The Practice of Euthanasia Essay

Euthanasia is probably one of the most ethically challenging and questionable practices in the medical world. “There have been many attempts to legalize euthanasia in the western world, but only a few have succeeded.” (Nunes & Rego, 2016) Due to this, it is still not legal is most countries, making the Netherlands, Belgium, Colombia, and Luxembourg the only countries that allow euthanasia on the legal basis. In the practice of euthanasia, if the patient is incurably ill, he or she can choose to let the doctors perform euthanasia on him or her, in order to pass away peacefully. Euthanasia raises the biggest ethical dilemma within the medical environment, with having too many advantages and disadvantages of being legal, or illegal.

According to AOTA, seven core values are included in occupational therapy. Thee core values are altruism, equality, freedom, justice, dignity, truth, and prudence. Exploring euthanasia as an ethically complicated practice, it is necessary to view its relation to the AOTA core values. Because, as Nunes and Rego (2016) state, “from a strict medical ethics perspective, international guidelines following the Hippocratic Oath and the World Medical Association Declaration of Geneva still consider euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide as a morally forbidden practice.”

Freedom is one of the primary values not only in the medical practice but also in the entire world. Every person desires to be free and make own choices, and lethally ill people are not an excuse. Euthanasia, generally, can be performed, if the patient has requested it, or has agreed after the doctor’s recommendation. In the article, Emanuel (2017) mentions several reasons for people to request euthanasia. Those are “Depression, hopelessness, being tired of life, loss of control and loss of dignity.” (Emanuel, 2017) Emanuel et al. (2016) also argue that psychological issues, such as “loss of autonomy and dignity, inability to enjoy life and regular activities, and other forms of mental distress” are the main reason for requesting euthanasia. Viewing freedom from the point of view of the ethical value, every patient must be free to decide, whether they want to live or to end their life with the medical help. Thus, freedom of choice is a strong enough argument to legalize euthanasia. On the other hand, is every person will be free to request euthanasia, many people, who are not able of rational thinking can choose to die, without having the need to do it. Many people argue that euthanasia is a selfish practice, in which a patient dies, while his or her relatives and close ones are left to suffer. In this case, another AOTA core value can be linked to the problem of euthanasia – altruism.

After one dies, the people who were close to the deceased individual are usually the ones who have strong mental breakdowns. It is understandable, why many people are against euthanasia – a person willingly letting a doctor kill him or her and leaving everyone to suffer sounds incredibly selfish. However, most of the times, the relatives and close friends are the ones who act selfishly. Being an altruist from the point of ethical value’s view means understanding, helping and caring for other people, without thinking about yourself. If the person understands that he or she will not be able to live with the thought of dying soon, or not being able to live the full life, and decides to let the doctors perform euthanasia, the relatives and the close friends should do nothing but understand the person’s decision. They should not get in the way by being selfish.

Many people are afraid to lose their dignity, and, unfortunately, a lot of them lose it, after being diagnosed with the incurable disease. Therefore, the right to die with dignity is one of the reasons, why people believe that euthanasia must be legal. “Legalized euthanasia would protect the vulnerable from wrongful death and enables peaceful death with dignity.” (Strinic, 2015) When someone believes that her or his self-worth will be higher if he or she dies voluntarily, then is will be right to legalize euthanasia.

Death is a quite complicated topic that people seem to avoid at all costs. Moreover, when the talk is about the death that is someone’s choice, the issue gets even more debatable. It is, without any doubt, a very challenging practice, if in the 21st century it is only legal in 5 or so countries in the entire world. Moreover, even after being legalized in the country, the arguments continue to happen. The issue of euthanasia is discussed even beyond the medical world. “Productive discussions must acknowledge that specific views will ultimately be shaped by past experiences, religious affiliation, sociocultural values, and political ideology.” (Barone and Unguru, 2017) Due to euthanasia being extremely controversial, it needs to be discussed in the context of the core ethical values. Whether one can have freedom of choice, the right to die with dignity, or the people, who are close to the dying person should think altruistically – all of the following are still up to debate. Culture, religion, personal beliefs play an essential part in deciding whether euthanasia is an ethical practice. Moreover, the world needs to decide, whether a medical practice needs to be separated from the social, cultural and religious norms.


Barone, S. & Unguru, Y. (2017). Should Euthanasia Be Considered Iatrogenic? AMA Journal of Ethics, 19 (8), 802-814. doi: 10.1001/journalofethics.2017.19.8.msoc1-1708.

Emanuel, E. (2017). Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: focus on the data. The Medical Journal of Australia, 206 (8), 339–340. doi:10.5694/mja16.00132

Emanuel, E. J., Onwuteaka-Philipsen, B. D., Urwin, J. W., & Cohen, J. (2016). Attitudes and Practices of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide in the United States, Canada, and Europe. JAMA, 316(1), 79. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8499

Nunes, R. & Rego, G. (2016). Euthanasia: A Challenge to Medical Ethics. Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics, 7 (4). OI: 10.4172/2155-9627.1000282

Strinic, V. (2015). Arguments in Support and Against Euthanasia. British Journal of Medicine & Medical Research, 9 (7), 1-12. DOI: 10.9734/BJMMR/2015/19151

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: May 6, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: May 6, 2021] (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
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[Accessed: May 6, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: May 6, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: May 6, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: May 6, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: May 6, 2021]
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