Discussing Euthanasia, more commonly known as mercy killing.

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Should Euthanasia be Legalised?         Matthew Williams



Euthanasia, more commonly known as ‘mercy killing’, is a contentious issue that is debated more and more these days.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines euthanasia as `a gentle and easy death: bringing about of this, especially in the case of an incurable and painful disease`. Euthanasia would usually be the injection of a lethal dose of medication administered by a doctor. In this essay I intend to explore the various arguments surrounding euthanasia and I will put forward my reasons for claiming that euthanasia is morally unacceptable.

One of the more common arguments in support of euthanasia is that it stops the pain of the terminally ill sufferer once and for all, so called ‘mercy killing’. Some people argue that if a patient were in a lot of pain and distress it would be better to give them an `easy` and humane death. While this may be acceptable for a sick and dying dog, I ask you, is it really an acceptable way to treat a human?

On the other hand there are often others, especially in the Hospice movement who maintain that if given the right treatment sufferers do not need to endure pain. They also argue that with the proper care and attention terminally ill patients can be helped to `die with dignity`. In this country there are over 150 hospices that care for people with conditions such as cancer and AIDS. Teams of nurses, highly skilled in pain relief, staff these hospices. They help the patient both physically and psychologically; hospices can even cure people who were originally thought to be incurable. In fact up to two-thirds of patients leave hospices alive.  

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Those who advocate the use of Euthanasia argue that not only does it end the suffering of the patient but it also permits their relatives to get on with their lives earlier and put an end to the constant worry. There is no doubt relatives do have to go through a lot of pain and distress as well. They have to go through the trauma of watching their loved ones dying which must be a dreadful experience. Someone who knows all about this is Clem Lewis who had to endure the ordeal of watching his wife die of dementia. ...

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