Essay Example on Medical advances have increased the possibilities of prolonging Life








Medical advances have increased the possibilities of prolonging life and managing symptoms of terminally ill patients Rietjens Van der Heide Onwuteaka Philipsen Van der Maas Van der Wal 2006 Extending life however may not always be the most appropriate goal for incurably ill patients and hastening of death may actually be the desired goal of care for example in the case of euthanasia Palermo 1995 defined active euthanasia as the killing of a patient by a physician who usually believes the patient to be terminally ill and in agonizing pain Physician assisted suicide is performed to end psychological or physiological suffering to a person who desires to commit suicide Worthen Yeatts 2000 2001 The issue of euthanasia and assisted dying have continued to be controversial and have raised many medical legal and ethical questions Kopp 2008 2009 There is no middle ground or strong consensus because Euthanasia is viewed as both an immoral crime and an act of moral compassion Proulx Jacelon 2004 Interestingly while members of the medical profession debate the ethics of assisted suicide public support for legalizing euthanasia has been increasing Palermo 1995 One reason why physicians as compared to the general population are more opposed to assisted suicide may be the burden of responsibility associated with it Lindblad Lofmark Lynoe 2009 Additionally doctors also may have a paternalistic view believing that they always know what is best for the patient Lindblad et al 2009 A common argument against euthanasia is that it could threaten patients trust in the medical services Lindblad et al 2009 However research by Lindblad et al 2009 found no evidence for the assumption that trust would be jeopardized if physician assisted suicide were to be legalized On the contrary actions stressing patients autonomy would possibly result in an increased trust in the medical care Lindblad et al 2009

Another argument against legalizing physician assisted suicide is that a person who is requesting aid in dying may be suffering from a mental health disorder that might be impairing their judgment Werth Holdwick 2000 Clinical depression and other mental health illnesses have association with higher rates of suicide and depression is very common among terminally ill individuals Werth Holdwick 2000 The prevalence of suicidal thoughts is higher among those cancer patients who experience emotional distress Walker et al 2008 Before considering assisted suicide as an option mental health professionals should definitely evaluate and provide treatment for any present mental disorders Werth Holdwick 2000 Through their interventions they can help improve the quality of life of the dying person reduce the risk of suicide and possibly delay the option of euthanasia Werth Holdwick 2000 In some parts of the world euthanasia is legal and widely accepted The Greek roots of euthanasia lead to its meaning of a good death Palermo 1995 Granda Cameron Houldin 2012 suggested that the definition of good death may vary from person to person To some euthanasia is an acceptable option to achieve the desired characteristics of a good death such as dying without pain with dignity and maintaining control Granda Cameron Houldin 2012 Many people are concerned that they might receive burdensome treatments that are not consistent with their preferences Rietjens et al 2006 Results of a study by Proulx Jacelon 2004 indicated that human dignity is largely lost when the life of a terminally ill person is prolonged by technology

We cannot know what dying with dignity means for any given individual unless we take the time to ask and listen In order to experience dignity in death dying patients must have a voice to choose the circumstances of their death according to what matters most to them Proulx Jacelon 2004 Research by Rietjens et al 2006 indicated that the large majority of the Dutch general public considers dying painlessly important for good death Patients with advanced cancer AIDS and Motor Neurone Disease report a higher likelihood to choose euthanasia as an option when compared to patients with other advanced incurable illnesses Hudson et al 2006 Pain is one of the most common symptoms in cancer patients and it is likely the major reason for patients to want to end their suffering Mori Elsayem Reddy Bruera Fadul 2012 Palliative measures can effectively relieve severe pain Mori et al 2012 The number of physician assisted deaths in the Netherlands has recently decreased probably due to an adequate palliative care Lindblad et al 2009 However euthanasia and physician assisted suicide still account for 1 8 of all deaths in the Netherlands indicating that there is suffering related to terminal illness that cannot be sufficiently relieved by palliative measures Lindblad et al 2009 Research by Granda Cameron Houldin 2012 found that patients still frequently die in hospitals with poor quality of life poor pain and symptom management Euthanasia is meant to cause death without feeling pain and to end suffering Palermo 1995 No two people share the same life story and personal values it is not possible to develop a universal best way to die that honors and upholds dignity for all Proulx Jacelon 2004 The right to die movement prioritizes patient s autonomy in decision making Granda Cameron Houldin 2012 While clearly not suitable for all in the future euthanasia may become a choice for increasing numbers of dying patients Proulx Jacelon 2004

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