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Myriam Karina Bustillo Rubio

Student ID: A01186521

Comprehending the Cultures of the World 2nd Period
Debate: Euthanasia
Posture: Against
Euthanasia: A kindness or convenience?
I am an internal medicine doctor, practicing in Oregon where assisted suicide is
legal. I was caring for a 76 year-old man who came in with a sore on his arm, which was
diagnosed as a malignant melanoma, in other words, cancer. I referred him to two cancer
specialists for evaluation and therapy, and during this time my patient due to depression,
expressed a wish for doctor-assisted suicide to one of the cancer specialists. I, his primary
care physician was consulted last, and I told the doctors that assisted-suicide was not
appropriate for this patient, and that I did NOT concur because of his mental state.
Unfortunately, my concerns were ignored, and two weeks later my patient was dead from
an overdose prescribed by these doctors. His death certificate, filled out by the physicians,
listed the cause of death as melanoma. My patient did not die from his cancer, but at the
hands of a once-trusted colleagues. Dr. Charles J. Bentz, Clinical Associate Professor of
Medicine, Division of General Medicine and Geriatrics Oregon Health & Sciences
University (2012)
Unfortunately, Dr. Charless example is not one of a kind in Oregon; where
euthanasia is legal. According to Oregons Public Health Division this past year (2015) the
demand for assisted suicide rose to 155 prescription recipients, 600% more than in 1997
when DWDA (Death with Dignity Act) was approved (figure 1. Blue bars: prescription
recipients; Green bars: deaths). Among those patients who requested a prescription only
105 actually used the lethal drug, which means that 32% most likely regretted their decision
to die and lived on, as would have Dr. Charless patient had his secondary physicians not
prematurely decided to abide by his wishes and end his life. Legalizing euthanasia and
assisted-suicide leads to suicide contagion, becomes a means of health care cost

containment, and becomes a non-voluntary procedure, limited not only to those who are
terminally ill.

The meaning of the word euthanasia changes depending on the context on which
it is used, therefore it is vital to be clear about how the word is applied to avoid confusion.
For example, while some may think that it means giving the patient a lethal injection, for
others it may be withdrawing a life-prolonging treatment to avoid additional suffering for
the patient. After all, the original Greek meaning of the word according to the dictionary
means gentle and easy death, and who wouldnt want that? Nonetheless, both points of
views on the word concur on one thing: euthanasia is the belief that death would benefit the
patient, that the patient would be better off dead. Normally this is restricted only to extreme
cases where the patient has a terminally-ill disease, or an incapacitating one, but how does
one determine if a disease is beyond repair? The answer is that you do not decide, even
doctors know that it is virtually impossible to predict the life expectancy of a particular
patient. What physician do is decide the course of your treatment based on his diagnosis
and foreshadowing of your prognosis1; giving him too much power over human lives.
Therefore, in order to avoid personal grudges and feelings at the time of passing on
1 is a medical term for predicting the likely outcome of one's current standing

judgement on a patients prognosis, the doctors are held at bay by an unbreakable promise
called Hippocratic oath, which states the following:
I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a
suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity
and holiness I will guard my life and my art.
This means that euthanasia poses as a threat to a doctors integrity and career, therefore it
should not be done. Imagine for a moment if euthanasia were legalized world-wide with its
corresponding alignments and restrictions. Doctors who accidentally messed up and their
mistakes resulted in a patients death would resort and hide behind euthanasia in order to
avoid a law suit; which are gaining popularity nowadays, therefore this hypothetic situation
is not so far from the truth. Knowing this, patients would always be wary their physicians,
in fear of being killed by accident, or willingly; thus resulting in a weak patient-doctor
relationship. This is catastrophic because when a person does not trust his/her physician
they have a tendency of not taking any prescribed medication which can led to irreversible
effects on their health. It can be sidestepped if the patient went and got another physicians
reference, but some do not out of fear of medication and hearing about their disease, or in
avoidance of another bad physician.
Exposes vulnerable people to commit suicide
Looking at the situation from another point of view, euthanasia can understood to be
merciful, and to some degree dignified ending the life of a patient who does not want to
be in pain, or does not want to wither slowly. Granted, countries that have already legalized
euthanasia hold very strict limitations to the law, that are mostly concerned with the
patients terminal health which guarantees some safety to the population, but it holds too
much power. Lord Walton, the chairman of a House of Lords committee on medical ethics
looking into euthanasia spoke on the subject: We concluded that it was virtually
impossible to ensure that all acts of euthanasia were truly voluntary and that any
liberalization of the law in the United Kingdom could not be abused. This means that even
with all the restrictions placed upon a law, the distinction between voluntary euthanasia and

non-voluntary euthanasia cannot be controlled completely, and the drawn line that divides
both is not clear enough as to permit it.
Not legalizing euthanasia does not mean that doctors will go over to unhuman lengths to
keep a patient alive if he/she does not wishes to, a patient holds the last decision on whether
they want to try extreme procedures in order to fight for their lives, or enjoy what is left of
it in peace. This is why there are loopholes and countermeasures within France (the
Lonetti Law2), the United States (most states), and our countrys laws that do not legalize
euthanasia that still permit a doctor to prescribe medically appropriate analgesics that
coincidentally shorten the patients life, if and only if it is deemed suitable, and it can be
Legalizing euthanasia and assisted-suicide can relieve the pain of terminally-ill patients, but
it can also lead to suicide contagion cause by depression, stress and pressure caused by
others. It can become a means of health care cost containment for hospitals due to the high
maintenance fee in preserving life, which can lead to a lack in healthcare assistance when
treating the patient. Finally, it can become a non-voluntary procedure, limited not only to
those who are terminally ill, resulting in a medical negligence incited by a personal grudge,
or for an apparent greater good.

2 It introduces the concept of the right to be left to die; under strict conditions it allows doctors to
decide whether to limit or stop any treatment that is not useful, is disproportionate, or has no other
object than to artificially prolong life and to use pain-killing drugs that might as a side effect,
shorten life.

BBC Staff. (2014). Anti-euthanasia arguments. 16/10/2015, de BBC Sitio web:
Guardian Staff. (Thursday 17 July 2014). Euthanasia and assisted suicide laws around the
world. 16/10/2015, de The Guardian Sitio web:
International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide's. (2013). Arguments Against
Euthanasia. 16/10/2015, de Euthanasia Sitio web:
John Keown. (2002). Euthanasia, Ethics and Public Policy: An Argument against
Legalisation. 16/10/2015, de Google Books Sitio web: