Euthanasia is a complex social issue connected with fundamental things for everyone: life and death. Nowadays, thanks to advances in technology and medicine, it is possible to extend life. Still, the problem of euthanasia is not only about rational measurements of the possibility to recover someday. It is an ethical problem concerned with aspects of religion and suicide, justice and privacy, and the role of a doctor in our society.
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Various social groups influence the social problem of euthanasia. According to the Catholic and the Orthodox Church, life is a gift, and everyone should follow God’s plan in their life (Kontomanolis et al., 2018). There is also an opinion that doctors should never support suicide because prolonging life is their main aim (Kontomanolis et al., 2018). Additionally, many people think they have an individual right to decide what to do with their bodies (Kontomanolis et al., 2018). Every group provides their arguments for or against euthanasia and cannot come to optimum judgment.
From the interactionist theoretical perspective, the attitudes towards euthanasia come from a different understanding of suicide. Each individual adopts the mood of their group, religious traditions, basic rules of behavior, and even the way of thinking. For example, the interpretation of life as an object belonging to God could be adopted by a person in its childhood from parents and could be questioned or left out with the changes in a person’s life.
I suppose that symbolic interactionism gives the most suitable explanation of the euthanasia issue because it deals with the social meanings of a problem. This theory considers the problem in the interpersonal context, which is in constant motion, undergoing continuous changes associated with the revision of norms and ideas. A person’s attitude to the problem of euthanasia can change due to moving to another country, disillusionment with religion, or due to their disease or illness of a loved one.
Initially, the problem of euthanasia appeared with the transformation in the understanding of death. During the 19th century, the cessation of heart function is considered indisputable death proof, but with the progress of science and medicine appeared the definition of reversible coma and brain death (Kontomanolis et al., 2018). The modern perception of death raises questions with the increase of people in the vegetative state: those patients would have died in the past, but nowadays, technology prolongs their lives (Kontomanolis et al., 2018). With the invention of defibrillation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the heart and lung functioning aspects were removed from the concept of death (Kontomanolis et al., 2018). In addition, religion and medicine consider what to call a brain death in different ways because a patient in that condition could have full cardiac and pulmonary function.
Supporters of euthanasia say that the ability to perform your duties and responsibilities, maintaining a functional society play a vital role; therefore, we should respect the wish of euthanasia. In contrast, critics of euthanasia declare the risk of increase in death rate and forged euthanasia, plus they do not approve of the sin against God. Thus, the problem of euthanasia arose due to differences in the perception of the concepts of death and suicide, different attitudes towards will, different ways of thinking of people of various professions belonging to a range of social groups and religions.
Kontomanolis, E. N., Kenanidou, E., Kalagasidou, S., Papamanolis, V., & Fasoulakis, Z. N. (2018). The Conflict between Euthanasia and Human Dignity: A Different Glance. The Ulutas Medical Journal, 4(4), 184-193.
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