The select ethical dilemma, in this case, is that of euthanasia. The case involves a seventeen-year-old Joni. She experiences a swimming accident where she fractures her vertebrae leaving her quadriplegic situation. Like any other individual who is forced to exit his or her normal way of life to being a paralyzed person, Joni experiences a severe level of depression which is considered to be a prime catalyst to one ending his life. Also, the quality of life of Joni is at large. Such a situation or life experience can be analyzed differently either from a religious and ethical perspective or other alternative ways most of which reflect the secular ways of dealing with issues (DuVal et.al, 2004). In this case, the essay intends to respond to the ethical dilemma facing Joni in the context of her current situation of being paralyzed and quadriplegic. The response involved determining the most ethical way of handling the aftermaths of being paralyzed.
The change that Joni experienced after she fractured her vertebrae is significant. To some extent, it is also realistic to consider that she might not be in the position of engaging in physical activities. However, there is much that Joni has in life regarding achieving her dreams. The fact that she is suffering a person with quadriplegia and paralyzed situation could have been an awakening call for her to set an example of strength in accomplishing her professional and life expectations (DuVal et.al, 2004). Most importantly, being paralyzed does not entirely affect her mental capacity to pursue her expectations, reflect on the challenges she is facing and seek ways to resolve them. That implies that despite the fact that she might have to interact with counselors regarding the best ways to handle the unfolding chapter in life, she still stands a chance to push on as she assumes a feasibility of getting better in future.
As stipulated earlier, the life of Joni may not be as it used to be. It will be characterized by hardships and complex changes in life especially because the physical potential to take care of some needs is already depleted. Also, there is a likelihood of suffering from peers’ rejection. At times, the family members may exemplify traits of discomfort and even maltreat Joni based on her current status. Arguably, it is ethical and important for Joni to endure the life of suffering and hardship (DuVal et.al, 2004). From a biblical perspective, the book of Galatians 6:9 states, “Let’s not become weary of doing good. At the appropriate moment, we will reap a harvest of we do not give up the hope.” In this context, it applies to Joni who is expected to embrace his new ‘person’ and try to move on with life attempting to achieve the goals set. Further, the book of Jeremiah 29:11 argues that the Lord declares to people that he has plans for prosperity and not harm. Further, the Bible verse stipulates that the Lord has the plan to give hope and future. As an avid believer in God, this singular biblical reference is substantial enough to help Joni keep the faith and pursue her goals. In the context of God making such statements, it is vivid that challenges are part one’s existence. However, it becomes necessary for someone in place of Joni to consider these challenges but take them in an affirmative manner.
In the context of being euthanized, the whole concept of God’s purpose in Joni’s life commences gaining ground. There is one element about euthanizing that does create controversy. It is considered as the process of putting the living to death but in a humane manner. From one perspective, it may be presumed that the process is fair enough to someone in the position of Joni (Branthwaite, 2005). The rationale for stipulating this is that the process involves an ultimate goal which is to kill. However, it tenderizes the process to ensure that the person involved does not die in pain. It is this practice ethical? That is the question subject to discussion in this section. The fact that Joni is paralyzed is not disputable. Also, it is also clear that Joni requires abundant help from the friends and relatives for him to achieve his future goals. However, any effort to propose euthanasia to Joni would be a way of disregarding the promise that God granted in the book of Jeremiah 29:11.
In this context, it appears that Joni is the one who wishes to be euthanized. Usually, in the normal and legal world, Joni stands a position to make a personal decision regarding this process (John, 1997). An exception may be made because Joni has been in a mentally unstable situation. Ethically, anyone who is mentally unstable ought not to be granted such wishes since inappropriate thinking patterns may mislead them. However, the question here is whether she is mentally stable. If she was, then, did she deserve the right to undergo the euthanizing process? There are several factors, from a secular perspective, that could influence a decision to be taken in support of Joni’s current situation. First, if Joni is undergoing massive stress and pain, then it would be considered rational that any effort is taken to reduce the pain be taken. Options are laid down for the patient to select. Unfortunately, euthanasia is amongst them.
From a biblical perspective, Joni should not be granted the chance of undergoing a euthanasia. According to the book of Deuteronomy 32:35 and the book of Genesis 2:7, God is considered to be the giver of life. Hence, he is considered to be the only one who ought to end life and do it whenever he chooses to do so. According to research, there does not exist any example in the Bible that permits any godly person to attempt and take the life of another either through suicide or even euthanasia. Hence, it would be ungodly for anyone to take the life of another either from a legal ground or a secular one (Branthwaite, 2005). In the current era, the law has on different situations provided a platform where individuals are granted the opportunities to undergo euthanasia. However, from an ethical perspective, that should be the last option after all efforts to relieve pain and offer any possible assistance fail.
Joni’s situation is controversial. The secular approach to this situation is different from the biblical one. The biblical perspective argues that no one is mandated to perform such life-terminating activities such as euthanasia. However, the secular perspective provides that Joni has the full legal right to seek euthanasia performed on her (Branthwaite, 2005). However, from a conclusive and ethical perspective, in respect of human life, it would be inappropriate to support the wish by Joni to be euthanized.
Bible, H. (1982). The New King James Version. The Open Bible, Expanded Edition.
John Keown. (1997). Euthanasia examined: ethical, clinical and legal perspectives. Cambridge University Press.
DuVal, G., Clarridge, B., Gensler, G., & Danis, M. (2004). A national survey of US internists’ experiences with ethical dilemmas and ethics consultation. Journal of general internal medicine, 19(3), 251-258.
Branthwaite, M. A. (2005). Taking the final step: changing the law on euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. BMJ, 331, 681-683.