Artificial Life or Death

Essay by CannonA+, November 1994

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Artificial Life or Death

Euthanasia has been a hotly debated about topic for the past couple of decades, but has recently been thrust into the limelight by many controversial court and hospital decisions.

Euthanasia is defined as the 'mercy killing' of a person who is brain dead, terminally ill or otherwise at death's door. This usually, but not necessarily, affects people who are are separated from death only by machines. Whether you personally believe 'mercy killing' is a viable solution in a hopeless situation or not the proponents for both sides provide arguments that can be quite convincing. Supporters of euthanasia say that it is such an improbability for a miraculous recovery and a return to a normal life that it is not worth putting the patient through all the suffering and agony that prolonging their life would cause or the fortune of hospital bills that you would pay. The opposition feels that it is not right for people to abandon other members of the human race because there is always a chance, even though it is a small one, that they will regain all functons and return to a normal life.

There are many cases in which euthanasia is acceptable. Brain

death is one situation which merits euthanasia. It is also one of the more

common cases where euthanasia is requested. Brain death is when all brain

activities cease.

The lines are fairly well drawn in the law about patients who are suffering but are still compotent, but when the law is asked to determine the fate of a lingering, comatose, incompotent patient the lines begin to blur. In many cases the courts turned to the patient's family, but what if there are not any or they disagree? In such cases who decides? In a controversial decision a Massachusetts...