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The End: A thesis focusing on Euthanasia and The Patient
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Centre for Applied Ethics.
2005 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year))Student thesis
Abstract [en]

Suffering from a terminal illness, or being chronically sick or severely disabled is not pleasant, which most of us will never experience life like this. However, there are people who are living in precisely that kind of constant, excruciating pain, agony and misery, 24 hours of the day, 365 days a year, stuck in a “living Hell” with no way of ending their enforced but unwanted torment – other than the highly controversial ‘therapy’ of euthanasia.

Those of us who are relatively healthy have a choice in how and when we end our lives. We can decide to wait until our life ends naturally, or we can speed up the process by committing suicide in whatever manner we choose. But, because of their illness or disability, the patients discussed in this thesis are being denied that same choice – because they must ask for help to die, they have had their right to decide matters such as when, where and how to go, for themselves taken away from them by people who believe that they know better than the patient what is best for them.

In Chapter 1, I will clarify some of the many, often contradicting, definitions and ideas associated with euthanasia.

In Chapter 2, because death is a very personal subject and everyone has different reasons why they want to die, I have used extracts from two very personal letters explaining why they sought euthanasia.

In Chapter 3, I will show how a patient considering euthanasia can use two Ends and Means arguments (Utilitarianism and Deontology) to decide if killing themselves would be the moral course of action to end their suffering. I will also discuss the morality of euthanasia eastern and western society.

In Chapter 4, the discussion turns to who would be the best person to help the patient die. I will examine how euthanasia can comply with various professional and personal codes of conduct and discuss the ideal character of the would-be euthaniser.

In Chapter 5 (the final chapter) I will conclude by using the information from the previous chapters to answer two important questions:

1. Whether it is ethical for a patient to even be thinking about euthanasia in the first place.

2. Who is (ethically) the best person to ask to kill the patient

This thesis is not about whether or not euthanasia should be legalised (as I will explain – euthanasia is already going on, albeit illegally) but to discuss the morality of asking someone else to go against all matter of strictly enforced and deeply ingrained legal, moral and professional rules imposed by society in order to help the patient die.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Centrum för tillämpad etik , 2005. , 77 p.
Keyword [en]
Ethics, euthanasia, assisted suicide, morality, rules, society, the patient
Keyword [sv]
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-74ISRN: LIU-CTE-AE-EX--05/14--SEOAI: diva2:22405
2005-06-21, 11:00 (English)
Available from: 2005-06-21 Created: 2005-06-21

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