Euthanasia ： For and Against
“We mustn‘t delay any longer …… swallowing is difficult …… and breathing， that’s also difficult. Those muscles are weakening too …… we mustn‘t delay any longer.”
These were the words of Dutchman Cees van Wendel de Joode asking his doctor to help him die. Affected with a serious disease， van Wendel was no longer able to speak clearly and he knew there was no hope of recovery and that his condition was rapidly deteriorating.
Van Wendel‘s last three months of life before being given a final， lethal injection by his doctor were filmed and first shown on television last year in the Netherlands. The programme has since been bought by 20 countries and each time it is shown， it starts a nationwide debate on the subject.
The Netherlands is the only country in Europe which permits euthanasia， although it is not technically legal there. However， doctors who carry out euthanasia under strict guidelines introduced by the Dutch Parliament two years ago are usually not prosecuted. The guidelines demand that the patient is experiencing extreme suffering ， that there is no chance of a cure， and that the patient has made repeated requests for euthanasia . In addition to this， a second doctor must confirm that these criteria have been met and the death must be reported to the police department.
Should doctors be allowed to take the lives of others? Dr， Wilfred van Oijen， Cees van Wendel‘s doctor， explains how he looks at the question：
“Well， it‘s not as if I’m planning to murder a crowd of people with a machine gun. In that case， killing is the worst thing 1 can imagine. But that‘s entirely different from my work as a doctor. I care for people and I try to ensure that they don’t suffer too much. That‘s a very different thing.”Many people， though， are totally against the practice of euthanasia， Dr. Andrew Ferguson， Chairman of the organization Healthcare Opposed to Euthanasia， says that “in the vast majority of euthanasia cases， what the patient is actually asking for is something else. They may want a health