Life can get messier watching loved one suffering painfully on a hospital bed. It will even be worse when the person is suffering from some terminal illness whose prospect of getting well in minimal. The situation raises a problem as to whether such people should be assisted to die to relieve the pain. It is an issue surrounded by many ethical and moral questions, but necessary to think about. Fortunately, states like Oregon, California, Montana and a few others have reflected on this problem and found it essential to legalize it. In those states, today it is possible to assist someone to die to relieve suffering and pain.
The case study provides a scenario where such laws would have been used. The man who killed his wife possibly shared the belief that a person who is suffering from a terminal condition, is constantly under pain and unable to live a dignified life, no longer deserved to continue being alive. It doesnt sound like a selfish point of view because even his wife had described him as a loving and caring man (Harry, 2000). He was possibly trying to relieve the painful, undignified state of his wifes life, by helping her die. Interestingly, the wife through her actions seemed to share the same point of view as his husband. She wrote a note instructing her husband to kill her. She was possibly feeling the suffering and the pain, and the hopelessness of ever getting out of the condition well. She had viewed it as the end of living a more enjoyable and dignified life. Someone who views things in this stance possibly believes that a persons life should be happy, enjoyable and free from suffering. Otherwise, there is no need for continuing to live. Also, she might have made a very sober judgment and thought she would not live long enough due to the disease, and as such, little would be achieved by her continued delay to death. She decided to ask it immediately.
From my perspective, the judge should strictly adhere to the provisions of the law. Ethics and law may not always agree, but where there is law, it tends to come first. It is therefore not possible for the husband to be acquitted because the judge believed what he did was necessary. Legally, the man should be sent to jail since he might have committed an illegal act. But legislation like Oregons Death with Dignity Act, or Californias End of Life Options Act would save the man, and have the judge rule it was a necessary act with no legal repercussions. The childs views are not reflected in the article, but one can try fit into their shoes and see how they may be viewing the issue. That will largely depend on their age and beliefs. For grown-up children, they may understand the necessity of their mothers and fathers point of view that life is worth when someone is enjoying it, and not when they are in an endless pain. Under that, they may believe that their mothers request to be killed and their fathers subsequent implementation was necessary to relieve pain and continued suffering on the part of their mother. Everyone may agree with the view that death is necessary one is terminally ill, except the clergy. These are religious leaders who believe life is sacred and can only be taken away by God, not intentionally by man. There are so many views on religion, and to them, suffering and pain is not a major issue, they believe one can always overcome through the father. It is therefore easy to conclude that before the clergy both the views of the woman, husband and the subsequent acts were morally wrong and shouldnt be entertained. They value life and any view that seeks to end it is simply wrong before these men of God.
Life can get real stressing when one is terminally ill, painfully suffering. When the prospects of such person ever getting back to live a normal, dignified life are very minimal, then it is only fair to assist such a person to die to relieve the pain. Delaying death for a suffering person looks wrong. They should be accorded a chance to die earlier and avoid the unnecessary pain, particularly when apparent that efforts to administer effective treatment are not possible. On that basis, I support assisted suicide in cases where patients are painfully suffering, and their prospects of getting well are minimal.
Harry, J. (2000). Man Ordered to Face Murder Trial in the Killing of His Invalid Wife, San Diego Union-Tribune.
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