Medical Ethics: End of Life Issue – the Right to Die

A huge number of people are afraid of death. A leading reason for fear of death remains the pain associated with it. However, there is a form of termination of life known as euthanasia. It entails intentional ending of life aimed at relieving persistent pain and suffering due to a particular chronic condition. This type of death, commonly referred to as ‘good death’, is induced under different circumstances. Eye witnesses to last days of cancer victims hold it that termination of life saves these victims from the horrible pangs of pain. The paper elaborates on different types of euthanasia. At the same time, the paper reveals the differences between them. The paper further tackles the ethical issues raised by each type. Legislatively, the paper highlights laws governing euthanasia in the State of Florida. Finally, the author takes a stand concerning theme ”the right to die”.

There are three different types of euthanasia. They include Voluntary euthanasia, non-voluntary euthanasia and involuntary euthanasia. In voluntary euthanasia, the process is conducted with the consent of the patient (Moyers, 2010). The patient requests for the process following suffering brought by fatal diseases such as cancer. Slightly different is non-voluntary euthanasia where the process is conducted with complete absence of the patient’s consent (Moyers, 2010). For instance, when a child undergoes euthanasia there is no consent. Involuntary euthanasia entails conduction of the process against the will of the patient (Moyers, 2010).

Two types of euthanasia exist in modern days. Passive euthanasia which involves withholding of usual treatments such as antibiotics that is crucial to boosting curative ability of the body. Active euthanasia suggests involvement of lethal injection. In both cases, the patient succumbs to a painless process.

Heated debate exists concerning the ethical issues brought by euthanasia. Medical practitioners particularly question the moral credibility of both involuntary and non-voluntary killing of patients. A big number of them do not consider that as euthanasia. Cases of active euthanasia have been declining over the last few years. Practice of passive euthanasia remains rampant across the globe. The latter receives moral support from critics of termination of life before natural death. A section of absolutists holds that killing is a criminal act whether through euthanasia or not. Others fear if euthanasia gets an overwhelming legal nod, what consequences would it have. Groups of people suffering from different conditions are afraid of such laws. The elderly, cancer victims and even people living with disabilities express fear upon mentioning of legalizing euthanasia. The world comprises of people drawn from different backgrounds. The pro-euthanasia groups remain smaller with their quest encountering opposition from religious groups and other pressure groups.

There are numerous legal legislations concerning euthanasia across the globe. The research paper focuses on one specific state in the United States-Florida. According to the Legal Status of Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia in the United States (20000, Florida has specific laws prohibiting euthanasia. The law is factored in Florida Stat.782 which states that euthanasia is prohibited under the general homicide laws (Legal Status of Assisted Suicide 2000). These legislations and other related chapters indicate Florida as one of the states that strongly oppose euthanasia as opposed to others such as Oregon.

The issue of whether one should die peacefully before reaching the natural death time remains thorny across the globe. The author supports controlled euthanasia bearing in mind the fact that circumstances leading to this act might be unavoidable. Euthanasia is a difficult and disturbing subject but eventually one has to make a decision on it (Dolan & Cavan, 2000). Clearly, euthanasia involves death following a decision to do so by the victim or another person. According to Dolan & Cavan (2000), the idea of death brings disturbance to people. However, one has to make a decision regarding death in their lifetime. It is against the individuals’ will to deny them the right to terminate life when they feel so. However, the reasons given for such an act must be convincing.

Governments may have attempted to enact legislations that govern euthanasia but opposing groups seem to win over these spirited efforts. Gorsuch (2006) observed increased activities in attempts to legalize euthanasia. There was push for proper legislation on euthanasia with wild desperate trials. Disappointingly, the anti-euthanasia groups had a comprehensive win over pro-euthanasia groups. The author observes that in the ensuing court cases, the victims deserved to die in a manner considered dignified. In as much as the author would prefer euthanasia practice, caution must be exercised to curb cases of malice that may lead to widespread homicide across the globe. After all, governments make final decisions on whether requiring euthanasia or campaigning strongly against it.

The paper substantiates the types of euthanasia in modern day. It further captures the differences between passive euthanasia and active euthanasia. Legal provisions in Florida provide evidence of the battle to eliminate euthanasia. The paper further highlights ethical concerns with the author eventually supporting controlled euthanasia.


Dolan, S & Cavan, S. (2000). Euthanasia; The debate over the right to die. New York: The Roshen Publishing Group, Inc.

Gorsuch, M, N. (2006). The future of assisted suicide and euthanasia. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Legal Status of Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia in the United States (2000). Web.

Moyers, G. (2010). Fact Sheet: Euthanasia. Web.

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