Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Some things to consider...

I believe it is important to note that Euthanasia refers to the practice of ending a life in a painless manner. It is mostly considered when an individual is suffering from an illness that may be painful or incurable and there seems to be no chance of a positive recovery. Euthanasia has been an ongoing debate in many countries for years, and it crosses the lines of morality, ethical, religious, and cultural views.

Referring back to the case mentioned earlier, Rodriguez vs. BC, I wanted to touch on the points on why that ruling concluded the way that it did. After numerous appeals the verdict stood for the Crown Attorney. An interesting point that came out of the verdict was that even when death appears imminent, seeking to control the manner and timing of one's death constitutes a conscious choice of death over life. This point referred to s.7 of the Charter, and explains life as a value.

What we would like to open to our readers is how the term 'value' and the idea of 'life' are related, and who should be controlling the relationship that those terms hold to each individual. Should we be looking strictly at the legalities of the issue? Who would be a suitable figure to identify and measure the value of life for each person who is searching for closure?

Euthanasia is a very controversial issue, for many of the reasons we have already mentioned. However, it has often been related and compared to abortion. Abortion is legal in Canada, in fact, it is often funded by Medicare. According to Statistics Canada, 2003, over 110,000 abortions are performed in Canada every year, that represents a ratio of about 30 abortions to every 100 live births.

What do you suppose is so different in the choice to take the life of an unborn child, and the choice one makes to take their own life, when they feel they will not be able to value it as they intend to?

There is an interesting comparison with the two issues that perhaps we will expose in later entries. What we encourage our readers to think about is the legalities of euthanasia, and the legal opportunities available or unavailable in order to make that choice.

We will discuss different legal cases from the past, as well as different perspectives on the issue from various religious and ethical standpoints. We will also explore the medical side of euthanasia and the impact that medical practitioners have on its legal status.

We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and thoughts on this issue, and we hope to cover any other areas of interest that are brought to our attention.

Information was taken from:
-Statistics Canada 2003
-Supreme Court of Canada Website


Sam Pringle said...

What I try to think of when looking at both sides of Euthanasia is the effect on the doctor(s) who perform the act. They are asked to either end the patient's pain or prolong their life. I could not imagine dealing with the feeling of helplessness when they disagree with those wishes.

LLJJ said...

hi there and thank you for commenting.

As we have mentioned in another entry, it is important to determine which you value more...the quality of life, or quantity of life? This decision can only be made by the patient, and their loved ones. A physician's role is to do all that he can to help the patient physically, and right now that means he can help them live off of a machine, or in pain, or without brain function, etc. If that is not in the best interest of the patient and their family, then that doctor might feel helpless as well.

Keep in mind that the doctors see their patients, as patients. They don't really know them on a personal level, and depending on each individual situation, they never will.

Doctors must be able to work in the best interest of their patients.

We will further discuss how health care, doctors, hospitals, etc., play a part in euthanasia in later entries....tune in!

T said...

As you mentioned at some point in this blog, most people have emotinoal reactions to this debate- and after reading through the blog I realize that I am no exception. I take issue with your use of abortion as a comparison. I think both situaitons are unique and should not be grouped together. I do not think the mere fact that abortion is legal supports the notion that euthanasia should be legal as well. Should euthanasia be legalized, it should be based on factors and characteristics that are unique to euthanasia. Off of the top of my head there are several influential factors that make euthanasia different than abortion (whether a fetus is a life, the age of persons when they make these decisions, presence/lack of family support...). BUT first and foremost- in most cases of abortion, the fetus is not considered a life. so although you touched on this in your debate, I would like to bring it up again for discussion. This fact alone means that in most cases, there is a fundamental difference between abortion and euthanasia- one involves ending a life and one does not. Therefore, I am not sure the argument that "since abortion is legalized, euthansia should be too" stands strong, and I believe that if one is push for legalizing euthanasis, it should be done on the specific defining characteristics of euthanasia, with no reliance on the comparison to abortion.