibran, Kahlil. “The Beauty of Death Xiv – the Beauty of Death Xiv Poem by Khalil Gibran.” Poem Hunter, 1 Jan. 2004, Accessed 22 Feb. 2022.


Don't have time to write this essay on your own?
Use our essay writing service and save your time. We guarantee high quality, on-time delivery and 100% confidentiality. All our papers are written from scratch according to your instructions and are plagiarism free.
Place an order

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Need a plagiarism free essay written by an educator?
Order it today

Popular Essay Topics