PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS OF EUTHANASIA

Author(s): 
List of sections: 
Philosophy of science and technics
Mounth / Year: 
2015, February
Issue of the journal: 
5
Pages: 
40-45
Type of the article: 
Scientific article
Abstract: 

Mr. Angels, patient of Dr. Adams, is dying because of the progressive debilitating disease. He is completely paralyzed and needs an ‘artificial lungs apparatus’ to stay alive. He suffers a lot and wants to die. He asks the doctor to unplug the ‘artificial lungs apparatus’. Dr. Adams agrees and Mr. Angels dies in three hours because of the respiratory failure. Mr. Brown, patient of Dr. Bernard, dies from the same disease, as Mr. Angels. He also needs ‘artificial lungs apparatus’ and wants to die. He asks Dr. Bernard to make him injection causing death. Dr. Bernard agrees and makes him an injection of potassium chloride. Mr. Brown dies in a few minutes. Mr. Charles, patient of Dr. Clemens, suffers from throat cancer threatening him with the death from suffocation. Suffering a lot, he asks Dr. Clemens to stop his suffering. She explains Mr. Charles that it is impossible, but she will gradually increase the dosage of medicines against pain, so Mr. Charles dies because of her efforts to ease his suffering. Dr. Clemens starts to use the drugs and 18 hours later Mr. Charles dies. Mr. David, patient of Dr. Daisy is in the same situation, as Mr. Charles. At the request of the patient to discontinue his life, Dr. Daisy uses the lethal dose of potassium chloride and in a few minutes the patient dies. On the one hand, in many countries medical actions of Dr. Adams and Clemens are legal. On the other hand, what Dr. Bernard and Daisy did is illegal. Who is right? This issue was discussed at a recent appellate court in the ninth district of the USA ‘Compassion to the dying in the state of Washington’. The judge Reinhardt, in his careful opinion, supported by eight votes against three, wrote, that in order for the state to reasonably support legalization of euthanasia it would be necessary to identify the significant difference between euthanasia and ‘behavior…, explicitly recognized by the state’. The judge argued that in this case it is not enough to explain the difference between the actions and abstention from action. If we accept the opinion of this court, Dr. Bernard and Daisy, as well as Dr. Adams and Clemens had the intention to cause the death of their patients. However, according to conventional point of view, only Dr. Bernard and Daisy committed illegal acts, while Dr. Adams and Clemens are considered to use honest methods of medicine.

Keywords: 
acts, refusal to act, death, intentions, termination of life, euthanasia.
References: 

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