An Analysis On Euthanasia

Euthanasia is the process of taking the life of a hopelessly ill or an injured patient with an aim to end his or her suffering. The main controversy regarding euthanasia is an ethical dilemma. While some may argue that it is a way to end the excruciating pain of a person whose recovery is practically impossible, others say that euthanasia is a form of murder. It would not be right to support any of the above arguments as both are right as well as wrong in different aspects. Looking at the moral aspect of euthanasia, it can be said that it contradicts the basic principle of morality to refrain from taking a person’s life. However, this moral dilemma has been in the society since a long period of time. The word ‘euthanasia’, comes from the Greek word ‘Youthanazia’ which means ‘good death’. It means that euthanasia is a way to give long sufferers a ‘good death’ as compared to that which they would have naturally.

Also Read – Right To Life Includes Right To Die

Euthanasia is mainly of three types, voluntary, non-voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary euthanasia is the euthanasia that is given with the consent of the patient. In this type of euthanasia, the patient itself takes a call on the ending of his or her death. Although this may seem as the ideal form of euthanasia, yet there are criticisms that state that every patient feels that the pain he or she is going through is a lot. In this circumstance, it would be very normal for a patient to ask for euthanasia thinking that he or she cannot bear the pain anymore. In such a situation, a patient would not be the right person to decide the fate of his or her life. Non- voluntary euthanasia can be termed as a euthanasia without the consent or to contrast from involuntary euthanasia, ‘against’ the will of the patient. It is given in situations where the patient is not in a position to give consent. This type of euthanasia is usually given to an infant after an agreement between physician and district attorneys. This type of euthanasia is illegal all over the world, except Netherlands in certain cases has allowed non-voluntary euthanasia. The third type of euthanasia is involuntary euthanasia. In this type, a relative or a close one takes the decision of euthanasia on behalf of the patient considering his or her situation. These three types of euthanasia are further divided into passive and active euthanasia. In passive euthanasia, the life support of the patient is withdrawn causing a slow death caused by the disease. Active euthanasia is the direct intentional killing of the patient with or without consent with the use of lethal injections. This type of euthanasia gives rise to the controversy revolving around euthanasia.

There is no direct answer to the question of, is euthanasia right. Euthanasia is a process that needs to be done with extreme care and caution. It must be considered as the last option. The laws regarding euthanasia have to be applied in a very strict manner. If euthanasia is legalised without proper guidelines, there is a high probability of its misuse. With the advancement in medical technology, every ill patient has a hope of recovery. Euthanasia is a gesture of losing hope and not having the will to fight the disease anymore. It is important for the doctors to make the patients feel that he or she has a chance to recover.

In the Indian context, after the Aruna Shanbaug case, passive euthanasia by means of withdrawal of life support has been legalised. Strict guidelines have to be followed for the same. India follows an ideal for of procedure that every country must adopt for euthanasia. Legalising of euthanasia brings about many controversies with itself. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees right to life and personal liberty. Many say that euthanasia or mercy killing contradicts this right. A man must be allowed to decide for himself if he wants to live or die. Euthanasia must not be considered as an option for every patient going through pain. It must be considered as an option only for those who have minimal probability of recovery. If used in the right way, euthanasia can be a useful tool for the extreme sufferers, but for this, stricter rules prescribing proper procedures need to be introduced. Euthanasia must be legalised only if its regulation is well looked upon by the government. Euthanasia is the right option only when it’s given to the proper patient, following the proper procedure.

This article is authored by Jotham Cherian, student of BBA LL.B (Hons.) at Christ University , Bangalore

Also Read – A Critical Analysis On Euthanasia

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