Social Problem: The Appropriateness and Interpretation of Application of Euthanasia

Sociology is an important discipline since it enables learners to understand the society, people’s behavior and what shapes the practices and beliefs of different communities. Most of the aspects studied under this field are derived from what happens in the society and the changes associated with modernization, globalization and the evolution of communities. Both modern and ancient scholars dedicated their time to study various forms of human behavior and the issues that make people have different perceptions and reactions. Emmanuel Kant, Max Weber, Talcott Parsons, Robert K. Merton and Emile Durkheim among others believed that there is always a reason for why things happen the way they do.

Modern sociologists, philosophers and human rights activists like John Keown, Father Thomas M. King, and Mark Latkovic among others have advanced the theories of their predecessors and given different perspectives to enable the society understand itself through the eyes of ancient scholars. The issue of euthanasia has become a hot debate in both contemporary and traditional societies. Human rights activists, religious leaders, politicians and legal and medical experts have presented different perspectives regarding this issue and this has prompted a lot of research to establish a balanced view point regarding the appropriateness or otherwise of the application of euthanasia as a way of assisting patients suffering from chronic conditions.

There is no definite origin of the term euthanasia or its application in the ancient society since almost all communities had a form of ending the lives of their loved ones to ease their painand help them to die peacefully. However, Plato was perhaps one of the ancient leaders t endorse  euthanasia for people with mental or physical illnesses that denied them the privilege of living a normal life (Carrick, 2012). What is known about euthanasia is that physicians were expected to either cure or kill patients. However, the introduction and application of the Hippocratic Oath brought a new dimension and separated these two roles by offering clear guidelines of each. The nineteenth century brought different social conditions that forced scholars and the community to re-address the issue of euthanasia. Human activists challenged the application of this practice  while medical practitioners and legal experts argued on a balanced platform regarding its application to help patients suffering from chronic illnesses (ten Have, & Welie, 2014). Today, the issue of contention regarding this practice borders on the appropriateness and timing of its use.

The appropriateness of the application of euthanasia as a valid social research problem borders on the approaches that physicians use to end the lives of patients who have no prospects of recovering (Pool, 2014). This issue has become a social problem, especially due to the increased number of its misuse in both medical and non-medical fields. Today, medical experts believe that further research is required to establish the boundaries of applying this practice to patients. In addition, this is a social problem that has generated a lot of interest from religious leaders and human activist groups that believe people have the right to live and nobody should kill them until when their natural death occurs (Carrick, 2012).

On the other hand, pro-euthanasia activists believe that there is no difference between dying a natural death or through euthanasia since the patient will definitely die. They prefer euthanasia since it is a quick way of relieving pain and ensuring that patients do not suffer for a long time. These two diverse groups have made euthanasia a social problem in the modern society and there seems not to be a solution that will bring together these two groups and establish a middle ground for both pro and anti euthanasia crusaders.

Euthanasia is both a social and legal problem affecting families and communities across the world. The different and misinformed interpretations of the application of this aspect are largely to blame for the confusion that exists today. Today, the two groups fighting to see their side of the argument being universally accepted continue to bring to light the salient issues that affect the society (ten Have, & Welie, 2014). The misconceptions that abound regarding the interpretations of this practice make it difficult for people to understand how it can be applied in a correct manner without affecting the victim, family members and the public.

Today, it has become a hotly debated issue owing to the significance of its effects on the society. In his works “The Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals’ Emmanuel Kant believed that people’s ability to reason makes them achieve the status of moral agents. Kant believed that an action must be undertaken for a good course for it to have the moral worth accredited to it. He believed that euthanasia, just like other actions undertaken for the good of the people has a moral cause which is to ease the pain and relieve patients the stress of enduring long periods of suffering yet they cannot recover. Religious leaders and human rights activists believe that it is morally and religious wrong to kill people and that is why they abhor this practice.

Secondly, the belief that almost all diseases did not have cures until when they were invented makes people to believe that euthanasia is a social problem that should not be tolerated. Most people believe that the availability of modern technology and the highly qualified medical researchers will one day discover the cure for even the most complicated diseases (Carrick, 2012). There is much prospect that there improved health care and medical facilities have identified ways of managing chronic illnesses and that their impacts have been significantly reduced. These prospects make anti-euthanasia activists to believe that it is wrong to kill people just because there are no cures for their conditions. They argue that the moral concern of medical practitioners should be based on hope of a better future where almost all conditions will either be curable or manageable. Therefore, this social problem continues to divide people and create conflicts between them since there is no clear understanding regarding the possibility of hope for the cure of the many diseases and conditions that afflict people.

Lastly, Joseph Fletcher argued that there are numerous conflicts in loyalty adherence that put people in awkward situations while they try to remain sober and uphold their religious, professional, legal, and family loyalties (Fletcher, 2015). He argues that there is nothing very right to do that can justify the course of human action and that people can never be consistent in their loyalties. This psychiatrist uses Albert Schweitzer’s argument that the principle of reverence for life is complicated and this makes life a whole moral and social research problem.

Schweitzer’s beliefs confirm that practices like euthanasia will never be accepted by the majority if their applications and importance are analyzed through this lens. Euthanasia will continue to be a social problem in the modern society today and in the future because of the lack of consistency in understanding its application and the benefits the victims, family members and the society will achieve.

Euthanasia just like abortion, child labor and prostitution will never cease to stir controversy in all spheres of life. Nicole Steck, Matthias Egger, Maud Maessen, Thomas Reisch, and Marcel Zwahlen (2013) argued that the debate on the appropriateness of euthanasia has elicited new perceptions from the public. The authors argue that today countries like Belgium, the Netherlands Oregon and Montana that have already legalized this practice continue to register a higher number of euthanasia cases. The authors believe that no amount of intimidation or anti-euthanasia campaigns will stop people from seeking new and advanced ways of ending the pains of their sick loved ones (Steck et al., 2013). The more these campaigns are staged the more the people realize its importance and in fact embrace it. The social concern of the inappropriateness or otherwise of euthanasia makes is a popular practice in the society.

Moreover, the Hippocratic Oath outlines the physicians’ endeavor to protect patients against harm and injustices at the individual and social level (Jones, Tefferi, Steensma, & Kantarjian, 2015). The ongoing efforts by various nations to amend their health care policies and reform them are aimed at ensuring the people get affordable, quality and cheap health care services on time. Keeping patients with chronic illnesses for a long period of time accumulates hospital bills, denies other patients bed space and keeps physicians busy unnecessarily. The consequence of social research on euthanasia will help nations and the relevant agencies to formulate policies that will not only consider the interests of patients and physicians but also the entire population of a country (Chambaere, Vander Stichele, Mortier, Cohen, & Deliens, 2015).

The issue of euthanasia is not as complex as human and religious activists want it to appear. An evaluation of the existing policies and beliefs regarding euthanasia will help the society to establish a new approach to understanding its appropriateness. Euthanasia is a social issue that generates a lot of interest from individuals and interest groups yet there has never been an alternative solution of ending the long suffering of patients suffering from chronic illnesses.

The problem of interpretation the application of euthanasia has become an issue of concern in the modern society. Scholars have argued in support of euthanasia following the reasons they believe justify its appropriateness. However, religious leaders and some individuals  still continue to believe that it is a wrong practice and that nobody has the moral or legal authority to end life. The issue of euthanasia has become a social problem as it has not been properly articulated to ensure people understand it. The misconceptions about its application and the wrong perceptions propagate by anti-euthanasia activists makes is a dilemma and leaves patients and families suffering.

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