In My Best Interest?

In My Best Interest?

J. Gay Williams makes arguments in his article “The Wrongfulness of Euthanasia” to the contradiction of the practice to human nature, miscarriage of the procedure due to misdiagnosis and the slippery slope argument. I have always been against euthanasia primarily because, like capital punishment, there is always a chance that something could change: new information could become available, there may have been an error in the diagnosis, or technology may be developed that could change a hopeless situation to a hopeful situation.

The argument I had not considered before reading this article is the slippery slope argument Williams makes. Often those who have made the decision for euthanasia are too weak from illness to perform the action for themselves. The subject then designate someone empowering them with the ability to make the decision on when to end the subject’s life. The author states then that it is a short step from voluntary euthanasia to directed euthanasia given to a patient with who has given no authorization. This is a slippery slope none of us want to be standing on.

Going from acting in my own best interest to acting in her own best interest is not that big a journey. How many times have we said or heard “he’s not able to make decisions for himself anymore” or “that’s what she would have wanted”? Although we may have the best of intentions we often miss the mark when acting in someone else’s own best interest.

Who is to say when someone else is suffering too much? Is the suffering too much for the family to bear? Is the “hopeless” condition of the subject taking medical attention that could be “better spent” on other patients?

Who makes that decision? In the case of a long time and progressive disease or ailment the subject may designate someone to make the decision of when the suffering has become too much. What about when the suffering is due to an accident? There is no warning. John is a marathon runner who loves the outdoors. He is independent and strong willed. We watched a movie together when the star was in a coma for a prolonged time and he said, “I wouldn’t want to live like that.” No John is in a coma and the doctors have said that if he should come out of the coma he will never walk again and he will need assistance for the rest of his life. Can we assume that if John had the time to plan it he would have planned for euthanasia at this point?

And those who we deem mentally or emotionally unable to make decisions… or children… or those with no family… who should make the decision for them?

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2 thoughts on “In My Best Interest?

  1. hahahah first off this the cartoon is so funny. But should really be true. It should be easy for someone to end their life if they choose too. Its no one else decision but theirs! I think that yes people should think about treatments and about maybe a misdiagnosis but at the end of the day if they are completely okay to make the decision for themselves then that should be allowed. If someone has made their peace with leaving this world then they should be able to go happily. And if someone decides for someone to end their life if they reach a certain state and can’t make the decision themselves then it should be followed. Keeping in mind all possible options. And maybe for children the parents can make the decision for them. I mean all other decisions were made for us growing up by our parents up to a certain point so that could be a possibility. But then we fall into the area of “what age can we make our own decisions” Would that be 18 when you can legally do whatever you want without a parents consent? Euthanasia is a very complex issue but I still think its an individuals decision when they are in their right mind to make that decision.

  2. I agree. Euthanasia is a personal decision. As a society we should be responsible for providing information so that the individual can make an informed decision and leave it to the individual. The problem as I see it, comes when we start making rules: who is responsible enough to make the decision? who can make the decision for them? when can the decision be made? and if we make the decision one way or the other can we change our minds? We should at the very least have the conversation with our loved ones and trust that if we are ever in the position where we cannot speak for ourselves they will honor our wishes and act in our best interest.

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