Essay: Physician-Assisted Suicide, and Active Euthanasia

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[. . .] Dissenting Views

According to Mappes and DeGrazia, Callahan is convinced that a clear distinction exists between allowing to die and killing (399). One of the perspectives that Callahan uses to defend his assertion is the medical view. According to Callahan, physicians have a historical role to use the knowledge they possess to comfort and/or cure patients as opposed to bringing about their death (Mappes and DeGrazia 401). Thus in seeking to exercise that role, physicians must not do anything that can prematurely end the life of a patient. Callahan's assertion in this case conflicts with one of Brock's proposals in regard to when euthanasia should be allowed. In the opinion of Brock, as far as the well-being of an individual is concerned, a patient should be granted his or her request for euthanasia if such a patient's life becomes unbearable as a result of a critical illness (Mappes and DeGrazia 402). For instance, for some critically ill patients, further treatment may cease to make sense. This is more so the case in those instances where an illness is accompanied by a great deal of pain. Callahan is however adamant that even in such a case, the doctor's role should be limited to keeping such a patient comfortable.

A Response to the Objection

It is however important to note that although valid, Callahan's assertion in this case is largely one-sided i.e. It fails to take into consideration the agony of a patient suffering from a miserable chronic illness that ends up making his life unbearable. Callahan seems to recommend that a condition be let to assume its own course. This in my opinion does not seem to reconcile with his assertion to the effect that the key role of doctors should be to comfort as well as cure patients (Mappes and DeGrazia 401). However, can watching a patient struggling with an incurable disease that visits an unimaginable pain and discomfort on him or her be regarded part of the said care and comfort? I am convinced that in those instances where patients have explicitly requested for euthanasia based on the agony they are suffering or going through, the same should not be denied to them. This in my opinion amounts to guaranteeing the well-being of such patients. This is the real essence of care i.e. easing the suffering of patients. Anything contrary to that is in my opinion not only unjust but also insensitive to the well-being of the suffering patients.

Works Cited

Mappes, Thomas A., and David DeGrazia, eds. Biomedical Ethics. 6th… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Physician-Assisted Suicide, and Active Euthanasia.  (2012, July 21).  Retrieved December 11, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/physician-assisted-suicide-active/629272

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"Physician-Assisted Suicide, and Active Euthanasia."  Essaytown.com.  July 21, 2012.  Accessed December 11, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/physician-assisted-suicide-active/629272.