Euthanasia: A Critical Analysis of the Physician's Role
Abstract (Summary)Sometimes relatives have taken me on one side and told me they cannot bear it any more:"Isn't there something you can do to end it all?"More often requests for euthanasia have come from those who are ill. I remember visiting a man with lung cancer. He asked his wife to leave the room. As she closed the door he leaned over and grabbed my arm. "I want to die", he said. "Please can you give me something." He felt a burden on his wife and wanted euthanasia for himself .Often in their duty, physicians are faced with euthanasia requests of this kind. Death is the inevitable fate of all humans but how we die is an issue of great concern for many of us. Fear of pain, loss of control and being a burden to our loved ones are common issues surrounding dying and death of patients. This has led to varying circumstances of patients’ death, and of a significant remark, the involvement of physicians in bringing about these deaths through an act of euthanasia. Euthanasia involves the intentional killing of a patient by the direct intervention of a physician (or another party) ostensibly for the good of the patient, and the most common form that this comes is through lethal injection. The ethics of euthanasia and of a physicians’ involvement have been a contentious issue from the beginnings of medicine. This for the most part is as a result that the ethical code of physicians has long been based in part on the Hippocratic Oath, which requires physicians to “do no harm”. Thus, the focus of this work will be to look into the role of the physician in ending a patient’s life through the act of euthanasia. Although necessary but not a central point of this work to merely develop arguments for and against the justification of euthanasia and a physician’s involvement in the act, but to critically view the role played by physicians in ending the life of patients through euthanasia in contrast with their medical obligation. The issue of euthanasia raises ethical questions for physicians. Is it morally right or wrong for a physician to end the life of his or her patient? And this therefore will be the focus of this work.
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/01/2005