The paper "Active Euthanasia" is an excellent example of an essay on a medical science. I think that euthanasia creates the controversy that it does because it concerns not just the suffering and death of a patient but also society’ s beliefs and views regarding choice, death, and life. Euthanasia comes from the union of two Greek words EU meaning “ well” and Thanatos meaning “ death. ” The idea is that a death free of pain is a good one. Active Euthanasia is particularly controversial because it not only involves allowing someone to die or even giving that same someone the choice to die.
It includes those things but also involves the “ active” furtherance of death on the part of the patient’ s doctor. In my own opinion, though it does depend on the case, active euthanasia should be allowed provided certain criteria are met. In our society, we greatly value the right to choose: how to live, where to live, what to believe, and who to love. In a way, it seems strange that there is so much controversy concerning what is just another choice; though this one is not for life but rather for death.
The criteria, in my opinion, are fairly simple. If the patient has a pre-arranged legal document/agreement with his/her doctor, a so-called “ living will, ” and that same patient should be medically incapacitated due to a terminal illness or condition (be it cancer or a car accident), he/she should be allowed to die. With active euthanasia, this would involve the doctor ‘ actively’ bringing about the patient’ s death because his/her condition, though horribly painful, will not immediately cause death.
The process is “ hastened” by the doctor through the use of drugs. If the patient has such an agreement and the doctor consents, then there should be no problem. If the patient has no pre-existing agreement, then active euthanasia should only be employed if the opinion of more than one doctor is such that the patient is in a great deal of pain and, so as to avoid a slow and painful death, must be administered some sort of pain-killing/life-taking drug(s). This last scenario should only be allowed if, in addition to the requisite doctor’ s approval, the patient’ s family or loved ones also consent.
Since their feelings for the patient being the unique ones that they are, they can ensure that no doctors “ will get carried away. ” This way the right to choice in one’ s life will apply to all of one’ s life, up until the very end.