An episode in the seventh season of the ongoing television program known as Grey’s Anatomy was very eye-catching. Dr. Hunt (Kelvin Mckidd) had some issues because of an experience he once went through when he was an army doctor. He and his senior were on their way to attend some wounded shoulders when they got an accident. His senior was badly hurt especially on his neck as he had a deep cut. The senior stopped the bleeding by pressing his hand on the wound. After some time, Dr. Hunt held the cut with his hand. After waiting for help for sometime, the senior asked Dr. Hunt to remove the hand from the cut so that he would bleed to death. He said that he was in a lot of pain and help was taking too long to arrive. After pleading with him for a very long time, Dr. Hunt let his senior, who was also his friend bleed to death. After a while, a helicopter arrived. This brings to mind the ongoing debate on whether euthanasia should be ethically allowed. Euthanasia should be seen as a means to an end and not just ending a life for the sake of it.

Euthanasia is the act of ending a life intentionally with the motive of relieving the individual from an agony or pain (Friedman 5). In most cases, this act takes place with the help of a medical doctor. However, there are cases where individuals a forced to make decisions between death and death only that one of the options has an almost zero percent of the individual surviving while the other has a hundred percent death result. The debate on whether euthanasia is ethically and morally right may continue. However, the fact remains that euthanasia, whether physician assisted or assisted by other individuals, is continuing to take place.

In most cases, euthanasia takes place with the help of a physician. In Netherlands, the consent of the patient is not necessary for euthanasia to take place. More than 3100 euthanasia cases were reported by the Dutch government in 2010. This was a 19% increase from the previous results (Friedman 52). A state such as Oregon in the United States, Belgium, Luxembourg, amongst other states have legalized euthanasia.

Those who do not support euthanasia have raised a couple of ethical arguments against it. As these arguments are reviewed, it is objective to view euthanasia as a means and not an end. It is a fact that death is an option as far as sickness and diseases are concerned. When people get sick, the doctors treat them in anticipation that they will get well. However, this is not always the case. There are those who get worse by the day. The health deteriorates, the pain excruciates and the agony becomes unbearable. In some cases, the doctors confirm their inability to do anything more for the patient in order to improve the situation. In such cases, the only facilities keeping the patient alive are the life supporting machines. If the patient were to recover, he would only live a very painful life full of agony. In such cases, what can a person and especially the patient do?

Arguments Against

The BBC website (2012) listed a number of arguments raised by the parties who are against euthanasia or physical assisted suicide. One of the ethical arguments raised is that euthanasia weakens the respect for the sanctity of life offered by the society. This argument looks at euthanasia from one perspective. It views euthanasia as plain murder. It views euthanasia as different from manslaughter where one kills another in the process of defending him/herself. However, is euthanasia different from such an act as manslaughter? After all, the one in defense still killed another human being. If one views manslaughter as an act of defense, where there was no option but view euthanasia as an act of murder where one has the option of letting the patient live despite the consequences, then the two would be different. However, if one views the two acts as an issue of choosing between two ‘evils’, then the two are in the same category.

If one was to look at the two acts independently, one would see the similarities in both yet one act seems to be more unethical than the other. One killing in self-defense has an option of letting the other kill/him or her. The one committing euthanasia has an option of letting the other live in agony, pain and despair, where chances are that the patient will still end up dying. With such similarities, the manslaughter may be considered unethical while euthanasia is considered unethical. It is only fair to view life as one to be enjoyed. Allowing a patient to die at his or her terms in such circumstances is not degrading life but rather appreciating that life will end at some point.

Euthanasia proves that lives have different values, making the lives of the sick worth less than the lives of the healthy (BBC, 2012). This is another argument brought forth by the some anti-euthanasia debaters. The worthiness of a life cannot be determined through the absence or presence of euthanasia. Just as the way sicknesses and diseases do not make lives valueless, so will euthanasia not make lives worthless.

Euthanasia is a means to an end. As earlier mentioned, diseases are present and they make our lives to be uncomfortable. Just as the way amputating an arm or a leg might be a solution to a sickness, euthanasia should also be a solution to a problem. In the above anecdote, Dr. Hunt, in order to get rid of the guilt in him, tried to convince a cancer patient to wait a little longer before undergoing euthanasia. The patient was only left with a few more days to live. Her hair was lost due to the chemotherapy and most of her organs were failing due to the chemotherapy. The cancer did not respond to the treatment and she could only breathe with the help of a gas mask. In a few more days, she would experience failed organs, and many other complications due to the spread of the cancer. When the doctor tried to tell her that a cure could be found the next day, she responded that the next day would be too late for her. Her last request was some wine in proper glasses and not paper cups. Euthanasia would only make such a life meaningful and not worthless.

Other people argue that voluntary euthanasia would only be a starting point for the involuntary euthanasia where the undesirable people would be disposed of (BBC, 2012). Like in any other law, euthanasia has its limitations. There are certain regulations and procedures followed to ensure that the person in question is fit for euthanasia. In most cases, the doctor’s consent is required in order to prove that the patient has the least chance, if any, of recovering from such a health problem. It is not just a window to killing, it a process that has procedures to be followed even though the patient’s consent is the most significant.

Euthanasia may not be administered in an individual’s best interest. Some patients ask for euthanasia prior to the agony period while others ask for it during that period (Hadar 2012). However, in most states, there are processes to be followed in order to make sure that the patient can undergo it. In such cases, a doctor’s consent is required. Women in the labor ward say many things when going through the labor pains. However, some actions cannot be done to such people without their consent. This is because the state they are in and the doctors allowed prevent such actions from being taken. However, those requesting for euthanasia also go through similar or worse pains. In the latter cases, the patients have no hope of getting better. If anything, they will only get worse. In other cases, it will take longer than expected and thus prolong the agony. Such patients should be allowed to make decisions especially with the presence of a doctor.

It has been argued that euthanasia affects the rights of other people apart from the patient’s rights. As mentioned earlier, death is a result just as the way getting better is a result. Although there are patients who go through sudden deaths, patients requesting for euthanasia undergo a slow death. They usually undergo a slow and very painful death. Euthanasia should be viewed as a means in which a loved one was prevented from the agony of experiencing the slow and painful death (Haldar, 2010). Allowing the patient to go through the agony will be violating his/her rights more than it will violate the rights of those surrounding him/her. Whether one dies in a sudden car accident or he/she dies slowly in a hospital bed as a result of failing organs, a loved ones death is still painful. Although euthanasia may be seen as a selfish action in the eyes of those dependent on the patient, seeing a loved one agonize over a situation one can do nothing about is a worse experience.

It is important to appreciate that life is important and that one does not know what will happen in the next minute. A cure might be found before the patient dies, a miracle might happen or help might arrive as in the case in the Grey’s Anatomy program. However, the fact remains that most of the cases considered as hopeless are actually hopeless. It is only fair that one allows the patients to die peacefully without the agony that will result in the same thing, death.


Euthanasia should be viewed as a means to an end and not an end. It does not weaken the sanctity of life, devalue the sick people’s lives, a starting point for involuntary euthanasia and does not affect the rights of others. It is only a means to an since it has been proven that death as well as cure, is a result to a disease or health condition. People go through many things when trying to be cured yet they are allowed to sleep back and wait for the time of their death without doing anything about it. The pain and agony that come along with some diseases and health conditions should not be allowed on people especially if they will end up dying after all. People should be allowed to have their way in the conditions that are considered hopeless.

Works cited

Alters, Sandra. Death and Dying: End-of-life Controversies. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2006. Print.

British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC. Anti-euthanasia Arguments. Web. BBC Ethics Guide, 2012. Web. 21 February, 2012. <>

Friedman, Lauri S. Euthanasia. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Print.

Haldar, S. “Euthanasia.” Journal of the Indian Medical Association. 108.10 (2010). Print.

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