The similarities and differences between euthanasia and murder

Having read The Deadly Choices at Memorial, I am shocked by the scenes that happened in a hospital under the circumstance of hurricane. When I read to the part of doctors and physicists giving euthanasia to some patients in the 3rd D.N.R. series, a question comes into my mind: the border between euthanasia and murder lies in what place? There are two points that the two actions share, which makes the border ambiguous. First, both euthanasia and murder are illegal in most of the places around the world. If one decides to carry out either of the actions, the person will understand that law will investigate the self until an appropriate decision is made to the “killer”. A person that has clear mind will react as what Richard said to Mulderick: “Euthanasia’s illegal…. There’s not any need to euthanize anyone. I don’t think we should be doing anything like that” (Fink, page 14) Second, the process and result of euthanasia and murder are almost the same: A person chooses to use an object for killing another person, and acts out till the person’s death. The two sharing points can lead to many wandering or complex law cases in reality, as the arresting to Pou in the article (Fink, page 26).

The two actions differ in their motivation: Due to a kind of humanistic characteristic of people – one should leave being tranquil and painless – the physicists have the power to treat the patients with euthanasia, and the power can be positive and reasonable. Adding the risk of being charged of law, the situation brings ethical dilemma for the executers, which can be proved by the action of Gremillion: crying and grabbing his arm, while saying “I can’t do this” (Fink, page 18-19). However, a murder in general often initiates because of hatred or disappointment, which are negative emotions of human kind. Although the killers with such mindset may hesitate before execution, the power keeps working to make them commit the guilty. Another difference can be the person’s purpose for taking the action. Because of the irreversible illness and the triage policy, it was almost certain that some patients in the Memorial Hospital is going to be treated to death. If the physicists act out euthanasia, the purpose will be reasonable, because they consider both the victims’ and the hospital’s situation, even facing with the law’s punishment. Therefore, it is different from murdering, whose purpose can be gaining something valuable from the victim to support the murderer’s self. Thus, one can know that the murderer does not consider either the feeling or benefit of the victim.

If people face complex cases as what happened in the article, the differences between euthanasia and murder can be the key points that help solve the problem.

12 thoughts on “The similarities and differences between euthanasia and murder

  1. I believe this is a very complex question that you are asking. It goes beyond the surface of definitions and dives deeper into emotions, content, and morality. I don’t believe it is possible to come to the conclusion of whether euthanasia and murder are more different or similar because it has to deal with the situation and looking at this situation from all angles. This includes the cause, the condition of the person who dies, and the one committing the crime among several other very important factors. I have to disagree with your statement that murderers don’t feel that much—if any— emotions or feeling for the victim when committing their crime. This may be true in cases of serial killers, who can kill people with seemingly no hesitation, but there are murderers that feel this regret every single day for the rest of their lives. You are right in the fact that there may be a difference in feelings and motivation, but again this depends on the situation. It may be true that murder may arise out of negative feelings in some cases, however, I wouldn’t say euthanasia is a positive experience to go through. The killing may be painless, but it doesn’t change the fact that someone’s life is taken by someone else. This, to me, adds more of a negative connotation to the situation. Also, I don’t think murder can be classified into one category. I believe it is more complex to do this and this is why it varies in different degrees in law. There is the crime of manslaughter, where a person is killed without malice. Could euthanasia be grouped into this category of killing or are the situations too different? There cannot be a line drawn between they are different or similar just like euthanasia and murder.

    I believe you may want to consider restructuring your central question to not necessarily force a reader to be on one side or another. The complexity of choosing if euthanasia is more like murder or not goes way beyond words on a paper. What I mean by this is that crimes like these need laws, interviews, and background information among other necessities to even begin a trial of this status. A possible question could be specific, relating just to the circumstances found within the “Deadly Choices at Memorial.” For example, you may want to ask, “How do murder and euthanasia relate and differ within the crisis at Memorial Hospital?” or “Why might the crisis at Memorial Hospital be considered murder?” I think centering your opinion and examining on one aspect instead of being very broad will contribute to your argument greatly.

  2. I strongly agree with all your thoughts. There is a thin line between euthanasia and murder. How does one differentiate each action if the end result is the same? Both end with the loss of life and both begin with a person initiating the action. By definition, both are crimes. As you said, the processes are identical. We saw that the doctors at Memorial were put on trial for murder because they basically killed people first handedly. Kat hit the target. She said, “The killing may be painless, but it doesn’t change the fact that someone’s life is taken by someone else.” However, I believe there is a clear line that differentiates the two. We have to look in depth at the situation at hand and the motive. The situation is a great differentiating factor. Certain situations can justify the controversial action. Firstly, we saw in Memorial that the situation was not good as the hospital was running out of resources. There was a lack of power and evacuating the unhealthy was difficult. The situation at hand was a difficult one and tough decisions had to be made in order for everyone, from the staff to the patients, to be safe. Secondly, the motive can be a differentiating factor. The motive to inject patients wasn’t to make them suffer, but rather to ease their suffering. This is similar to my argument on Wu’s post. Their actions are justifiable. They are professionals and know the situation at hand. Dr.Pou stated, “help the patients that were having pain and sedate the patients who were anxious” because “we knew they were going to be there another day, that they would go through at least another day of hell.” As we see here, her actions were justifiable because she metaphorically says that the hospital is like “hell”. Why have the patients suffer when they are most likely not going to make it anyways? Why not just end their suffering now, painlessly, with the same outcome. Murder, on the other hand, has a different motive. A motive of harmfully ending one’s life with a purpose of hatred. As you said, “murder in general often initiates because of hatred or disappointment, which are negative emotions of humankind. Although the killers with such mindset may hesitate before execution, the power keeps working to make them commit the guilty.” The mindset of murder is completely the opposite. Rather than having a mindset of doing it for the betterment of the person, they do it for the destruction of the person.

    I believe you chose an interesting topic and you wrote a great post. However, as Kat stated above, I do think you need to restructure your main claim. Your main claim should be an up and open question that makes the reader debate what side they agree with. Its suppose to be controversial. Your post doesn’t do that, rather it seems to be one big statement. You mention how the two actions differ and how they are the same but don’t add much flavor nor an argument. Can you make an argument that the motives behind the murder are actually less problematic than those of euthanasia? That would be an example of a really controversial topic that would grab the reader’s attention. Maybe your main claim could be, “Why the doctors are murderers”, or as Wu sort of said, “Villains or superheroes?”.

  3. I like the comparison you made between euthanasia and murder. You write that both of the actions are eligible, and “the two actions differ in their motivation” that “one should leave being tranquil and painless – the physicists have the power to treat the patients with euthanasia, and the power can be positive and reasonable” I agree with you, and I think this is a good aspect to argue the difference.

    I my view, the difference between euthanasia and murder is the altitude of the people that whether the people want to die or not, the way they passed out that if it is painful or not, and before euthanasia have you tried your best to change their mind and makes them believe that it is great to be alive. In the Memorial Hospital, the doctors and nurses didn’t ask for the answer whether people want to be alive or not but make decisions on their own regardless of the will of the patient. It will be euthanasia in the only occasion that the patient is willing to sacrifice, and makes the process of death painless.

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  7. I think the difference in a question like this is the way you think about it. It is strange to compare the process of taking a life against one’s will and taking a life of one’s own free will just because the result is the same. Back when I was a medical student we looked at a similar topic, with the example of incurable diseases that cause tremendous pain to a person and wrote papers with our opinion on euthanasia. My work even got on and there I wrote that I think if someone is tired of the constant suffering and knows that they will not stop, then this way out is better than not living at all. I know many won’t like it, but put yourself in the shoes of those who long for death to stop all this hell.

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