Articles > Ethics > On Euthanasia and the Prolonging of Life

On Euthanasia and the Prolonging of Life

Published by Chapster on 2002/12/18 (7356 reads)
As those who work with the elderly, we are staunchly against the practice of euthanasia. However, we are also deeply troubled by the view that death is something to fix. With the Industrial Age, we began to feel we could fix everything, including death. We can't and we shouldn't. Death is as natural as life.

We have seen many people being kept alive, if one can call it life, with endless doses of antibiotics, feeding tubes, amputations, resuscitations, and repeated surgeries. Often they are not able to interact well (if at all), enjoy life, or participate in life in any meaningful fashion. They are the equivalent of human stick figures. Unless they have indicated they wanted all available means used to save them, this is wrong.

In our experience, if euthanasia is immoral (and, it is), then so is the nonstop merry-go-round of prolonging life that is occurring in our medical institutions. To our sensibilities, it is hypocritical to pontificate on the sanctity of life, all the while ignoring the plight of those forced to stay alive when their bodies, in and of themselves (apart from non-natural interventions), have no ability to sustain life. It strikes us as odd that those who preach the loudest about faith in God seem to have it the least when it comes to end-of-life matters. If God wants to perform a miracle of healing, it can be done just as easily without the medical equipment as with it.

Again, to be clear. ElderHope, LLC does not believe in the practice of euthanasia (we do not see Double Effect as a form of euthanasia). Where a patient has indicated of his/her own volition a willingness to persevere in treatment, we support that treatment. We do believe, however, that patients should be treated as human beings who are facing a part of life that is as significant, sacred, and meaningful as birth. To use people as experiments in life prolongation or because we can't come to grips with our own grief process is as morally troubling as euthanasia has ever been.

Oh well, the soapbox is now cleared...(however briefly )

Tags: death   ethics   dying   terminal   prolongation   effect   double   euthanasia  

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