Euthanasia for Patients Suffering from Terminal Illnesses

In virtually all civilizations across the world, the serenity of life is a significant consideration. The high value attached to life is the reason for various advancements in medical technologies that ensure good health and increase longevity. Any medical practice works within the concept of enhancing individual health, providing relief from even the most devastating illnesses and prolonging the life of patients. Nonetheless, the value of life is sometimes debated when it comes to the discourse on the life of patients suffering from terminal illnesses (Cavan, 2000). Terminal illnesses are life threatening, yet the medical advancements have not been adequate to alleviate them. The best thing that technology and drugs can do is to prolong the life of the terminally ill patients thus subjecting them to longer periods of inability, agony and suffering (Pappas, 2012). In addition, medical practitioners have been trained to improve the quality of patient lives by providing efficient and proactive, medical care even in the most stressful situations of medical needs.

Terminal illnesses are diseases or conditions which have been determined to lead to eventual death. In essence, a person suffering from the terminal illnesses have no expectation of recovery despite the pain and suffering that they have to undergo as they await their death. In most cases, doctors and family members of the patient have agreed to terminate the patients life to relieve them from pain and agony yet they have to die in a limited time (Church of England, 2000). Though best medical practice requires that the consent of the patient to accept the administration of euthanasia, psychology has revealed that a patient suffering from a life threatening diseases or condition lacks the ability to make effective decisions (Cavan, 2000). Based on this reality, factions have developed whereby one side support the administration of euthanasia while the other supports the provision of life support systems to allow the patient natural death under the care of professional physicians and nurses.

It beats logic that for physicians to propose and participate in the administration of euthanasia, they have evaluated the propensity of life against the suffering of the patient and resolved that assisted death is the most appropriate approach to relieving the sick from prolonged suffering (Cavan, 2000). Euthanasia relieves patients from long-standing pain but puts the value of life at a compromise in which doctors and family members with unreliable permission from the patient resolve to terminate the life (Church of England, 2000). It is important to ensure adequate medical and professional safeguards to ensure that euthanasia is wrongfully exploited or denied for patients suffering from terminal illnesses.

The discussion about the use of euthanasia in medical set up attracts moral, ethical and logical arguments. For morals, the act of deliberately ending the patients life irrespective of the health condition is wrong due to the sanctity of life. They also argue that the ability of a sick to endure suffering and pain during sickness confers on them some sense of dignity which would be denied if euthanasia was to be used (Cavan, 2000). Besides, anti-euthanasia group posit that if legislations that legalize euthanasia are formulated and enforced, then it would offer the first step on a slippery slope in which the chances of the sick living are limited and premature termination of life becomes a quick choice instead of palliative care (Jans, 2011). Though it is clear that euthanasia is only an option in cases where available technologies, medicine, and professional expertise cannot be effective in relieving a terminally ill patient from suffering, its critics castigate it as an unethical decision (Church of England, 2000). Nonetheless, this school of thought argues that in aiding the patients death, the doctor usurps the patients choice to live which is a falsity. All medical euthanasia are administered after consensual consultations with the patients family and the patient himself.

The administration of euthanasia for terminal illnesses patients is commonly accomplished through either withdrawing the life supporting treatment or administering pain-relievers in lethal dosages or both. Best medical practice requires that doctors execute the termination of life after discussing it with the patients and their family members and arriving at a consensus. This agreement not only upholds the value attached to life and patients right to die but also prevents excessive suffering which results in reduced value attached to life. In medicine, the value that patient attaches to life plays a critical role in ensuring proper healing and effectiveness of treatments (Pappas, 2012). In most cases, patients who are subjected to euthanasia are first provided with adequate counseling so that they can make informed choices that uphold the value of life. In addition, the patients are adequately educated under palliative care hence their acceptance of death as a source of relief is triggered by pain, a desire to preserve personal dignity, the autonomy of thought and attainment of pleasure in life.

In reality, the contemporary medical technologies have made remarkable improvements in prolonging the lives of patients and enhancing wellness for the old people. For instance, respirators can assist patients with breathing or lung problems to live longer and maintain the normal physiological processes associated with it (Cavan, 2000). Nonetheless, these technologies have only managed to alleviate the pain for patients with cases such as accidents (Church of England, 2000). Nonetheless, the use of technology in terminal illnesses is only a way of prolonging the suffering of sick people without a probability of recovering. Within this context, the only thing that technology and anti-euthanasia advocacy do for a terminally ill person is to subject him to more pain and agony.


Cavan, S. (2000). Euthanasia: The debate over the right to die. New York: Rosen Pub. Group.

Church of England. (2000). On dying well: A contribution to the euthanasia debate. London: Church House Pub.

Jans, J. (2011). Until the end willed by god? Moral theology and the debate on ‘euthanasia’. Studies in Christian Ethics, 24, 477-486.

Pappas, D. M. (2012). The euthanasia/assisted-suicide debate. Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood.