In the recent year physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia has been the interest of many scholars in sociology, ethical philosophy and criminology. In this regard, euthanasia from etymological meaning from Greek means “good death” However, Macionis (2000) refers to euthanasia as the practice of ending a life in a painless manner. The mode of ending life can be classified as euthanasia by consent. In this form, the euthanasia can be conducted with the patient’s consent or voluntary, while it can also be involuntary where someone makes decision on behalf of the patient basing on circumstances.
Secondly, euthanasia by means can be through non-actively, passively and actively (Macionis 165). However, the contentious issue remains to be whether doctor-assisted suicide should be legalized or not; whether the patient has the right to request for physician assisted suicide or not; and should the physicians when called upon by patients or relatives to patients for euthanasia implement or resist the request. To approach this debate well, there is need to examine both argument for and against legalization of physician-assisted suicide in the context as an ethical dilemma for doctors today.
Some of the fundamental questions that ought to be placed on the argument table as far as this debate is concerned are: Should doctors be allowed to end a patient’s life or accept freely? How far should doctors go to save patient’s life? Should a doctor take an active role in hastening patient’s death? When patient suffering is condition terminal? (Macionis 152)These questions validate the debate and argument to be an ethical dilemma and ethical concern for physician.
On the ground that physician assisted suicide argument is an ethical dilemma, is in the light that there are many conflicting arguments both for and against legalization of doctor-assisted suicide. Therefore, the decision to whether it should be legalized or not shall base on the critical evaluation of these arguments. (p. 203) Sociological arguments for euthanasia The arguments that agitate for legalizing doctor-assisted suicide (Macionis 216) can not be ignored nor can they be easily accepted.
First, the notion of the patient’s Right to self-determination in the sense that the patient empowerment gives him or her the power and control to choice of what he or she wants in relation to her life. For instance, the patient is aware of his or her life and what treatment to get, such questions as” It’s my life, my pain. Why can’t I get the treatment I want? ” render it difficulty to nullify the doctor-assisted suicide. Thus, self determination concept in this debate complicates the patient’s right to life deeming it difficult to support or denounce the practice.
This is because one patient can decide to take treatment of euthanasia or not due to empowerment resulting from self-determination. Second, the Mercy Argument which stipulates that the indignity and immense pain resulting from prolonged suffering cannot be ignored. Therefore, we shall prove to be inhumane to force people to continue suffering in this way, calling for euthanasia as a necessary measure to remain humane. Third, pro doctor-assisted suicide can be supported by advances made by the economics argument. The cost of keeping people alive is exceedingly high in terms of medical care bills.
Many economists view that we shall be wasting precious resources when an already used up life is prolonged unnecessarily. Lastly, the reality argument proposes that the society should legalize doctor-assisted suicide since many people are already doing it (Macionis 2000). Therefore, the society should face it. These arguments are persuasive and prompt us to include doctor-assisted suicide as one of the treatment option. Sociological argument against euthanasia However, on the other side of the coin the argument are considerably substantial to deter thought of legalizing doctor-assisted suicide (Macionis 258).
First, medical personnel are not trained psychiatrists. Therefore, the physicians who are given authority to grant euthanasia wish may not always recognize that the real problem is a treatable depression, rather than the need to fulfill a patient’s death wish. Second, there is a concern about the mechanism to be used in regulating doctor-assisted suicide in order to ensure that the weak, the demented, the vulnerable, the stigmatized-those incapable of consent not to become the unwilling objects of this practice.
Third, there are sometimes occasional miracles that patients do recover, and if their life is terminated hampers recovery by chance or miracle. Fourth, the slippery slope argument state that an acceptable action should not be taken because it may eventually in due course lead to a course of consequent actions that are not acceptable by society. For instance, legalizing doctor-assisted suicide might lead to such events as terminating of disabled elderly due to attitude. Thus, validating this law may turn our right to die to become our duty to die.
Lastly, there is fear of weakening doctor –patient trust as people who rely on their doctors for health guidance may become confused and alarmed. Conclusion Therefore, this matter of physician assisted suicide in relation to patient’s right to live or die is complicated and requires proper consideration to decide whether or not to support. As a result however, I can not neither support reinforcement of doctor assisted suicide nor decline its significance as an intervention to terminal illness based on the arguments for and against.
Rather I choose to propose that its application ought to be based on situation at hand. But on the sober side these debate should wait until the US government guarantees adequate access to health care to all of its citizens. Since without health insurance, terminally ill patients could still end up choosing or be pressured into choosing to prematurely end their lives for financial reasons that is mostly considered in our American and global society. Work cited Macionis, John. Sociology, New York: Prentice Hall, 2000.