Michael Attas, physician, medical humanities professor, and Episcopal priest, writing in the Waco Tribune discusses the ethics of euthanasia and issues surrounding end of life decisions. He concludes:
... I believe it is an act that can indeed be done out of profound love, and respect for human life and dignity. It is an act that is consistent with my own religious tradition and faith.
Questions we should always ask ourselves in the medical profession as well as our common culture is what is our highest value? What is our goal?
Upon what religious traditions do we fall back on to answer what are very personal and profound questions?
I would submit that the worship of biological life can take on a form of idolatry, substituting human existence for something more intimate and divine.
Providing an extra amount of time for a person that results in agonizing suffering seems almost inhumane and narcissistic of us as healers.
We often treat our pets with more dignity and compassion. Insistence of prolonging life at all costs seems to place our own needs and beliefs above that of our patients. I believe that a goal which many religious traditions share is relief of suffering based on compassionate love.
Preservation of life at the expense of dignity and freedom is often a misguided attempt to deny our patients something they all want — the freedom to choose their own terms of their passing from this world.
Read it all here.