Thursday, 9 January 2014

A Letter on Euthanasia ( Liying, Daniel & Ryan )

Dear Government,

We as a group feel that euthanasia should be legalised in Singapore. The way that death is seen across different cultures varies. For example, the older generation chinese feel that when one passes on, they should leave the universe like the way they entered it. That’s why they choose not to donate their organs which will be used to save another one’s life. Also for the Christians, who believe in afterlife, might think that if their current life is unacceptable, they might believe that after committing suicide, they will go to a better place to enjoy the rest of their lives instead of wasting it on earth. Laws around the world also vary greatly with regard to euthanasia and are subject to change as people's values shift and better palliative care or treatments become available. It is legal in some nations, while in others it may be criminalized. Due to the gravity of the issue, strict restrictions and proceedings are enforced regardless of legal status. Euthanasia is a controversial issue because of conflicting moral feelings both within a person's own beliefs and between different cultures, ethnicities, religions and other groups. The subject is a source of ongoing debate and emotion around the world.
Brain death is a clinical and legal finding of death. The concept of brain death can be very confusing because the person's heart beating and their chest will still rise and fall with every breath from the ventilator. The skin is still warm and the person may appear to be resting comfortably or asleep, rather than critically ill and without brain function. This is because the worst of the physical damage is actually hidden in the brain, rather than visible on the body. When brain cells do not receive oxygen long enough for the brain cells to die, they will not be replaced and this would eventually lead to brain death. For one to be considered brain dead, the person must meet three clinical criteria. Unresponsiveness, absence of reflexes and the inability to breathe without a ventilator. When one is pronounced brain dead he or she is legally dead. Their death certificate would reflect the day the person was pronounced brain dead and not the date where the person’s heart stop beating.

Brain death is the irreversible end of brain activity due to total necrosis of the cerebral neurons following loss of brain oxygenation. It should not be confused with persistent vegetative state. Even after brain death the heart might continue at a slow pace but there will be no respiratory effort. Brain death is used as an indicator of legal death in many jurisdictions, but it is defined inconsistently. Various parts of the brain may keep living when others die, and the term "brain death" has been used to refer to various combinations. For example, although a major medical dictionary says that "brain death" is synonymous with "cerebral death", the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings system defines brain death as including the brainstem. The distinctions can be important because, for example, in someone with a dead cerebrum but a living brainstem, the heartbeat and ventilation can continue unaided, whereas, in whole-brain death, only life support equipment would keep those functions going.

A persistent vegetative state is a disorder of consciousness in which patients with severe brain damage are in a state of partial arousal rather than true awareness. A wakeful unconscious state that lasts longer than a few weeks. Unlike brain death, permanent vegetative state is recognised as statute as death in very few legal systems. In the US and UK, courts have required petitions before termination of life support that demonstrate that any recovery of cognitive functions above a vegetative state is assessed as impossible by authoritative medical opinion.

We feel that euthanasia is an ethical use because even though it is like “pulling the plug” on someone, the person dies painlessly or minimally painful and peacefully. Yes even though euthanasia is purposely taking a life away, you in the process do not do harm to the person. Sometimes it may even help the person to prevent suffering or other undesired conditions in life.  All in all, we as a group feel that euthanasia should be legalised, but the choice of whether the person wants to use euthanasia will be a decision by th

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