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I want to talk to you today about Euthanasia, also known as mercy killing. Let’s try and understand what is Euthanasia and the look at why, with all the sadness involved, it is sometimes the right thing to do for the patient and for society.
So first of all, what is Euthanasia?
It is any medical act of terminating treatment for a patient with a terminal illness when there is not medical procedure that could save his life, who suffers from pain and who has knowingly expressed his will to terminate his life. Euthanasia should be subject to an organized procedure to verify that the patient is indeed dying and that he has indeed requested to end his life out of his own free will after understanding the implications.
In some countries such as The Netherlands and Switzerland, for example, one can sign a special will notarized by a doctor and an attorney to order termination of life extending treatment.
So why Euthanasia good for the patient
It is important to understand that the final stages for a disease such as cancer or diabetes are painful beyond imagination. Chemotherapy often feels like it is ‘burning’ the veins and the tumors themselves are excruciatingly painful in every organs to which they metastasize.
Beyond the physical pain, the patient suffers emotionally from his physical deterioration, his total dependence which precludes any sort of freedom and often also from his family’s burden and distress. This leads many patients to ask for end to their suffering and we are obligated to honor their request.
Next let us see why Euthanasia is in society’s interest
What we must understand is that we have a limited number of doctors, nurses and beds, and that our hospitals are already overextended and operate at full capacity and beyond. In this situation we often deny the best treatment from patients who could be saved and who want to be saved, because the necessary equipment and medical personnel are occupied pointlessly extending the excruciating lives of terminal patients against their will.
It is an uncomfortable truth, but a truth nevertheless, that the doctors who took care of Ariel Sharon all these years could have saved many lives during that time, and it is very hard to say that Sharon gained anything from their treatment.
So to conclude
We saw that Euthanasia is a noble way to help suffering people who want to end their misery do so, and we have also seen that it is good for their families and for society at large.
Therefore I recommend that you all sign a ‘living will’ to ensure that when the day come, you and your loved ones will not have to suffer beyond what is necessary.