Death with Dignity Is Health Care, Not Murder Essay

2050 WordsMar 10, 20159 Pages
Death with Dignity is Health Care, Not Murder PHI 208 Ethics and Moral Reasoning Death with Dignity is Health Care, Not Murder Since the creation of the first Hippocratic Oath doctors have struggled with the ethics of their profession and their power over the life and death of the patients who come to them for care. There are ethical theories that support the right of a patient to die with dignity if the remainder of their life would not be one that is worth living, by ethical definition. There is also a theory that supports the actions of doctors who actively or passively end the life of a patient who chooses to die on their own terms. Utilitarianism allows someone to die if their life would bring more pain than pleasure while virtue ethics allows doctors to do what is right even if they struggle with the decision to do so. Both point to an obvious conclusion on the subject of euthanasia, that terminally ill patients should be allowed the humane option of choosing to end their lives and avoid prolonging their suffering if a painful death is imminent in order to preserve their quality, not quantity, of life as well as their dignity and autonomy. Utilitarianism View Singer (2003) says on the subject of utilitarianism as it relates to euthanasia that “if the future life of the being killed would hold more negative elements than positive ones – more unhappiness than happiness, more frustration of preferences than satisfaction of them – then we have a reason for killing, rather than against killing.” This idea holds true when arguing the application of palliative care or either active or passive euthanasia. Many doctors struggle with the idea that they would have a hand in actively killing their patients, even if they are dying and they choose to die on their own terms. Doctors are taught to first do no harm and required by the Hippocratic Oath not to aid in the

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