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Should euthanasia be legal? Show more Show less
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Ethical aspects of euthanasia (Greek for "good death"), a physician-assisted suicide of a patient with a goal of ending the suffering from a terminal or incurable illness, were debated since the times of Hippocrates. Since then, although modern medicine made a great deal of progress, euthanasia and its validity as a medical practice still leads to controversies. Should a patient in great suffering be able to end his life with the help of a doctor?

No, euthanasia should be illegal Show more Show less

There is no ethical or medical justification for legalizing euthanasia.
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Doctors' judgement isn't perfect

Legalizing euthanasia could prevent some patients from possible, even if unlikely, recovery.
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Context

Opponents of voluntary, active euthanasia often are worried that its legalization gives too much power and responsibility to physicians treating patients. Since a patient would make a decision based on a diagnosis made by their physician, the risk of faulty diagnosis must be taken into account.

The Argument

Doctors and physicians are fallible and there are many examples of seemingly hopeless cases which ended with a patient’s recovery. With that in mind, the finality of active euthanasia means that it is inevitable that some patients that could be cured will die because of a faulty or incomplete diagnosis. Such risk, in light of the Hippocratic oath and the sanctity of life, is unacceptable.

Counter arguments

The possibility of such situations does not imply that the practice of euthanasia is as a whole unethical or unjustified. In cases where multiple doctors have agreed beyond a reasonable doubt that the illness is terminal, a very unlikely possibility of an error is not enough to deny the option of voluntary active euthanasia.

Premises

[P1] A physician is responsible for making a diagnosis. [P2] A physician, as a human being, is fallible and prone to error. [P3] If we cannot rule out a possibility of an unwarranted death based on faulty diagnosis, we shouldn't legalize voluntary active euthanasia.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] The very unlikely scenario of a sudden recovery cannot be the justification for withholding a euthanasia for those patients who suffer gravely and will die from their illness.

References

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    This page was last edited on Monday, 3 Feb 2020 at 12:22 UTC

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