Euthanasia is a controversial ethical issue; there are opposing view on this topic. On one hand, euthanasia activist and patient argue to have their right to die when their life is painful. On the other hand, it is argued that euthanasia is morally and religiously wrong despite of the patient’s will to die. Is it right to build euthanasia machine to buffer the pain of the patient?
Euthanasia will encourage patients to end their life with the painless treatment that help relieve their suffering life. However, this may not be the best option for the patients, in modern technology there is always alternative treatment for the disease. For example, a new treatment has been invented this year to cure certain type of terminal cancers. This would prevent the chance of rehabilitation if patients decided to end their life with euthanasia.
From Christianity and Islamic point of view, the value of human life could not be measured by health or intelligence. The patients who are old sick have the equal value to the healthy people. If we do not assist a healthy individual to suicide, why should we assist the patients to end their life. Human should respect life and the intrinsic dignity of others. In other word, euthanasia would violate the sanctity of life of individual religious conviction. Assisting people to end lives are legally considered murder. Therefore, the device aims at killing people should not be constructed as the device is just another sanguinary weapon.
Euthanasia devices may be abused to kill patients against their will. Although some of the serious patients might want to shorten their life as they cannot really withstand the pain, the patients who cannot express their will would lose their right. In the case of Terri Schiavo who was in vegetative state, she was unable to make a conscious choice. She was euthanized based on the point of view of her family and the court. Allowing euthanasia implies that some of the chronic illness patients are worth less than others. This may weaken the society’s respect for the sanctity of life. It is foreseeable that the disabled people, patients or even elderly would be deprived of their right to live by society.
Possible actions to face the dilemma
- Government set up laws to restrict any types of euthanasia.
- A comprehensive system for doctors to examine if the patients are suitable for euthanasia.
- Patients want to euthanasia must need authorized from court.
- Euthanasia could be done when patient is willing to.
Although there is criticism that the euthanasia machine would be used to commit suicide by the patients. However, if there are highly structure laws established by the government, it is unlikely to happen as the machine can be bought by hospitals and used in the hospitals only. A permission from doctors is needed for the patients to use the machine. It is impossible for anyone to operate the machine; just the patient intends to euthanasia only.
Although the medical technologies are flourishing, there are countless of diseases that are incurable. The patients endured chronic disease and congenital disability would experience a rougher life as the patients are confronted by the illness during their life. Euthanasia machines allow the patients to have a choice on their destiny. The British House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics states that euthanasia is “a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering”. Deliverance Machine is one of the euthanasia device which requires patients to answer three questions to proceed, which could ensure the patients intend to end the life at their own will. From a patient point of view, the patient would no longer suffer the pain from their terminal illness.
The economic benefit of euthanasia will be examined through the view of the engineer, the patient and family member, and society.
The engineering stoic point of view is that by not building the machine, there would be a missed opportunity for financial gain. This straightforward point of view argues that the machine would be built by other engineers regardless as it is not a specialised or difficult machine to construct. It should also be noted that this machine has been built before by various professionals hence not building it would be ill-advised. Therefore, from an engineering viewpoint, the building of a euthanasia machine would result in financial gain, not loss.
From a utilitarian point of view, building the machine would free up medical and hospital resource. This would allow the allocation of resource towards patients with curable illnesses. Palliative care of patients could cost from £154 to £1,600 per person while care for cancer patients in their last year could cost more than £14,236. Furthermore, patient care exponentially increases as death approaches. However, it is should be note that this does not take into consideration of emotive cost suffered by the family of the patient. Emotive cost can range from therapy or days missed work following the death of a family member. The emotive cost of family members can be greater than direct medical cost depending on the view of individual family. However, since this argument is centred around voluntary euthanasia for the terminally ill then the emotive cost of the family could be lower as the death is expected. Furthermore, according to the model, if “family member see death as “good” then the cost of euthanasia may go down”. In the elderly, voluntary euthanasia would take the pressure off national pension and the social support budget as well as future medical and hospice care because of the aging population. Therefore, from a utilitarian point of view, voluntary euthanasia has greater benefit in the future.
38: Wai Fung Tsui, Lap Yin Lee, Tsz Hin Kwok, T