Essay on Euthanasia: a Help to Die


     What is euthanasia? It is another debatable question along with a capital punishment we talked about in our previous article. It is also called a mercy killing. Euthanasia means to allow dying or to put somebody who is death-sick to death. Some consider it a murderer though. Of course, it is difficult to accept when to speak about people we love. It is easier to think of people we do not know taking such a decision. We can easily say inspiriting words like “his/her sufferings will be all over now”, “s/he will be in a better place now”, “s/he will never feel hungry/cold/sad again”. Things are much more difficult when we talk about our beloved people, relatives and friends.

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     When it comes to euthanasia, each case is different despite all of them to seem to be similar. England and Wales, for example, do not belong to the countries, which guarantee the right for death. The list of countries, which do belong is actually rather short: it is allowed to give patients medication by means of which the patient can pass away in five countries; euthanasia has become legal in a few more countries and the doctors are allowed by themselves to inject a death cocktail in certain circumstances.

     The Netherlands became the first country in which euthanasia was legalized. Moreover, help on committing suicide is also no longer punishable by law. Along with that there is a strict set of conditions to go with euthanasia: a patient should suffer from some incurable disease, suffer from unbearable pain and to have no chance for restoration to health and strength. He or she should bring out a wish of them to want to die, being of sound mind and to keep on insisting on it during long period of time. The most disputable thing about laws in the Netherlands is age frames: it is applicable to patients from 12 years old (though death-sick children from 12 to 16 require their parents` permission).

     Switzerland is probably the most well-known world`s country in which the right for death is regularized by law. Partly, it is due to the fact that there is a clinic where for a certain payment, one is able to pass away. It has become the final shelter of foreigners who wished to die painlessly and with dignity. Swiss legal system allows to help in committing suicide in those cases when the helpers do not follow any toughing motives. Criminal legislation acting since 1942 punishes any help in committing suicide in those case when a patient is persuaded to pass away in order to, let us say, avoid taking care of him/her, do not pay for his/her treatment or to get inheritance as soon as possible. If nothing of the above is impossible to prove, there is no criminal case.

     In order to avoid criminal responsibility, a person helping a patient to quit life, has to prove that the patient knows what s/he is doing, spoke of this wish several times during a certain period of time. At the same time, euthanasia when a patient does not inject a death cocktail by himself but a doctor injects him or a relative is considered to be illegal.

Belgium was next country after Switzerland who made euthanasia legalized. Doctors can help patients to die only if they look after them for quite some time. Patients should be citizens of Belgium and live within the country permanently.

     Patients should be in the hopeless medical condition and suffer from constant physical and moral pain, which are impossible to get rid of. Also, a patient knowing that s/he will soon be in an apellic state, may ask for his life not to be supported artificially in such a state. A doctor in a mandatory manner should be present until the last breathe.

     In February 2012, Belgium has become the first country, which made euthanasia legal for children. Unlike the Netherlands, there are no age limitations.

     Euthanasia remains illegal in the United States of America. Four states only made it legal. Doctors of Oregon State have a right to prescribe medications for death-sick patients since 1997. Oregon has become the first state, which allowed help in committing suicide through adopting a law entitled as “Death with dignity.” Those has to be patients of the sound mind and be above 18. Doctors should come to conclusion that not more than six months are left to live. Patients should speak twice about their wish to die in front of an independent witness. In 2014, Oregon appeared to be in the news announcement when a 29-year old woman who suffered from incurable brain cancer moved here in order to die. Later, help in committing suicide was legally allowed in Vermont, Montana and Washington. New Mexico members of legislative body canceled the decision of the United States Supreme Court, which allowed help in committing suicide and this project is due diligence review.

     In Luxemburg, euthanasia and help in committing suicide are allowed since 2009. Legislation is similar to the one adopted in Belgium. The right of doctors to conscience freedom is emphasized in it.  

     In July 2016, the first case in committing suicide in Columbia was solved. Ministry of Healthcare decided to accede to a request of 79-year old Ovid Gonzalez who suffered from death cancer type.  

     In Germany at this time the doctors do not have a right to prescribe medication, which help to pass away. This question though is due diligence review. It is expected that Bundestag may adopt a new law in November.

     This same sort of situation has come about in all the French-speaking province of Canada Quebec. National assembly has already adopted a law, which allows applying sedative medications and medical help while dying. It is to become operative in December of this year.

     What would happen in England and Wales if the new law was adopted?

     It was suggested to prescribe a lethal dose of medications for those patients who whom no more than six months are left to live. Two doctors and Justice of the Supreme Court had to officially to give their consent to a patient to be provided with help to die.

     They had to make sure that a patient is of sound mind and that there are really no more than six months are left and that he knows very well of comfort measures opportunities. Thus, any help in committing suicide would be illegal for people who do not suffer from lethal diseases or mentally disabled people.

     A patient would have to take in a lethal dose of medications on his own. Doctors would have no right to inject it by themselves – in that case their actions in legal terms would already be classified as euthanasia but not as help in committing suicide, which was not allowed by suggested and now declined law.               

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