If you’re an avid reader of the Greek mythology in your leisurely home at Pandan Perdana, you may have come across a familiar name – a personified spirit who brought death without practicing violence. Bearing the title of Thanatos, also known as the Greek God of Death, his touch is prescribed as gentle. Although he may seem minor in the mythology, he does play a major role in the mortal world (not literally).
So how does Thanatos relate to the medical field in any way? Euthanasia is the materialized form of Thanatos. In a sense, it is a deathbringer to those who have suffered too much to live and, depending on the patients’ decision, they can request for an ending to their life. Often, it is requested by those with terminal illness or if the pain is too unbearable for them to handle.
Euthanasia (other name is physician-assisted suicide) is defined as a medical method that refers to a deliberate action taken with the intention of ending a life who has endured unspeakable suffering to relieve it. The practice involves a specific drug or medication which is not fixed as it changes over time. However, the most common group of drugs used in euthanasia is barbiturates – which acts as a nervous system depressants. Though it may seem an empathetic approach to some, it is a practice that may be humanely acceptable but debatable in the court of law. This controversial method of putting out of one’s misery – acknowledging how precious a life is – are one of the reasons this practice is prohibited in a few countries (its legality in the Us varies between states). When it comes to euthanasic in Malaysia, there is no telling if there is such practice in hospitals around Sentul or Batu Caves.
Without further ado, here are 3 things you should know about euthanasia:
- There Are Two Types Of Euthanasia
Euthanasia has two kinds of procedures:
i) Active Euthanasia
- Refers to an intentional activity, where lethal substances or forces are used to end a patient’s life directly, whether by the patient or somebody else. In this case, doctors purposely give a lethal dose of sedative to put the patient to ‘rest.’
ii) Passive Euthanasia
- Unfortunately, there is no precise explanation of the passive procedure. Nevertheless, it is openly described as setting a limit on life-sustaining treatments to ease a patient’s passing at a quicker pace. Doctors may increase high doses of pain-killing medication as a prescription which will eventually become toxic over time.
- There Are Two Definitions Of Euthanasia
The consent of euthanasia has two classes:
- When it comes to seeking a voluntary approach, it all comes down to the patient’s decision himself. The patient who is in a conscious agreement must give their full consent and demonstrate that they are well informed about the consequences of taking euthanasia, which is self-explanatory that, it will result to death.
- This applies to cases such as the patient is completely unconscious or permanently incapacitated. Someone else, for example, a close family member usually comes with the decision so as the doctor receives permission to perform euthanasia on the patient. Usually, this consent involves passive euthanasia which withdraw one’s life support who has shown no signs of brain activity.
- Performing Euthanasia Is Strongly Controversial For Many Years
The hot debate about euthanasia is categorized into few perspectives:
i) Personal Request
- As mentioned before, consent is given if the patient were to agree euthanasia upon them. Thus, a “death with dignity” movement exists to encourage legislatures to allow the decision to pass easily without bearing a long dying process out of consideration to let go of the burden placed upon the patients.
ii) Morality and Religion
- Euthanasia is often mistaken as “playing God’s work” due to its ability to take or decide one’s own life in a matter of another person’s hand (i.e. the doctors or physicians) which is deemed to weaken the sanctity of life, but that is not the case. Many believe euthanasia to be another way of murder which is unacceptable in both morals and religion.
The question arises if Malaysia legalized euthanasia. Despite the country’s statutory legislation consists of the banning of active euthanasia, passive euthanasia remains implicit. It is worth mentioning that hospitals near Damansara Utama may have performed such procedures, but it is still not confirmed. Therefore, the status of euthanasia in Malaysia remains unknown or unfixed.