Date of publication: 2017-07-09 01:33
Pressure on the elderly: The "right to die" can become a duty to die. Old people can be made to feel a burden on their families. Health insurers and hospital managers find euthanasia far cheaper than extended medical care.
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It's important not to confuse "passive euthanasia" with withdrawing life-sustaining treatment in the person's best interests. Withdrawing life-sustaining treatment because it's in the person's best interests can be part of good palliative care and is not euthanasia.
Undermines medical excellence: As the Dutch experience reveals, euthanasia doctors tend to be uninterested in palliative care. It is easier for doctors to administer euthanasia, than learn techniques for caring for the dying.
Directly or indirectly, euthanasia imposes many pressures on the elderly and people with disabilities. These pressures stem from family or society. Patients who are ill or dependent often feel worthless and a burden to their family and loved ones. The growing number of cases of abuse or neglect of elderly or those with disabilities illustrates that this is a major issue to consider. An overburdened health care system limits the quality of care and may create pressure on patients, making them choose death. Patients estranged from their family may think that euthanasia is the only solution.
There are several documented cases of abuse in countries where euthanasia is legal and in countries or . states where assisted suicide is legal. For example, in Belgium deaf twins were euthanized at their request because they became blind. Also in Belgium, a woman was euthanized because she was suffering from anorexia. In the Netherlands, a woman was euthanized because she was going blind and could not see the dirt. In Oregon, United States, a woman received a letter from her insurance company refusing to pay for her chemotherapy, but offering assisted suicide instead.
We know that euthanasia is increasing in countries that have legalized it: an increase of 68 % in the Netherlands in 7566, and another 68% increase in 7567. Moreover, according to The Lancet, 78% of cases of euthanasia are not reported. Assisted suicides are not included in the reports on euthanasia in the Netherlands, but they account for nearly 6 % more deaths. In Oregon, where assisted suicide has been legal since 6997, the number of reported assisted suicides has increased by 856%, but it is impossible to know what the real number, because the system designed to collect the data is flawed.
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Arguments regarding the euthanasia debate often depend on the method used to take the life of the patient. The Oregon Death with Dignity Act made it legal for residents to request a lethal injection from a doctor. This is seen in other jurisdictions as being a criminal form of homicide. However, passive euthanasia through denial of drugs or procedures is considered to be legal in almost all jurisdictions. Those who argue for euthanasia feel that there is no difference. Those who are against it disagree.
Our society aims to reduce the suicide rate. Quebec even has an annual Suicide Prevention Week, an initiative that some would like to see replicated across Canada. It is important to note that in the states that have legalized assisted suicide, the rate of non-assisted suicide has increased.