The problem of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide has been discussed since 5th century B.C. in ancient Greece and Rome (Historical Timeline, 2013). Now, over 2400 years have passed since then and there is still no certain opinion on the subject. First of all, because the euthanasia is stopping a human-being’s life, which is strictly forbidden all over the world, including the United States. Second of all, it interferes with the Hippocratic Oath as the oldest code of honor for every physician in the world. The answer lies in achieving the right balance between Pros and Cons of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. It is well known that bioethical principles are to be developed through discussion of the problem. That is why it is important to reveal some of the most important aspects hiding at the other side of the cone that is not often discussed and reported about.
According to Gallup Poll, Angelfire, Nightingale Alliance, total rate of people supporting euthanasia is about 42%, including 28% of strong supporters; 22% are unsure (Statistic Brain, 2012). As shown by statistic studies, the society is loyal enough to accept euthanasia, and they seem to have different strong reasons to support it. First of all, while talking about humane principles bioethics is based on, it is important to consider not only the price of human being’s life, but also its quality related to person’s emotions and feelings. Most of the people would refuse to be an encumbrance for their family in case of fatal disease. Average percent of terminally ill patients who die in pain is 55% (Statistic Brain, 2012). It has been researched and proven with the help of physiological and psychological tests that the fact of unbearable suffering is present in all the patients requesting euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (Dees MK, Vernooij-Dassen MJ, Dekkers WJ, Vissers KC, van Weel C., 2011). A person in pain which is expected to never end is determined to suffer without any hope to recover. One can hardly consider letting a person die in that kind of circumstances as an act of humanity.
Another important obvious fact is the economical inefficacy of life-supporting in terminally ill patients. Approximate cost of drugs for assisted suicide is $35, while the cost of health care provided to a terminally ill patient with no estimated chance of surviving is one thousand times higher (Economic Aspects of Euthanasia, 2011). The question is if it is rational enough to spend a lot of funds on supporting terminally ill patients rather than treating those who can be saved. If all the states of the USA legalized euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, the government could save a significant amount of funds.
Following the aspects mentioned above, allowing euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide would not be an easy step for the government, but would be the most rational one. This would honor a person’s will to choose the comfortable death rather than unbearable suffering due to severe pain combined with physical inability. Besides, it is much more rational concerning economics and healthcare funding. Although it is clear, that before the patient applies for euthanasia it is necessary to analyze the case thoroughly to state 100% chance of fatal outcome, but if it is proven with sufficient amount of medical evidences, the right to choose is the right for dignity.
Dees MK, Vernooij-Dassen MJ, Dekkers WJ, Vissers KC, van Weel C. (2011) ‘Unbearable suffering’: a qualitative study on the perspectives of patients who request assistance in dying. Journal of medical ethics.
Economic Aspects of Euthanasia. (2011) Retrieved from http://www.life.org.nz
Historical Timeline. (2013) Retrieved from http://euthanasia.procon.org
Statistic Brain. (2012) Retrieved from http://www.statisticbrain.com