ethics

ethics - 1 Lauryn Soorani Religion 140 Alvin Rudisill Mercy...

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Lauryn Soorani Religion 140, Alvin Rudisill April 23, 2009 Mercy Killing and its Ethical Implications As the medical world has advanced, humans have been given the ability to perform procedures that not all consider to be ethically sound. While voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide [or mercy killing ] , is a practice supported by some, it is surrounded by a great deal of controversy. From a theological perspective, both suicide and murder are considered to be graven acts against God. Thus, physician assisted-suicide and euthanasia (viewed as a form of murder) are morally impermissible. Furthermore, many religions teach that humans do not have the right to interfere with the natural process of life and death. Other critics fear that patients may opt for euthanasia or physician assisted suicide when their suffering could have been cured or that they will make their choice during a time of mental incompetence brought of by their pain and suffering. Given the high cost of medical care, some worry that patients may consent to such procedures not because they wanted to, but because they were under pressure from family members. Though these are all issues of great ethical importance that must be addressed, one must also consider the cruelty involved in denying an individual, whose quality of life has deteriorated to an extreme extent, the right to do what they find in their best interest. If legalized with strict limitations, euthanasia and physician assisted suicide 1
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will allow individuals to free themselves from extreme suffering while still maintaining a certain level of dignity. While many consider voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide to be an act of murder, one must consider the quality of life of the person opting for either procedure. When plagued with an incurable and unbearably painful disease or an incapacitating disorder, requesting euthanasia or assisted suicide is, for many, a means of maintaining dignity when they no longer find their lives worth living. An analysis of the neurodegenerative disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease) provides an example of an incurable and often fatal disease that so severely deteriorates the quality of an individual’s life that choosing death becomes an understandable option. As a progressive disease, the symptoms at the onset of ALS are often minor and easily missed. It begins with the atrophication and/or weakening of the muscles, followed by stiffness, cramping, and twitching as a result of muscle death. In some cases, speech impairment is experienced. The progression of the disease varies depending on the individual but as it does, muscle atrophy and weakness spread to multiple parts of the body and the patient will find it harder and harder to speak, move, and even swallow. Eventually, they will lose the use of their arms and hands along with the ability to stand and walk. Once muscle weakness reaches the ribcage and diaphragm
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ethics - 1 Lauryn Soorani Religion 140 Alvin Rudisill Mercy...

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