Controversies in the Legalization of Euthanasia

From the point of view that goes against the legalization of euthanasia, they have a standpoint in which it is believed that societies that allow assisted suicide as an option for people soon resort to forcing them to ‘do the right thing’ and end their lives. This perspective maintains that by supporting this movement, physicians and society do not really understand at all how to be compassionate with terminally ill patients and how to appropriately address their pain and other problems.

Additionally, they affirm that in most places where assisted suicide is legal, it is a fact that patients resort to it because they do not want to become a burden to others. From this opinion, it is obtained that it is necessary to ensure that people do not feel like a burden or even less, but rather that they should be assured that they continue to have dignity and that they should take care of it for as long as they live.

On the other hand, some think that the legalization of euthanasia would affect the physician-patient relationship. This is because it would not only undermine trust in the relationship, but also damage the profession and the role of physicians in society, as well as affect the responsibilities of medicine and the duties of the physician, who must adhere to clinical judgment, evidence and ethics.

Another standpoint is obtained from those who believe that assisted suicide will inevitably cause government and corporate administrators to decide who deserves to live and who does not. It is believed that those who will decide the fate of the weakest and least influential people will be the rich and powerful; therefore this would not only be the beginning of a tyranny but would also lead to legal injustice.

Family related situation

The situation between patients and their families regarding euthanasia and assisted suicide is more complicated

The motivation of patients to request assisted suicide is mostly influenced by the bonds between patients and their families. There are different opinions about having resorted to this process; on one hand, there are those who request assisted suicide because they are no longer able to remember their loved ones; on another hand there are those who enjoyed positive experiences with their relatives and consider the postponement or ambivalence of their request and finally there are the patients who believed that their relatives would not be able to handle it so they decided to maintain it secret.

However, there have been cases in which patients approach physicians seeking to end their lives by not wanting to be a burden to their families. This lies in patients’ fear of suffering, dependency, uncertainty or stress from caregivers they have previously witnessed around close family members

In addition, feeling like a burden is often a constant in the lives of terminal patients. It is not only because of the financial issues involved, which are in some cases, but they have the constant feeling that they cannot help with many things in their family’s daily life and would like to be able to do so.

As for the patient’s family members, many of them have conflicting feelings about euthanasia. Although they want their loved one’s suffering to end, regardless of their personal opinions, they often feel that assisted suicide is premature, or too definitive.

Once the euthanasia process has been performed, positive experiences prevail in the grieving family members. The family members are relieved that the patient’s suffering is over and that the patient’s request to die peacefully has been fulfilled.