Euthanasia has become the subject of ongoing public, medical and political debate around Australia. The term Euthanasia originates from the Greek word “euthanatos” meaning good death, and voluntary euthanasia refers to the practice of bringing about a quick and peaceful death under medical supervision at the request of and in the interest of the patient.
Voluntary euthanasia allows patients to choose when and under what circumstances they will end their lives, showing respect for personal autonomy. Pro-euthanasia supporters argue that neither the state nor the society has the right to insist that an individual who no longer wishes to go on living must do so. While suicide is legal, patients may be unable to bring about their death or may be fearful that any assistance provided by their family and friends will result in prosecution, as assisting in suicide remains an offence. Furthermore the methods available for suicide often involve mutilation of the body, pain and severe discomfort. In contrast, voluntary euthanasia provides a means by which a person can die pain free, peacefully and in the care of their loved ones.
Voluntary euthanasia is also supported on the grounds of relieving unbearable and unmanageable suffering. On the 22nd May, 2002, 69 year old Nancy Crick ended her life by drinking 100mL solution of the drug, Nembutal, while 21 witnesses consisting of family, friends and voluntary euthanasia supporters watched on. In 1999 Nancy had been diagnosed with bowel cancer and after undergoing 3 operations which managed to remove the cancer, she was left with several adhesions leaving her in pain and with a poor quality of life. While Nancy reviewed her situation and delayed her decision to end her life to see whether palliative care eased her pain and suffering, she found that it did not help to her satisfaction. Palliative care in many cases can remove pain and suffering from terminally ill patients but palliative care experts agree that 5-7% of patients are not able to have their suffering adequately relieved. Voluntary euthanasia allows patients such as Nancy to end their live in a quick and pain free way, preventing them from suffering for substantial periods of time. In such cases, death is inevitable and voluntary euthanasia fast forwards this process and relieves the associated...