Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Euthanasia Blog Post #2

There are many concerns surrounding euthanasia with many different viewpoints. Many people are worried that with euthanasia there is a high risk for elder abuse to take place. This essentially boils down to the worry that many families have that their elder relatives may be bullied or pressured into using euthanasia as an option. This would be detrimental as it would push many people to make a decision that they had not intended to make and places a moral dilemma on euthanasia. Elder abuse has been viewed as one of the main concerns against allowing euthanasia to be federally legal in the United States.
Furthermore many people worry that patients may choose to use euthanasia as it is the cheapest option available to them versus the costly treatments associated with cancer and other terminally ill conditions. This issue is often related to the worry with elder abuse as families will push their older relatives towards euthanasia rather than use inheritance money to pay for their treatment. This is a worrisome trend as the choice to die should be a voluntary choice and not something that a patient should be coerced into by family members. Many families may view the option of an earlier death as a far more attractive option for the family as a whole while disregarding the wishes of the terminally ill family member. This would be a detrimental consequence of euthanasia being legalized as it would go against the core idea of giving the sick person control over their own personal wishes up to and including the choice of dying with dignity. In forcing someone to choose to die you essentially take away their dignity and cause them in some ways a more undignified death in that not only sickness killed them but the autonomy was stripped entirely from them.

Another problem that is often approached when looking at the issue of euthanasia is the fact that even the best doctors are prone to make a few mistakes over the course of their careers. The problem with this is that misdiagnosis could lead a patient who might have been able to recover from their illness to seek out euthanasia as an option when in fact they would have been able to overcome their illness. This is a disturbing idea of a patient ending their life when correct diagnosis or treatment may have been able to prevent an early death. Of course many doctors would have their diagnosis looked at by many specialists before coming on a final conclusion on whether or not to allow a patient access to euthanasia. The problem that has become apparent in Oregon since the passing of Oregon Death with Dignity Act is that some patients will actually end up “doctor shopping” that is searching around for a doctor that will give them the diagnosis or the medication that they desire. In the case of euthanasia a doctor that will allow the patient to take part in the Death with Dignity act course. This is a disturbing trend as emotions run high in families undergoing terminal illnesses and thus you could expect that some patients may make decisions that are very emotionally charged instead of thinking and weighing all of their options thoroughly.


  1. I like that you mention that doctors do make mistakes. It's importasnt to make decisions when one is calm, but it is definitely hard when you think you're dying. Slso good that you mention that some people do it for cost. Thren it makes us think about priorities and how to define those priorities

  2. "some patients may make decisions that are very emotionally charged instead of thinking and weighing all of their options thoroughly."

    The burden of weighing options thoroughly has always fallen on physicians, but perhaps it hasn't always been born as responsibly or with as much empathy as appropriate.