End of Life Ethics: The Right to Die

The end of a loved one’s life is a very emotion filled time for everyone close to them. Services like hospice care and life support cause great upset in society due to the massive variance between cultures in society. These beliefs clash so harshly that it proves to be a significant obstacle when defining laws about end of life care. I think this is a fascinating topic, not only because of its controversial nature, but the fact that it very directly affects all of us. Eventually, all of us will have to obey the laws we set earlier in our lives regarding our death.

Euthanasia is one of these controversial topics. The word itself is derived from the Greek words for “good” and “death”, inferring that it is what the victim wants. Interestingly enough, this word has the exact opposite reaction in society. On one hand, many people believe that people deserve the right to end their life. If the quality of your life is only suffering, then the victim should have the right to end it. Euthanasia is almost always associated with negative connotations because of its “murder” like actions. This is because it is referred to as more active killing, versus simply letting the victim die. Then it seems more like a crime, which is huge argument for making assisted suicide illegal.

Assisted suicide is closely related to euthanasia yet very different. If the patient performs the final act that ultimately kills them, it is considered assisted suicide. Controversy surrounds this method of death due to the fact that someone aids a “wrong act”. The line between assisted suicide is also a very blurry one. It can be very close to murder if the patient is too weak and is therefore taken advantage of. The major benefit of assisted suicide is that it maintains dignity for the victim. The ability for the victim to make his/her own decisions makes the grief much easier to handle after death.

End of life is a very troubling time for both the victim and everyone around them. This is why these decisions based around end of life ethics are need to satisfy everyone’s desires. Because of the many restricted laws in our current end of life system, most people suffer against their will. This is not only unethical, but just plain wrong. I intend to examine these methods of death, pursuing what is most ethical.


Potential Works Cited:

Boisvert, Marcel. “Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.” The Permanente Journal 16.2 (2012): 75–76. Print.

Soh, Tze Ling Gwendoline Beatrice et al. “Distancing Sedation in End-of-Life Care from Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.” Singapore Medical Journal 57.5 (2016): 220–227. PMC. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

Bascom P. End-of-Life Ethics. JAMA. 2006;296(3):336-341. doi:10.1001/jama.296.3.339

5 thoughts on “End of Life Ethics: The Right to Die

  1. Where I see the role of ethics in your essay topic, I do not see the role of empathy as clearly. I think it is important to find a topic that encompasses both and I think you can do that with this topic, but maybe focus on the relationship between physicians and patients during physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia or go in depth on how empathy plays a role in how society feels about euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

    I think the question you are asking now is “Are euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide ethical?” and I think you are going to argue that physician-assisted suicide is while euthanasia is not.

    I do not think it is specific enough of a topic now, but I think you have built a good foundation to argue on. It is definitely debatable and I think it would be productive to find an article in favor of euthanasia (arguing for its ethical credibility and use it as a counter-argument. I think it would be useful to add empathy in as a key term when researching both of these things- euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide- to find sources that may talk about this and help you form a more supported position.

  2. Question: “Is it ethical to allow someone to suffer when they want to end their life, and is it ethical to allow them to end their life?” I think that you should make the question more clear in your paper. This blog post shows that you have a good handle on the topic, and that you know a lot about both sides of the argument. It is definitely a debatable question. I think that it is specific enough to really dig deep and also broad enough to write enough about it.

  3. I really like your topic and how you focus on one aspect of bioethics. Question: Is euthanasia and assisted suicide ethical and, if so, should it be legal? I completely agree with your view and your argument that assisted death is ethical and laws should be made that allow patient choice. Some key terms include euthanasia, assisted suicide, murder, quality of life, dignity, and suffering. I think you can easily tie-in empathy by talking about the empathy of a patient’s family or their doctor in these tough situations where the patient wants the option to die. You could also include the four major bioethical considerations I mentioned in my proposal: autonomy, beneficence, nonmalifacence, and justice. This topic seems like a good amount for an 8-12 page paper. Using specific examples of patients, different types of end of life care and current laws, this will be a great paper.

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