Every person knows that his/her life will end sooner or later. There are many different opinions and attitudes towards death, but in most cases people are afraid of it. Sudden death is not accompanied by fear of it, but if it is expected, it is hard to become reconciled with the end of the life. Sudden death caused by illness or age makes everyone frightened, but sometimes he or she wants to put up with life because of the continuous suffering. Humanity and kindness can be worse than euthanasia when terminally ill patient is in agony. In this paper the questions of “good death” and people’s choice will be regarded.
First of all, there is a need to define the notion of “good death”. The notion is defined by the Institute of Medicine as “a good death is the end of life that is free from avoidable suffering for patients, families and caregivers in general accordance with the patients’ and families’ wishes” (Field 45). Terminally ill patients, in most cases, suffer from pain and despair. Regarding this fact, I have a strong belief that nurses and physicians should have special training to deal with patients and their relatives in the all period of treatment. Nowadays, there are some educational programs for medical stuff. The Institute of Medicine with medical associations plays the main role and is known for its attempts to provide more programs on this issue. Unfortunately, in many institutions this topic stays not well studied (Jacobson 359).
In my opinion, the main point in taking care of a person on the stage when no treatment can help, is to provide the best care and love. Families need to get psychologically prepared to deal with death and their dying relatives. Sometimes it is hard to realize that he or she will die, but if an illness is extremely painful, death should be considered as a relief from suffering. In this way, it could be said, that the best treatment for such people is not to regard the panic and depressive mood of their relatives that can worsen the situation.
Moreover, speaking about the ‘acceptable’ death for terminally ill patients, one should regard euthanasia only as a help for the patient and not as crime. According to Oxford dictionary, “euthanasia is the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma” (Oxford). It is true that if patient consciously chooses death instead of pain, it is more humane to let him make this choice. The same opinion has Friedrich Nietzsche, who has said that if you can no longer live proudly, you should die proudly (Nietzsche). Regarding those statements, it is clear that euthanasia is not a suicide, but a necessity. Nevertheless, world society mostly does not support this method and tries to prolong the life of the patient.
Focusing the attention on the legal problem of ‘good death’ and euthanasia, it should be noticed that some governments around the world have legalized this method. For example, in Holland, euthanasia is highly practiced for over ten years (Griffits 25). In Holland as well as in Belgium, euthanasia is an alternative to unbearable suffering of people. It also has a strong system of palliative medicine. It is a good practice that shows the world a real cure for such people who cannot live properly any longer.
To conclude, I would like to say that good death is the conscious end of life, without any doubts and regrets. The death of terminally ill patients should be regarded as a relief from pain and impossibility to live the real life. Every person must have the choice in every aspect of his or her life. The most important in democratic society is to make the life most comfortable and painless as it could be. That is why euthanasia should be regarded by the government not as a crime, but as a part of treatment.
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