Question of the week: Do you support euthanasia?

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 February, 2008, 12:00am

Ophelia Chan, 17, St Clare's Girls' School

I am strongly against euthanasia. It means helping 'terminally ill' patients to commit suicide. But at what point does someone's 'terminal illness' become death?

It's difficult to regulate mercy killing which could lead to seriously ill patients being neglected.

Doctors and nurses are there to save lives - not to kill people. Allowing euthanasia undermines the commitment of medical staff who are battling to cure people suffering from serious illnesses.

Once euthanasia is introduced, it may become the only way to treat terminally ill patients. This will discourage the search for new treatments and there will be more suffering in the world.

What if a new cure is found? Can we bring back all those people who have been killed off humanely? In the past, heart disease was considered a number one killer, but now it can be controlled with drugs and surgery.

Also, euthanasia disregards the value of human life. What's the importance of being alive? World-famous scientist Stephen Hawking is almost completely paralysed. However, he never gives up and has continued his scientific research.

We can say that he is a 'terminally ill' patient, but he has had much more success than many able-bodied people.

As long as you are alive, there's still hope. Besides, our life does not only belong to us. We are not alone. Our parents brought us to this world, so they, too, are part of our lives. We (including the sufferers) have friends and families who care about us.

Euthanasia may end a person's prolonged suffering, but it could lead to more misery among their friends and relatives. The supporters of mercy killing are ignoring the feelings of a terminally ill patient's loved ones.

Euthanasia cannot solve anything, so I am strongly opposed to it.

Germaine Sng Qi Min, 15, South Island School

Before you condemn euthanasia, think of someone watching their loved one waste away.

Without a cure for their illness, they suffer a slow, agonising death.

In such a situation, euthanasia is the only solution.

In some places, such as Oregon in the United States, the Netherlands and Belgium, the law permits euthanasia.

This shows how assisted suicide has evolved from an immoral act to a medical treatment.

Euthanasia is the most sensible solution to the problems faced by terminally ill patients and their families. Apart from watching their loved one suffer, a family has to bear a heavy financial burden.

Looking after a seriously ill person 24 hours a day, seven days a week can be overwhelming.

A recent study revealed the financial aspects of caring for a dying member of a family.

In 20 per cent of the cases, a family member had to quit work or make some other major lifestyle change.

Almost a third of these families lost all of their savings, and about 30 per cent lost a major source of income.

Nobody wants to see their loved one die in a slow, painful way. Euthanasia was born from our responsibility to prevent suffering among humans.

Death sometimes comes too late. There are times when a patient would not want to live like that, believing that they would be better off dead.

Under such circumstances, euthanasia is a rational choice, possibly the best available alternative. Therefore, euthanasia would be an act of compassion - no more than relieving a patient from his or her misery. Hence, rejecting euthanasia would be unjust and morally wrong.