Should euthanasia be legalised in Hong Kong?

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 June, 2005, 12:00am

(Thomas Li Chak-leung is the winner of last round's debate)

Mandie Ho Kit-man, 16,

TWGHs Mrs Wu York Yu Memorial College

Yes, euthanasia should be legalised in Hong Kong. Life is not about how many days you live, but how fulfilling and meaningful your life is. I think the rapid development of medicine interferes with the nature of life and death.

People suffering from diseases that cannot be cured stay in hospital waiting for a miracle or death. We have neglected one thing: do they live with dignity? Maybe euthanasia is the only way for patients to die painlessly and honorably.

Death is inevitable when there's no cure. Looking for death may not seem to make sense as life is precious. But we cannot feel the pain the patients are feeling We do not know what it's like. We do not know what's happening inside their body. No words can describe their feelings. Euthanasia is a relief for them.

Furthermore, because of human rights we should respect others' decisions. Every patient has a right to choose their treatment. For example, psychotic patients always turn down treatment as they think they're normal. And Hong Kong has no law that says medical treatment is compulsory. People have the right to die.Casting our emotions aside, the medical expenses of an incurable patient are a massive burden to the family. Most people cannot afford it. If we put ourselves in the patients' shoes, we would understand. They not only want to die, they also want to reduce their family's burden.

Thomas Li Chak-leung, 15,

St Joseph's College

No, euthanasia should not be legalised in Hong Kong. Euthanasia, defined as mercy killing, is carried out when a patient is suffering from an incurable illness.

Who decides which patient should get euthanasia? Doctors. If euthanasia is legalised in Hong Kong, the burden of a doctor is greatly increased. Doctors already have to make decisions as to which medicine to prescribe and how to diagnose patients.

Now we force them to decide which patient will die or won't die, and we want them to actually kill the patient. This is outrageous.

In addition, the family will also be involved in making the decision in whether to let their loved ones die. If euthanasia is really carried out on a patient, family members may feel guilty for the patient's death. If serious, this negative thought can result in breakdown.

The opposition is sure to say that everyone has the right to choose, so patients should have the right to choose whether to die or not. But we must understand that were dealing with death here and not some simple decision. There's no turning back. There's no chance to reverse your decision.

Incurable diseases may seem to be incurable at this moment, but nowadays medical technology is rapidly advancing. There may soon be a cure for a terminal disease. Why carry out euthanasia when there could be a cure?