Euthanasia, also commonly known as mercy killing or assisted suicide, as defined by any lexicon, would refer to the act of intentionally killing a person in a painless or minimally painful manner so as to end that person’s suffering.
The word euthanasia was actually derived from two Greek words to wit: “eu” and “thanatos”, which mean good and death, respectively. Thus, euthanasia is also sometimes referred to as good death while in other references it is referred to as easy death.
Euthanasia or mercy killing is usually carried out for people who are terminally ill and would want to cut short their prolonged suffering from pain and or for those people who are placed in a situation wherein they have become incapable of making such request for themselves. This group of people would include those whose primary existence is being provided by a life support or vital medication.
There are actually various types of euthanasia. This would include active, passive and physician assisted suicide.
Active euthanasia, according to various references, would refer to that type of euthanasia wherein there is a direct action involved in causing an individual to die. To illustrate, let us take into consideration one of the most talked about film of the year, the Million Dollar Movie.
In the said film Ms. Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) was placed in a situation wherein the only thing that enables her to thrive is by means of a life-support machine. Mr. Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood), who was Ms.
Fitzgerald’s trainer in the field of boxing, as a response to Ms. Fitzgerald’s request to help her end her suffering actually engaged oneself in committing the active type of euthanasia via injecting a substance which is alien to the Ms. Fitzgerald’s body, thus causing Ms. Fitzgerald’s death.
Passive euthanasia, on the other hand, is defined as that type of assisted suicide wherein the death of a person is hastened by deliberately altering available forms of life support and letting the individual experience the natural course of death.
To illustrate, Mr. Frankie Dunn also exhibited this type of euthanasia by means of taking out the life support machine of Ms. Fitzgerald, thus contributing to her hastened death.
Passive euthanasia may also be exhibited by stopping necessary and imperative medical procedures, medications, and the like. Likewise, by stopping food as well as water intake thus allowing the person or patient to dehydrate and or starve to death is also another manifestation of a passive type of euthanasia.
Physician assisted euthanasia, in contrast with the other two types mentioned, is that type of euthanasia wherein a professional in the field of medicine makes available to his or her patient the necessary information and or means to cut short the patient’s suffering or life.
Due to the fact that euthanasia involves an act that deviates from the natural way of dying, it became a precursor to various ethical, religious, and moral issues. Likewise, since there have been many medical cases that involved the act of mercy killing as well as existing and public policies that legalizes it, strong protests on its practice became prevalent. Should euthanasia be legalized despite the many intricacies and social implications it has created?
For the purpose of this paper, the author aims to discuss the nature of euthanasia and the claim of Mr. Robert Dworkin et al. in the compendium entitled “Assisted Suicide: The Philosopher’s Brief”. Likewise, it is also the objective of the author to make a stand on the legalization of euthanasia and support his claim by citing examples from the movie the Million Dollar Baby and other examples of even nature to critically examine Mr. Dworkin’s claim in his published essay.