EUTHANASIA, THE HORRIFIC SLOPE WE CAN LIVE WITHOUT by Onyeodi Ifeanyi (Medical student, CMUL, LUTH)
Deception, instead of dignity. That is the language of assisted suicide.
How do you make something that’s unthinkable into something palatable? Well, call it something else. That’s exactly what the advocates of euthanasia have done. They have simply corrupted the language.
But let’s return to the semantics of voluntary euthanasia and try replacing euthanasia with “kill” and “help to die”. When we do this, many of the most emotive support to its legalization fade away.
Before I give reasons for leaning towards this divide on this issue that has become front burner in today’s scheme of things, it is only pertinent that I explain the major concept in this topic. The word euthanasia is defined in Collins English Dictionary as “the act of killing a person painlessly especially to relieve suffering from an incurable disease” while Steadman medical dictionary further describes it as ” quiet painless death and an intentional putting to death by artificial means of persons with incurable diseases”.
Doctors, healers or killers?
Standing on this, I give the following reasons for my opposition
If euthanasia is legalized, guess what? In practice it is still the doctor who decides whether to perform euthanasia. He can suggest it, not give patients obvious alternatives, ignore patients’ ambivalence, and even put to death patients who have not requested it.
Euthanasia enhances the power and control of doctors, not patients. And it makes nonsense of the right to life of an individual as enshrined in every country’s constitution and provided for in article 2 of the universal declaration of human rights; “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of persons”. Besides, the criminal code of Nigeria makes suicide or any form of assisted suicide for any reason a crime (sections 311 326 327 and 239).
Doctors have stepped into a right-to-life row following the suggestion some hospital patients should be allowed to die because it costs so much to keep them alive. Reports that leaked suggest that in some countries where it’s been legalized some government papers revealed they should be denied food and liquid if they fall into a coma or are too ill to speak for themselves. Note: The term “allowed” is far from the truth. They are forced to die -an extremely slow, painfully cruel death by dehydration and starvation. Where is the humanity?
active euthanasia, even worse
Furthermore legalizing euthanasia amounts to allocating the powers of God to mere mortals. In this case, doctors whose diagnosis have in recent times been proved wrong. The concept of divine healing from this supernatural being has been recorded in recent times. Often times than not, no explanation however illogical is even offered by science. Should humans be allowed to play the role of God?
Legalizing euthanasia would do just that!
The power to play with people’s lives should not be handed out under a legal and/or medical disguise. Thus euthanasia should not be legalized. Euthanasia would give a small group of doctors “the power of life and death over individuals who have committed no crime except that of becoming ill or being born, and might lead toward state tyranny and totalitarianism“.
More so, any physician’s involvement with suicide is certainly contrary to their Hippocratic oath, which is to save lives. The physician’s role is to make a diagnosis, and sound judgments about medical treatment, not whether the patient’s life is worth living. They have an obligation to perform sufficient care, not to refrain from giving the patient food and water until that person dies.
Medical advances in recent years have made it possible to keep terminally ill people alive for beyond a length of time even if it is without any hope of recovery or improvement. As shown in reports that revealed that 95% of events of cancer pain are controllable and the remaining 5% can be reduced to a tolerable level. Health care is concerned with life and should never have anything to do with hastening or causing death.
To be continued…
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