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Euthanasia is the painless killing of a patient suffering from an
incurable or painful disease or in an irreversible coma. It became legal in
Canada, in June 2016 to relieve the suffering of terminally ill adults. Before
it was legalized, it was considered a form of culpable homicide. Euthanasia
should stay legal in Canada. It gives patients suffering from incurable
diseases the choice to die painlessly, it is a doctor’s job to relieve their
patient’s pain, even if it affects their life expectancy, and euthanasia should
be a natural extension of the patient’s rights.  

When suffering from a painful and chronic illness,
patients should always have the right to choose a painless, peaceful
death. First, when not given the choice of a painless death, patients and their
loved ones often take the choice into their own hands.
In Voluntary Euthanasia Debate by Justin Healey, Jane Lyons reports
on Don and Iris Flounders, “In 2007 Don was diagnosed with mesothelioma, and
the following year . . . he and his wife travelled to Mexico to purchase the
barbiturate commonly used to euthanize animals . . . They were found dead the
next day, holding hands” (pg. 38). When faced with the choice to end their
lives peacefully or continue suffering, patients are making the choice to die.
The illegalization of euthanasia would not be saving their lives. It would be
forcing them to take them on their own. Secondly, the patients are not living
full or meaningful lives, they are trapped and in pain. In Voluntary
Euthanasia Debate, Lyons quotes the recorded last words of Don Flounders
saying, “I have reached the point where my quality of life is dreadful. I am
dependent on Iris and my world has shrunk to this small bedroom. This is no
life” (pg. 38). It is cruel to force a person that is in pain and
completely dependent on others to continue to suffer in this way. It
is their right to choose to end their suffering in any way they deem necessary.
Lastly, patients eligible for euthanasia are already dying; forcing them to
live is just delaying the inevitable. Karen Sanders states in “Pros and cons of
assisted dying” that, “The commission has rejected permitting assistance to die
for people on the basis of age and/or disability. Instead, it has recommended
that assisted dying is available only to people who have a diagnosis of
terminal illness that is likely to lead to the patient’s death within 12
months” (para. 7). No one that will live for longer then a year is
even considered eligible for euthanasia. Patients eligible are already dying;
assisted suicide just allows them to do so without pain. In conclusion, not
allowing a patient the right to end their life without pain is cruel and does
not save lives. They should be able to choose to end their pain in a safe and
controlled environment.  

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It is a doctor’s job to treat their patient. In cases of both
curable and incurable diseases, doctors are permitted to give patients
treatments that will adversely affect their life
spans. Assisted suicide is no different, it is a treatment
to alleviate patients suffering “We put our trust in doctors
throughout our lives, and the final trust for many is the assurance that their
doctor will not abandon them if all treatments fail”
(Healey, 2013, p. 39). For doctors or hospitals to deny someone
their right to assisted dying would be to refuse to do their job. It
would leave their patient untreated and suffering. Moreover, it
is the patient’s choice to go through with any treatment, and the
doctor is required to administer that treatment. If a patient that is of
sound mind and is eligible for euthanasia makes the choice, it is not
the doctor’s place to deny them it “it is the patient who must take the
life-ending medication themselves, placing them firmly in charge of their own
death. It is their ultimate choice that is to be respected” (Hamilton, 2016, para.
3). Furthermore, medical and palliative care are not always effective in
treating a patient “It is widely acknowledged, including by Palliative Care
Australia and the Australian Medical Association, that even the best of
palliative care cannot help all patients – between 5-10% find their suffering
so unbearable that they persistently request an assisted death. Our palliative
and medical care is highly regarded, but it can never be 100% effective” (Healey, 2013, p.
39) When medical and palliative care fail it falls to one’s doctor to provide
additional treatment, and ease their pain.  

The right to die a dignified, painless death is a
natural extension of a patient’s basic rights. While the
right to life is voiced in many countries legislation, it is not said
in any of them that a person has to live if they do not want to ” the right of
persons to live does not mean that they also have an obligation to live
on, whatever the circumstances and regardless of their autonomous opinion or
choice in this regard” (de Jong & van Dijk, 2017, p.
14). The right to force someone to live does not exist, and
with suicide and attempted suicide decriminalized in Canada
since 1972, there is no reason for patients not to have the right to
die. In addition, to deprive people of the right to die peacefully would
be disrespectful towards patients and would show an indifference to
their suffering “In our view, respect for persons is derived from a notion of
the individual as an autonomous agent having the ‘right to hold views, to make
choices, and to take actions based on their personal values and beliefs” (de
Jong & van Dijk, 2017, p. 13). Patients deserve the
right to die without suffering, anything else is an insult
to their right to choose and to the pain they are enduring.
Additionally, to deny treatment of a patient would not violate the Hippocratic
Oath to ‘do no harm’. The oath originated 2,400 years ago and begins
by swearing to Apollo and to all the gods and goddesses and it states that the
doctor will teach his art without fee or stipulation. Few if any medical
schools require their students to take the original form of the Oath. The UK
General Medical Council has revised the oath taken by graduating doctors to
reflect good medical practice and duties of a doctor (Healey, 2013). With
these changes, the Hippocratic Oath remains intact. “Avoiding harm” is not
something that is always feasible. Most medical procedures have side
effects, both positive and negative that need to be considered.
Under the revised Oath, patients have the right to choose euthanasia when
they feel it is in their best interest because it will
no longer be considered something harmful to them. Instead,
it is considered just another treatment with side

The idea that family members can influence patients is often used
as an argument against euthanasia. “The commission was told by Action on Elder
Abuse that ‘an older person can actually end up being placed in a situation
where they appear to be making decisions in isolation, independently, but
actually are heavily influenced by what’s taking place within the family unit
around them'” (2012, pg. 2) This argument fails to mention that not wanting
family to bear the pain of their illness can be a valid reason for a patient to
consider euthanasia. The strain put on their loved one’s can cause them
additional emotional pain that sways their decision. In the end, influence or
not, it is still the patient’s choice and no one else’s. The argument that
assisted dying is murder is also used as a point against euthanasia. “The
inviolability of human life is not something known only through divine
revelation. The concept is found in . . . contemporary international
conventions such as the European convention that states: “Everyone’s right to
life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life
intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his
conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.” The concept
expresses the belief that human life possesses an intrinsic dignity which
grounds the principle that one must never intentionally kill an innocent
human being “(Healey, 2013, p. 21). Euthanasia is not murder; it is a way
of ending a person’s pain. Many treatments can negatively affect a patient’s
lifespan. Assisted suicide is no different. While other opinions on the matter
do exist, they are invalid and do not hold up. Euthanasia should remain legal
in Canada.  

All Canadian’s have the right to choose to die when suffering from an
incurable and painful disease. Euthanasia gives patients a peaceful
death. Furthermore, it is a doctor’s job to provide treatment to their
patient, and it is the patients right to choose to die with dignity. The
legalization of assisted suicide gave those suffering incurable diseases a
choice. With Canada’s population steadily becoming more
diverse, forcing the views and beliefs of a few groups on
everyone is prejudiced against those who want the option of euthanasia.
Someone’s right to die is something that they have an intrinsic right to, and
is not debatable; it is the only fair and rational option.

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