Euthanasia Severely Debated Across Europe

The Netherlands is debating strongly about euthanasia

Many countries are seriously debating the raising questions and dilemma regarding euthanasia and propositions to make it legal in every country.
Medically assisted suicide and euthanasia were designed to provide professional help to terminally sick patients so they could end their life with as much dignity and as less pain as possible. Planned, steady, controlled, with the full support of their families and experts. When the legalization was formalized, the majority of candidates for euthanasia were oncology patients and people suffering severe, incurable neurological or other somatic diseases. The major idea was to free people from unbearable pain if all potential therapy methods have been exhausted.

The Netherlands was at the forefront

Back in 2002, this country has triggered the issue by becoming the first country to legalize euthanasia. Medically assisted suicide was officially accepted for those patients facing terminal illness and unbearable suffering, assuming they are in full consciousness to make this decision.

This legalization was severely criticized, but also approved by many and the medical professionals argued both opinions. More than a decade later, the country is facing new troubling trend.

Taking psychiatry patients into consideration came a bit as a surprise placing a lot of controversial ethical aspects at the table.Now the professionals and experts have to make up their minds and determine precise rules and criteria regarding emotional and psychological pain equally tearing apart many patients as physical pain can do. This put doctors in front of a bunch of tough dilemmas since we’re talking about the aspects of health modern medicine isn’t familiar enough with.

Controversial atmosphere in North Holland

This area shows alarming statistics and rapidly increasing number of patients requesting euthanasia due to mental illness or consequences of emotional trauma.
oThis brought up the first problem – How can we rate someone’s emotional pain as “unbearable” and how to be completely sure that no other therapy method could be applied?Mental health is a complex puzzle and, as cruel as it may sound, modern medicine needs these patients to study and analyze them in the quest for further knowledge and solutions. In other words, approving euthanasia to these patients could mean cutting them off the potential chance to face new found drugs or treatments that could come up within just a few years.
Other problems accented by many ethicists are the risk of taking euthanasia for granted, vague criteria, especially when it comes to minimal age of patients, so as tricky judging and estimating of suffering. Namely, there is an obvious increase in some patients with dementia requesting euthanasia due to unbearable suffering and terminal illness without a cure, but the questions are whether these patients experience their life as suffering or it is their relatives that see it that way.When it comes to patients with emotional trauma, such as sexual assault or emotionally caused anorexia, suicidal depression or personality disorders, the ethical aspects get even more complicated.

Amsterdam hosts the Euthanasia 2016 conference

Previously listed aspects of the mater are just some of the issues that have been discussed at the meeting where many experts gathered to face challenges of terminating patients’ lives.

Should modern medicine try to push borders or is it pushing them too far? What is the ethical thing to do in particular cases and how do we achieve correct approaches to this matter?

Dutch Euthanasia Commission announced its annual report on this matter where the newest achievements, results and conventions will be presented.

About the Author