Mercy killing: A View from another Prism

Mercy killing also known as euthanasia describes a situation where a doctor quickens the death of a patient suffering from an incurable disease like cancer, neurogenerative (dementia) or cardiovascular diseases by way of administering lethal medications like potassium chloride. Simply put, a doctor kills a patient with a terminal disease so as to end his or her suffering.

Mercy killing (euthanasia) is different from assisted suicide in the sense that in assisted suicide the patient carries out the act of ending his/her life with little assistance from the physician.

Mercy killing is legal in Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Some US states- Oregon, Washington, Montana and more lately, New Mexico, according to theguardian.com.

In Switzerland, mercy killing is not legal but assisted suicide is legal and has been in practice since 1941. Some clinics/ groups especially Exit and Dignitas- believed to be owned by a lawyer- are found in Switzerland and have been rendering euthanasia services to people all over the world. What that means is that people from across the world can go to either of these clinics and pay a certain amount of money to have their lives snuffed out. Weird, isn’t it?

The table below illustrates the increase in the demand for euthanasia, countries where it is legal and year it was legalised.

COUNTRY/STATE

YEAR LEGALISED

NUMBER OF PEOPLE EUTHANISED

        YEAR

The Netherlands

April 2002

            4,829

        2013

 

 

            4,188

        2012

            3,695

        2011

            3,136

        2010

            1,923

        2006

Belgium

2003

            1,807

        2013

 

 

            1,432

        2012

            1,133

        2011

            708

        2008

            235

        2003

Luxembourg

2009

            14

   2011-2012

Switzerland (Assisted suicide)

1941

            297

        2009

            43

        1998

Oregon (US)

1998

            77

        2012

 

 

            71

        2011

            65

        2010

            59

        2009

            16

        1998

Washington

 

            83

        2012

 

 

            70

        2011

            51

        2010

            36

        2009

         


 

 

 

 

 


Telegraph.co.uk
Theguardian.com
Source: Dailymail.com

Let me quickly share with you something that caught my attention when I read One Door Away From Heaven by Dean Kootz. Through a character in the book- Preston Maddoc, who was nicknamed Dr Doom by his step daughter, Leilani Klonk- Dean brought to the fore a philosophy he considers a huge threat to humanity (And I agree with him)- Utilitarian Bioethics.

According to this philosophy, resources shouldn’t be wasted on terminally ill patients, the weak, the disabled and the elderly because they have outlived their usefulness to mankind. It preaches that this group of people are a burden to society and should be left to die or their deaths hastened through euthanasia (voluntary or involuntary) to give room to more vibrant people in the society.

For instance, if a 60-year old man is stricken with dementia and another 17-year-old boy go down with malaria, the 60-year-old dementia patient should be left to his fate because (according to their belief) it’s a waste of resources, time and effort to help him through his ailment since he is old and may never recover from his ailment. The medical care should be given to the 17-year-old malaria patient who has a high chance of survival and is still young. Their argument is based on the premise that the society would benefit little or nothing from the old and feeble while a ton of benefits can be harnessed from the young and vibrant.

For further read on this, Dean Koontz recommended  The Assault on Medical Ethics in America by Wesley J. Smith but yours ever is yet to find this book but my search over the internet was rewarded with his blog site- Nation Review. You would wonder what the world is turning into by the time you read some of his articles.

If you understand utilitarian bioethics well, let’s have a discussion.

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