Euthanasia: Should humans be given the right to play God?

Life should be sustained for as long as possible There are people who are unfortunately hospitalised with seemingly incurable diseases or injuries, with no hope of healing but a certain death in the coming hours, days, weeks or months. Lying on the death bed and holding on to nothing but to his little kid’s fragile fingers and gazing at his wife’s helpless face, a dying man has no more hope in the world, save for a miracle from the small plastic tube connecting his body to life supporting chemicals.
Ivan Mugisha
Ivan Mugisha

Life should be sustained for as long as possible

There are people who are unfortunately hospitalised with seemingly incurable diseases or injuries, with no hope of healing but a certain death in the coming hours, days, weeks or months. Lying on the death bed and holding on to nothing but to his little kid’s fragile fingers and gazing at his wife’s helpless face, a dying man has no more hope in the world, save for a miracle from the small plastic tube connecting his body to life supporting chemicals.

The dreadful knowledge that one is going to die soon and always being reminded of such by the permanent pain racing through their veins is the saddest chapter in life that people face before they die.

To reduce the pain that terminally ill people go through, the world found a solution in euthanasia, which is unfortunately an irreversible solution.

The word ‘euthanasia’ is originally Greek, meaning ‘good death or mercy killing’. It involves the intentional ending of a life in order to relieve pain or suffering. Although it was historically applied on sick or injured animals, its proponents believe it should be extended to ease the pain of human suffering.

To me, and to several doctors, euthanasia is not merciful or good in any sense. It is rather an execution, a murder or an assisted suicide. There is no amount of pain that is worth taking a life; a life is lived once and when it is taken, that’s it! You can’t have it back!

According to Ezekiel Emanuel, a prominent medical doctor in the USA well-known for his anti-euthanasia stand, euthanasia is a myth that most patients who want to die choose because they are in extreme pain. Lots of terminally ill people are in pain and will grip a doctor and beg him to take their lives; although some of them will, as fate wants it, unfortunately die, some will heal and live, forgetting that at one point, they wished for death.

Therefore, it is not just about the fear that they will not get healed, but rather, the fear of too much pain. Just imagine how many people would be “mercy-killed” in any of our hospitals today had the doctors been given the right to carry out euthanasia, as it is in the Netherlands?

Alex Butera, the Director of King Faisal Hospital, believes that doctors who induce their patients’ death should be stripped of their licenses because life, no matter how fragile it may seem, still has a chance to fully recover. “I know of terminally ill people who recovered when initially they looked as if they were going to die. As health professionals, we should help our patients by easing their pain and let them go through the whole course of life,” Dr. Butera shared with me.

In other words, if they are to die, let it be natural and not induced.

The Hippocratic Oath, which doctors swear upon graduation, is also against euthanasia and expletively orders medical practitioners not to play God but to practice medicine ethically. Therefore, besides not being ethical, euthanasia has no backing from the founders of medicine, and no backing from principles that guide the entire field.

 

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