Paper 2 - Grant 1 Myron Grant K. Eidsvik English 1102 (TR:...

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Grant 1 Myron Grant K. Eidsvik English 1102 (TR: 11-12:15pm) 25 March 2010 “First, Do No Harm” Euthanasia, the medical act of painlessly ending a life, is Greek for “good death.” It almost seems ironic that Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine” and the author of the titular quote, spoke Greek. However, the controversy surrounding euthanasia transcends irony and semantics, but has rather become tangled in a web of ethics and morality. In this paper, only the former idea will be addressed, as the latter concept is more or less a matter of opinion and a product of upbringing, religion, and other social factors. Before I digress any further, it must be noted that I am firmly against euthanasia. The ethics of euthanasia are complex, intricate, and often a source of contention between politicians, doctors, and family members. I have no desire to complicate this debate, only to contribute an analytical (although biased) view of euthanasia. An unknown author once said, “ If you murder an innocent man you are responsible for the blood of his unborn descendants, and the weight of this responsibility is yours to carry to the end of time .” Euthanasia is illegal in America, as it is in most nations of the world. The simplest reason for this global trend is that euthanasia is tantamount to murder. Despite the reasons for its commission and despite our capacity to justify it: murder is murder and has implications that transcend the loss of human life. In fact, about 75% of doctors who have performed euthanasia feel some semblance of regret and doubt; others feel weighed down with such an enormous
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Grant 2 responsibility; and just as many are troubled by the incompatibility of euthanasia with their religion (Finlay, 2005). The American Medical Association agrees, stating that euthanasia is a blatant contradiction to the doctor’s role as “healer” and that euthanasia is ethically prohibitive, meaning that it is medically unethical (Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, 2229-233). In sum, euthanasia amounts to murder and is as emotionally taxing to the living as it is physically pernicious to the dead. The question of how one should die is clouded by ambiguity. No one doubts that living with a terminal illness or in a persistent vegetative state is tough. In some cases, the pain is unbearable, and the misery endured by the patient and their family is unimaginably extreme. However, these reasons are not sufficient enough to encourage, undergo, or implement euthanasia. The field of medicine progresses rapidly, with new medications, treatments, and technology developing virtually overnight. “Severe, chronic pain can result in helplessness and hopelessness - two mental states that can lead to suicide” (Angarola and Joranson, 1992). Thus, it is fair to say that pain and desperation may encourage a patient to seek euthanasia. It is also fair to ask the question, “Will this person be as accepting of death if and when the pain subsides?” Unfortunately, the dead ask no questions. That is, in the midst of this unbearable pain, death is
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This note was uploaded on 03/18/2011 for the course ENGL 1102 taught by Professor Sams during the Spring '08 term at Georgia State University, Atlanta.

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Paper 2 - Grant 1 Myron Grant K. Eidsvik English 1102 (TR:...

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