Definition of Euthanasia
Euthanasia is the practice of intentionally ending the life of a person. It is usually done to relieve suffering or alleviate pain. In Medical terms, euthanasia is defined as the termination of life by a doctor in cases where it is considered unavoidable or justifiable, if there is no reasonable alternative, and if it can be done without causing harm to others (Cioffi, 2019). In Bioethical terms, euthanasia is the deliberate taking of human life by someone who performs or procures such an act with malice.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering are often viewed as negative things in our world today, but the Bible has a different perspective on the issue. Pain and suffering are not inherently bad or good; rather, they can be used to help us grow spiritually. However, pain and suffering are used to test our faith and endurance. For example, Job suffered greatly at the hands of his friends and family because he refused to break under pressure (Cioffi, 2018). He trusted in God’s sovereignty over it all, which led him through many trials that ultimately strengthened his faith in God.
Physician-Assisted Death ( PAD)
The definition of Physician-Assisted Death ( PAD) is the act of a physician prescribing a lethal dose of medication to be administered to a patient, usually at their request. It is generally defined as the termination of life by medical assistance in dying (MAID). A majority of philosophers have argued that physicians are unethical to help patients end their lives. They argue that there are many reasons why doing so would be unethical. In addition, several laws protect individuals from being coerced into committing suicide or euthanasia, including the Eighth Amendment and the Suicide Prevention Act (SPA). These laws protect individuals from being coerced into committing suicide or euthanasia and require doctors to provide care for patients instead of choosing death for them. Some people believe we should have the right to end our lives if we choose. They can choose to end their lives naturally or end them artificially by taking a lethal dose of medication prescribed by their doctor.
Better Alternatives To PAS
Hospice is a care program designed to provide palliative and supportive care to individuals with an incurable diseases. It is a collaborative team effort involving health professionals, family members, and other caregivers. Hospice can be used with curative treatment or as a primary option for treating serious illnesses. Palliative care is provided to help relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with chronic illness, typically those experiencing greater than moderate pain or significant discomfort. In some cases, palliative care may be provided at the end of life to help extend life span or improve quality of life (Cioffi, 2019). Palliative care may be provided as part of hospice services if no curative treatment is available.
In contrast to hospice care, terminal sedation is a type of medical intervention used by physicians to help relieve suffering in patients who have an incurable disease and are near death. Terminal sedation may include administering medications such as morphine sulfate or propofol so that patients do not feel pain.
In this case study, the Hemlock Society was founded in the early 1900s. They were known for their anti-prohibition stance and their work in helping people end their lives at home (physician-assisted death or PAD). The Canadian Supreme Court ruled that assisted suicide was a constitutional right, which resulted in the organization dissolving.
Dr. Kevorkian became famous for providing a plea for himself to help terminally ill patients end their lives at home rather than go through painful hospital visits where they could be given drugs that would allow them to die. His notoriety grew after he helped hundreds of patients die by administering them lethal doses of painkillers. Dr. Kevorkian’s actions were considered murder by several states. They brought him into conflict with the law repeatedly over many years until finally being sentenced to 10-25 years in prison for manslaughter charges relating to assisting suicides.
Brittany Maynard went public with her decision to end her life after learning that she had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). She advocated for legalizing physician-assisted suicide throughout her life and gave an interview before taking her own life. Therefore, the case studies above demonstrate how these three individuals faced similar challenges in their efforts to end their lives peacefully.
Summary of ERD
The Catholic Church teaches that euthanasia is an action or omission that causes death to alleviate suffering. Catholic health care institutions may never condone or participate in euthanasia or assisted suicide. Dying patients who request euthanasia should receive loving care and psychological and spiritual support to live with dignity until natural death. Euthanasia is not a simple medical procedure. It involves professional medical care provided by specially trained physicians who follow the best practices of medicine at all times and never allow themselves to be influenced by their feelings or religious beliefs. The Church’s teachings are based on Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and Reason; therefore, medical personnel must not assist in any way with a patient’s decision to request euthanasia or assisted suicide.
Cioffi, A. (2019, March 30). BIO 603 EUTH PAS 3 30 19 [Video file]. Retrieved from BOI603 EUTH PAS 3 30 19
Cioffi, A. (2018, March 24). BIO 603 3 24 18 [Video file]. Retrieved from 18https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yxIRjW9x7w&t=3437s