by ChrisChevrier on September 12, 2016 - 6:18pm

In the article “A Comparison of Attitudes Toward Euthanasia Among Medical Students at Two Polish Universities”, written by Leppert, Wojciech, et al. in 2013, the researchers tried to demonstrate how young adults viewed the ethical issue surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide. They surveyed over 500 students from two universities in Poland to see if the younger generation was more in favor or against the practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide for incurable diseases. The results diverged slightly due to the environment of each university, however, the arguments in favor or against the practice of euthanasia were similar in both studies.

The arguments in favor or the euthanasia practice on patients were either respect for the patient’s will or compassion for the patient’s suffering. As for the arguments against the practice of euthanasia or assisted suicide, the researchers found out that most students were simply afraid of the abuse that could happen if euthanasia were to be legalized in Poland (which it is not, at the current time). It is also interesting to notice that they have observed a gradual decrease of students in favor of euthanasia following their ascension of university. Furthermore, the researchers have presumed that, even though the survey was supposed to be as neutral as possible, it is very likely that the results were influenced by the Catholic Church, since 85% of the students surveyed were Catholic by faith. It was also mentioned that the results of this polish study concur with other similar studies in Germany and Sweden.

In the ethical conflict of whether or not euthanasia should be legalized or not, there are different arguments supporting or contradicting it. As in any ethical issue, it is ambiguous and the “right” thing to do is almost always subjective since one bases one’s opinion on one’s values, which obviously differ from one another. Thus, I will not expose my opinion and simply state the values and arguments on both sides.

The people that favor euthanasia and its legalization are the autonomy of any human being, the compassion for the suffering the person must endure, and, often so, the person afflicted by the incurable disease will feel guilty of being a burden for society and especially for those around them (relatives). Also, people with incurable diseases are sometimes motivated to end their life due to the loneliness and depression they fall and eventually lose hope.

On the other side, people against euthanasia and assisted suicide declare that if legalized, it has an irrefutable potential of being abused for cases of people suffering disabilities, and the legal practice of euthanasia will become more and more a routine and “permissive” for more cases. Furthermore, euthanasia goes against some religious and moral principles, and is considered a prohibition with delicate consequences. One must also note that, even though it is not part of this ethics class, there is a legal difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide, thus encouraging people to be in more in favor of assisted suicide rather than euthanasia. To conclude, I would like to end off with perhaps a peculiar question not often raised in the issue surrounding euthanasia; could a person request to be euthanized due to atrocious psychological suffering? 




First of all, I like the topic you choose since it was and is still discuss throughout the country. I appreciate how you succeeded to explain both the arguments in favor and the arguments against euthanasia, but I would like to know your opinion about it. Furthermore, you stated that euthanasia and assisted suicide or legally different, and it would have been kind of you to explain in what way since such people, such as me, might not know the difference. As for my position, I believe that people who are suffering physically during a terminal disease should be able to end their life, but that people who are suffering psychologically should ask for help since that type of people sometime resort to suicide when they could have been saved. Finally, in Belgium, minors can be granted euthanasia and I ask myself if this is morally right.

Very relevant topic, and one that is quite complex because it is about deciding of the ending of a human's life. For me, euthanasia has to be legalised, because it is absurd that we impose anything on a person that is continually aching from an incurable desease. In nature, that person would die,so we are only artificially having that person live. Of course there are downfalls regarding euthanasia, one of them being that it is possible that a cure is discovered for that sickness anytime. As for the consequences and the What If's, we should let the families and the patient themselves seize their situation and decide for their own good. Also, I think this should only apply to terminally ill patients, and certainly not for psychological suffering, for the reason euthanasia should be allowed where we have 100% certainty of the fatality risk of the desease. Now, I would like to adress another issue with euthanasia: should anyone decide to have euthanasia for a person who is not capable of communicating his will?

Very interesting topic because it is very current and controversial. Euthanasia is commonly used for shelter animals that don't find homes and animals that suffer from diseases. Physician assisted suicide has recently been legalized in Quebec, under very specific circumstances. In my opinion, assisted suicide should be legalized worldwide but with very strict conditions. The patients should have a terminal illness and/or be suffering tremendously to allow them to qualify for this procedure. Without these conditions it would just be an easy way to give up and commit suicide and many people would abuse this opportunity. Since my values include autonomy and individual freedom, I believe people that suffer should be able to make their own decisions and decide if they want to live the rest of their lives suffering and slowly dying or have the privilege to die peacefully. Some moral claims that apply are "Respect people's autonomy" and "Everybody's interests should have equal consideration". For euthanasia, I believe the same rules should apply; only put down animals that are in great pain. If assisted suicide is legalized world-wide, could it possibly become hard to manage the all the people that want to die?

You chose a really good topic, that's very relevant today. It is relevant all around the modern world and is hotly debated, especially here in Canada. I like how you presented the article and compared it to similar studies near Poland, and shows more depth in your research. You present both sides very well and I think you did a good job of being unbiased, as was your goal, and list the arguments and moral implications of each side with excellence. To be the one to actually pick a side, I am personally for Euthanasia, because, as you stated, it values the autonomy of people, and I believe people should be able to make decisions for themselves, especially when it concerns their own life. However, I do believe that people should only be able to make that decision when they have the cognitive ability to, and they should be the ones that have to approve the decision. I also believe that allowing euthanasia promotes the value of respect, as you are respecting someone else's decision on their own life. The only thing I would have like to see in your article is your opinion on the matter, and so I ask ; are you for or against euthanasia?