Writing your euthanasia research paper would be more difficult for you than a simple essay. Nevertheless, if you know the structure and know what to do in each part of your research, nothing is impossible!
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Secondly, you have to state your thesis. This is very important to make it right, so look for some thesis examples on the web.
Your next step is making an outline. Keep in mind that all the points should correlate to your research paper topic.
Introduction – present your thesis here and explain, in brief, what the main goal of your euthanasia research paper is and why your potential readers should be interested in it.
In your body you have to give all the arguments you have to support your thesis. As it is not an essay, the number of arguments should be much bigger than in your essay on unemployment. Finish your body with the strongest argument you have prepared.
Conclusion – the same as usual: restate the thesis statement and give a short summary of your euthanasia research paper.
Your final task is to organize your notes, make corrections where it is needed and so on. After you do it, type the final draft and your euthanasia research paper is done!
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Legalization of Euthanasia: Advantages and Disadvantages
The intention to deliberately accelerate the death of an incurable patient, even to stop his suffering, has never been unambiguous. The English philosopher Francis Bacon introduced the term euthanasia to denote light painless death, that is, calm and light death, without torment and suffering. Although the very idea of euthanasia originated a long time ago, from the time of Hippocrates to the present day, traditional medical ethics includes a ban: “To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug, nor give advice which may cause his death.” Euthanasia is called any action aimed at putting an end to the life of a person, in pursuit of his/her will, and an uninterested person must do this.
It is worthy to note that the 39th World Medical Assembly adopted the Declaration on euthanasia, which states the following “Euthanasia, as an act of intentional deprivation of life of the patient at his/her request or the request of his/her relatives, is inadmissible, including the form of passive euthanasia. The doctor is obligated to ease the suffering of the dying by all available and legal methods.”
More and more people think that euthanasia is much more humane in some cases than life (Piccirilli Dorsey, Inc.). Nevertheless, it is necessary to find out whether people have the right to decide if someone needs to die or to live further. This question is of interest to both ordinary people and doctors. What is more, it is unlikely that humanity will come to a single denominator in this matter. That is why there are arguments for and against euthanasia.
To start with, the specific reasons for the legalization of euthanasia are as follows. Euthanasia makes it possible to fully exercise the human right to dispose of their lives, including making decisions on the termination of their own lives. Secondly, a person is recognized as the highest value, and consequently, her/his real well-being, the needs and the right to self-determination, the right to freedom, the right to respect for dignity, the right to dignity must be guaranteed and fully guaranteed (Strinic, Visnja). Thirdly, euthanasia provides the implementation of one of the fundamental principles of law, the principle of humanism. Euthanasia is humane because it stops the suffering and torment of an incurably sick person. The state and society must recognize this right not for everyone, but for the sake of the small group of people who need it (Strinic, Visnja). It is also worth noting the point of view of the European Court of Human Rights, which maintains a neutral position on this issue, recognizing the right of the States Parties to autonomy in settlement of euthanasia (“The Right To Assisted Suicide In The Case Law Of The European Court Of Human Rights.”). Analyzing their decisions about euthanasia, it can be seen that, in most cases, the court did not take into account the material aspect of the cases, but resolved them on the basis of violations of the procedural form.
However, it should be recalled that, in fact, in all civilized countries, a murder of compassion persists in practice regardless of whether it is permitted by law or not. The literature indicates that 40% of all deaths of sick people occur as a result of medical decisions made by the physicians about the cessation of life either by refusing treatment or by drugs that accelerate its onset. Consequently, in countries where euthanasia is prohibited, where there is no legal protection against the misuse of euthanasia, the situation is worse. The legalization of euthanasia must go through some scientific, legislative filters that will establish rules, specific criteria and cases when such a right can be realized. The decriminalization of euthanasia is indicated by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in the document “Questions and Answers on Euthanasia” of 10.09.2003, will control this process and restrict it to a clear framework of the law. Only controlled procedures and clear rules for the use of euthanasia will end the arbitrary system existing in many European countries (Assistance To Patients At End Of Life).
Jonathan Van Maren cites twenty arguments against euthanasia (“20 Reasons Why Euthanasia Corrupts Everything It Touches, And Must Be Opposed”). First of all, it is believed that suicide with assistance or euthanasia is death with dignity because it occurs quickly. It turns out that those who do not die quickly die without dignity. Secondly, suicide with the help destroys the appointment of medical institutions: to treat patients, save lives and reduce pain. Adding the killing of patients to the list of “medical services” will become an encroachment on the very essence of medicine. Thirdly, suicide for the help makes people who want to use this “service”, second-class citizens (“20 Reasons Why Euthanasia Corrupts Everything It Touches, And Must Be Opposed”). If a person who does not have depression can not claim to be in a position to die. As for a person with depression, the state actually confirms that life with depression is less valuable. Fourthly, euthanasia requires that the state and medical institutions determine whether a person should live. As a result, people with disabilities become second-class people, because their lives are less valuable than people without disabilities. Parents of disabled children in Belgium are advised to expose children to euthanasia. Euthanasia, translated from the Greek as good death is placed in dependence on the eugenics, in Greek, which means good birth (“20 Reasons Why Euthanasia Corrupts Everything It Touches, And Must Be Opposed”). Just as abortion justifies the killing of unborn children with Down syndrome and other abnormalities, euthanasia is used to kill already-born people, but less sophisticated than others. Fifthly, suicide with assistance erases borders. If someone has a mental illness and has the right to use a suicide hotline, which is funded by the government, there is a stumbling block what doctors should do. The question is to deny a man from death or not. Then, it ups in the mind whether such pressure will be a violation of the new rights of citizens in a state where the government permits murder or not. After all, once they decided that the woman had the right to abort, people immediately began to blame those who tried to discourage women from abortion, in violation of their rights. What is more, suicide for assisting makes suicidal people much more vulnerable, since, having legalized the possibility for a person to kill him-/herself, the government has confirmed that these people should not live. Seventhly, suicide for assistance gives rise to a new definition of the term cure, which now affects deadly poison, issued by a physician with a clear intention to kill a person (“20 Reasons Why Euthanasia Corrupts Everything It Touches, And Must Be Opposed”). Eightly, suicide for assistance creates a new, fictitious right, the right to death. It undermines the right to life, which can not be abandoned, even voluntarily. The right to death is a legal absurdity. Providing the state and courts with the right to legalize murder is an extremely dangerous step that has far-reaching consequences. In the Netherlands, many people are victims of forced euthanasia (“20 Reasons Why Euthanasia Corrupts Everything It Touches, And Must Be Opposed”).
Next to the facts, to provide medical professionals with the legal right to kill, even in limited circumstances, are unreasonable and dangerous. Using this right, people can hide medical negligence or ill treatment. Such precedents have already been in European countries, where euthanasia is legalized. The eleventh against proclaims that children can push their parents so that they take advantage of the new service. Such cases were recorded in the United States and Europe. When people live a long time and spend their savings on themselves, it is easy to predict the reaction of a selfish child who sees her/his dying heritage. The twelfth fact explains that those who advocate the legalization of euthanasia ignore the fact that people may be under pressure and use this service for various reasons. For example, the legalization of euthanasia for children in Belgium ignores the fact that children can be subjected to pressure in opposition to their interests (“20 Reasons Why Euthanasia Corrupts Everything It Touches, And Must Be Opposed”). As a thirteenth against, there is a point that there is little discussion about how the final stage of euthanasia should be carried out. So-called precautionary measures have been illusory or ineffective in all jurisdictions where euthanasia is legalized. It is known that many feel great relief if their suicide attempt was unsuccessful, but anyone can not question the victims of euthanasia or regret their decision.
Moreover, suicide for assistance is based on a secular principle. After death, nothing is possible; suicide does not affect anything. It is very arrogant. If, as Christians believe and practically all of Western civilization up until recently), life after death exists, suicide is an act with enormous moral consequences. Also, suicide for assistance as a moral issue has never been discussed, even on the periphery. Those who seek to legalize euthanasia seem to have simply taken the Axiom’s view that suicide for assistance is a right without making any attempt to formulate a clear philosophy to illustrate why this is so. The sixteenth against proclaims that abuse of euthanasia occurs wherever it is legal. For example, judges in the Netherlands have allowed some families to subject their elderly parents with dementia to euthanasia, despite the fact that the parents themselves have never asked for euthanasia and there was no weighty evidence that they wanted to die. The president of the Exit branch in German-speaking Switzerland Saskia Fry said that “opponents of organized suicide believe that older people are not able to make decisions” (“20 Reasons Why Euthanasia Corrupts Everything It Touches, And Must Be Opposed”). Nevertheless, the elderly person reflects and decides independently. What is more, their close people and relatives are trying to resist the choice of a person to commit suicide. It is worthy to note that older people are much better informed, more autonomous and self-confident than before and called for not underestimating the experience and qualifications of those who help to get out of life. Also, in countries, where legalization of euthanasia exists, the prices for this service increase. In Belgium and the Netherlands every year, a huge number of people die as a result of euthanasia.
The eighteenth against implies specialists in ethics insist that forced euthanasia or rather a murder for children should be legalized. In the Netherlands, this has already happened (Jotkowitz, A B). What is more, suicide for help and euthanasia devalue human life. After all, medical institutions are killing a suffering person as if a domestic animal was slaughtering.
The last but not the least is where the suicide with assistance is legalized, activists of euthanasia push this service into all possible spheres. Their words about some kind of precautionary measures and limited circumstances are an outright lie. The ultimate goal is to provide euthanasia upon the request and without any kind of apology.
It can be said that the only minus of euthanasia is its gloomy coloring in society. It always sprawls on religious dogmas, which can not but offend the feelings of unbelievers who are hungry for it day by day. Also, people are gently saying strange and useless analogies to the past with the naturalness of death and anguish, utterances like one must live (Piccirilli Dorsey, Inc.). The public was obsessed with the cult of life as an absolute good and lost any culture of death. Suicide is not savagery. Wildness is when a man of the 21st century dies as the last beast because of someone’s prejudices. This is nothing but a public opinion that still can not support euthanasia with even half of its votes. To sum up everything that was mentioned above, one should admit that the problem of euthanasia requires criminal legal regulation. As the solution to this, the fate of many hopelessly sick people, who in recent years have been in hospitals, whose physical condition is diagnosed as an intermediate one, between life and death, and the mental one, is helplessness, a state of deep despair.
Assistance To Patients At End Of Life. Parliamentary Assembly Assemblée Parlementaire, 2005. Retrieved 29 August 2017, from http://www.dgpalliativmedizin.de/images/stories/pdf/50209%20PA%20Report%20Marty%20(Doc%2010455).pdf.
“Euthanasia Fact Sheet | The World Federation Of Right To Die Societies.” Worldrtd.Net, 2017. Retrieved 29 August, 2017, from http://www.worldrtd.net/euthanasia-fact-sheet.
Jotkowitz, A B. “The Groningen Protocol: Another Perspective.” Journal Of Medical Ethics, vol 32, no. 3, 2006, pp. 157-158. BMJ. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
Strinic, Visnja. “Arguments In Support And Against Euthanasia.” British Journal Of Medicine And Medical Research, vol 9, no. 7, 2015, pp. 1-12. Sciencedomain International. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
The Hippocratic Oath. [New Haven, Conn.], Journal Of The History Of Medicine And Allied Sciences, Inc., 1996,. Retrieved 29 August 2017
“The Right To Assisted Suicide In The Case Law Of The European Court Of Human Rights..” European Center For Law And Justice, 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017, from https://eclj.org/euthanasia/echr/the-right-to-assisted-suicide-in-the-case-law-of-the-european-court-of-human-rights.
“20 Reasons Why Euthanasia Corrupts Everything It Touches, And Must Be Opposed.” Lifesitenews, 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017, from https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/20-reasons-why-euthanasia-corrupts-everything-it-touches-and-must-be-oppose.
World Medical Association. HANDBOOK OF DECLARATIONS. Ferney-Voltaire, France: The Association, 1992; Document Number 17.P, 1 p.4.
The word euthanasia, originated in Greece means a good death1. Euthanasia encompasses various dimensions, from active (introducing something to cause death) to passive (withholding treatment or supportive measures); voluntary (consent) to involuntary (consent from guardian) and physician assisted (where physician's prescribe the medicine and patient or the third party administers the medication to cause death)2,3. Request for premature ending of life has contributed to the debate about the role of such practices in contemporary health care. This debate cuts across complex and dynamic aspects such as, legal, ethical, human rights, health, religious, economic, spiritual, social and cultural aspects of the civilised society. Here we argue this complex issue from both the supporters and opponents’ perspectives, and also attempts to present the plight of the sufferers and their caregivers. The objective is to discuss the subject of euthanasia from the medical and human rights perspective given the background of the recent Supreme Court judgement3 in this context.
In India abetment of suicide and attempt to suicide are both criminal offences. In 1994, constitutional validity of Indian Penal Code Section (IPC Sec) 309 was challenged in the Supreme Court4. The Supreme Court declared that IPC Sec 309 is unconstitutional, under Article 21 (Right to Life) of the constitution in a landmark judgement4. In 1996, an interesting case of abetment of commission of suicide (IPC Sec 306) came to Supreme Court5. The accused were convicted in the trial court and later the conviction was upheld by the High Court. They appealed to the Supreme Court and contended that ‘right to die’ be included in Article 21 of the Constitution and any person abetting the commission of suicide by anyone is merely assisting in the enforcement of the fundamental right under Article 21; hence their punishment is violation of Article 21. This made the Supreme Court to rethink and to reconsider the decision of right to die. Immediately the matter was referred to a Constitution Bench of the Indian Supreme Court. The Court held that the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution does not include the right to die5.
Regarding suicide, the Supreme Court reconsidered its decision on suicide. Abetment of suicide (IPC Sec 306) and attempt to suicide (IPC Sec 309) are two distinct offences, hence Section 306 can survive independent of Section 309. It has also clearly stated that a person attempts suicide in a depression, and hence he needs help, rather than punishment. Therefore, the Supreme Court has recommended to Parliament to consider the feasibility of deleting Section 309 from the Indian Penal Code3.
Arguments against euthanasia
Eliminating the invalid: Euthanasia opposers argue that if we embrace ‘the right to death with dignity’, people with incurable and debilitating illnesses will be disposed from our civilised society. The practice of palliative care counters this view, as palliative care would provide relief from distressing symptoms and pain, and support to the patient as well as the care giver. Palliative care is an active, compassionate and creative care for the dying6.
Constitution of India: ‘Right to life’ is a natural right embodied in Article 21 but suicide is an unnatural termination or extinction of life and, therefore, incompatible and inconsistent with the concept of ‘right to life’. It is the duty of the State to protect life and the physician's duty to provide care and not to harm patients. If euthanasia is legalised, then there is a grave apprehension that the State may refuse to invest in health (working towards Right to life). Legalised euthanasia has led to a severe decline in the quality of care for terminally-ill patients in Holland7. Hence, in a welfare state there should not be any role of euthanasia in any form.
Symptom of mental illness: Attempts to suicide or completed suicide are commonly seen in patients suffering from depression8, schizophrenia9 and substance users10. It is also documented in patients suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder11. Hence, it is essential to assess the mental status of the individual seeking for euthanasia. In classical teaching, attempt to suicide is a psychiatric emergency and it is considered as a desperate call for help or assistance. Several guidelines have been formulated for management of suicidal patients in psychiatry12. Hence, attempted suicide is considered as a sign of mental illness13.
Malafide intention: In the era of declining morality and justice, there is a possibility of misusing euthanasia by family members or relatives for inheriting the property of the patient. The Supreme Court has also raised this issue in the recent judgement3. ‘Mercy killing’ should not lead to ‘killing mercy’ in the hands of the noble medical professionals. Hence, to keep control over the medical professionals, the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002 discusses euthanasia briefly in Chapter 6, Section 6.7 and it is in accordance with the provisions of the Transplantation of Human Organ Act, 199414. There is an urgent need to protect patients and also medical practitioners caring the terminally ill patients from unnecessary lawsuit. Law commission had submitted a report (no-196) to the government on this issue15.
Emphasis on care: Earlier majority of them died before they reached the hospital but now it is converse. Now sciences had advanced to the extent, life can be prolonged but not to that extent of bringing back the dead one. This phenomenon has raised a complex situation. Earlier diseases outcome was discussed in terms of ‘CURE’ but in the contemporary world of diseases such as cancer, Aids, diabetes, hypertension and mental illness are debated in terms best ‘CARE’, since cure is distant. The principle is to add life to years rather than years to life with a good quality palliative care. The intention is to provide care when cure is not possible by low cost methods. The expectation of society is, ‘cure’ from the health professionals, but the role of medical professionals is to provide ‘care’. Hence, euthanasia for no cure illness does not have a logical argument. Whenever, there is no cure, the society and medical professionals become frustrated and the fellow citizen take extreme measures such as suicide, euthanasia or substance use. In such situations, palliative and rehabilitative care comes to the rescue of the patient and the family. At times, doctors do suggest to the family members to have the patient discharged from the hospital wait for death to come, if the family or patient so desires. Various reasons are quoted for such decisions, such as poverty, non-availability of bed, futile intervention, resources can be utilised for other patients where cure is possible and unfortunately majority of our patient's family do accordingly. Many of the terminally ill patients prefer to die at home, with or without any proper terminal health care. The societal perception needs to be altered and also the medical professionals need to focus on care rather in addition to just cure. The motive for many euthanasia requests is unawareness of alternatives. Patients hear from their doctors that ‘nothing can be done anymore’. However, when patients hear that a lot can be done through palliative care, that the symptoms can be controlled, now and in the future, many do not want euthanasia anymore16.
Commercialisation of health care: Passive euthanasia occurs in majority of the hospitals across the county, where poor patients and their family members refuse or withdraw treatment because of the huge cost involved in keeping them alive. If euthanasia is legalised, then commercial health sector will serve death sentence to many disabled and elderly citizens of India for meagre amount of money. This has been highlighted in the Supreme Court Judgement3,17.
Research has revealed that many terminally ill patients requesting euthanasia, have major depression, and that the desire for death in terminal patients is correlated with the depression18. In Indian setting also, strong desire for death was reported by 3 of the 191 advanced cancer patients, and these had severe depression19. They need palliative and rehabilitative care. They want to be looked after by enthusiastic, compassionate and humanistic team of health professionals and the complete expenses need to be borne by the State so that ‘Right to life’ becomes a reality and succeeds before ‘Right to death with dignity’. Palliative care actually provides death with dignity and a death considered good by the patient and the care givers.
Counterargument of euthanasia supporters
Caregivers burden: ‘Right-to-die’ supporters argue that people who have an incurable, degenerative, disabling or debilitating condition should be allowed to die in dignity. This argument is further defended for those, who have chronic debilitating illness even though it is not terminal such as severe mental illness. Majority of such petitions are filed by the sufferers or family members or their caretakers. The caregiver's burden is huge and cuts across various domains such as financial, emotional, time, physical, mental and social. Hence, it is uncommon to hear requests from the family members of the person with psychiatric illness to give some poison either to patient or else to them. Coupled with the States inefficiency, apathy and no investment on health is mockery of the ‘Right to life’.
Refusing care: Right to refuse medical treatment is well recognised in law, including medical treatment that sustains or prolongs life. For example, a patient suffering from blood cancer can refuse treatment or deny feeds through nasogastric tube. Recognition of right to refuse treatment gives a way for passive euthanasia. Many do argue that allowing medical termination of pregnancy before 16 wk is also a form of active involuntary euthanasia. This issue of mercy killing of deformed babies has already been in discussion in Holland20.
Right to die: Many patients in a persistent vegetative state or else in chronic illness, do not want to be a burden on their family members. Euthanasia can be considered as a way to upheld the ‘Right to life’ by honouring ‘Right to die’ with dignity.
Encouraging the organ transplantation: Euthanasia in terminally ill patients provides an opportunity to advocate for organ donation. This in turn will help many patients with organ failure waiting for transplantation. Not only euthanasia gives ‘Right to die’ for the terminally ill, but also ‘Right to life’ for the organ needy patients.
Constitution of India reads ‘right to life’ is in positive direction of protecting life. Hence, there is an urgent need to fulfil this obligation of ‘Right to life’ by providing ‘food, safe drinking water and health care’. On the contrary, the state does not own the responsibility of promoting, protecting and fulfilling the socio-economic rights such as right to food, right to water, right to education and right to health care, which are basic essential ingredients of right to life. Till date, most of the States has not done anything to support the terminally ill people by providing for hospice care.
If the State takes the responsibility of providing reasonable degree of health care, then majority of the euthanasia supporters will definitely reconsider their argument. We do endorse the Supreme Court Judgement that our contemporary society and public health system is not matured enough to handle this sensitive issue, hence it needs to be withheld. However, this issue needs to be re-examined again after few years depending upon the evolution of the society with regard to providing health care to the disabled and public health sector with regard to providing health care to poor people.
The Supreme Court judgement to withhold decision on this sensitive issue is a first step towards a new era of health care in terminally ill patients. The Judgment laid down is to preserve harmony within a society, when faced with a complex medical, social and legal dilemma. There is a need to enact a legislation to protect terminally ill patients and also medical practitioners caring for them as per the recommendation of Law Commission Report-19615. There is also an urgent need to invest in our health care system, so that poor people suffering from ill health can access free health care. Investment in health care is not a charity; ‘Right to Health’ is bestowed under ‘Right to Life’ of our constitution.
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