Analysis: Drawing The Flatline: Separating Euthanasia From Murder

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Drawing The Flatline: Separating Euthanasia from Murder
At the end of their medical school careers, new doctors take an oath that is steeped in one of the oldest moral principles, “though shalt not kill” (Medical Ethics, 7). As a result, one of the most controversial topics within this realm is that of active euthanasia because the direct physician action in patient death strongly resembles murder and breaks the Hippocratic Oath. However, because the oath also notes that treatment should be administered in accordance with the patient’s best interest, the line between euthanasia and murder can become blurred if dying through active euthanasia would provide the least amount of harm to the patient. Moreover, due to the severity and often demoralizing
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Often times, people who consider death as a means to end their suffering do so because they have lost control of the other aspects of their lives, and the decision of when and how they die is the one thing that they have left (Ethics, 210). This is a right unanimously upheld by physicians, as respecting a patient’s wishes, especially if they are soon to be their last, is not something they can deny without compromising the integrity of those that they are treating without their consent (Medical Ethics 12-13). Furthermore, this right is so highly regarded that even Kant who values human life and discredits suicide, argues that independence is imperative in order to establish morality in humanity and therefore must be respected (Ethics, 210). Under this school of thought, cases of euthanasia do not weigh the outcome of death heavily, but rather strive for the action to align with the basic rights of mankind (Ethics, 210). For that reason, active euthanasia not only promotes the patient’s best interests but also respects patient autonomy, both of which are two of the most widely acknowledged principles that guide sound medical decisions as they relate to the …show more content…
The belief is that, by providing the foundation for justification of future killings beyond the realm of medical care, we will create a “slippery slope” by legalizing euthanasia because such acceptance could eventually transform into justification for involuntary euthanasia where people would be killed against their will (Ethics, 203). And while these concerns are valid, they depend largely on the hypothetical “what if”, which is not a concrete basis that should fully prevent legalization of active euthanasia. Moreover, many of these concerns can be alleviated by setting a strict set of legislature that would accompany euthanasia’s legalization, which could eliminate these “what ifs” from becoming a problem altogether. One example of successful completion of euthanasia’s legalization whilst outlining strict guidelines to which the physician must adhere, is Netherlands’ due care requirements (Ethics, 196). In fact, there are no reported cases of involuntary euthanasia to date since its legalization. Therefore, even though the legalization of active euthanasia raises some concerns, by clarifying the strict laws surrounding euthanasia we can mitigate the backlash of its legalization and show that the concerns of a “slippery slope” are

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