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죽음 선택의 문제에 관한 기독교 윤리학적 고찰

Title
죽음 선택의 문제에 관한 기독교 윤리학적 고찰
Authors
백성혜
Issue Date
2002
Department/Major
신학대학원 신학과
Publisher
이화여자대학교 신학대학원
Degree
Master
Abstract
Modern scientific civilization, especially, the development of medical technology has come to expand women s life spans. A century ago, high blood preassure, pneumonia, appendicitis, and diabetes likely meant death, often accompanied by excruciating pain. Women had shorter life expectancies than men since many died in childbirth. Antibiotics, immunizations, modern surgery and many of today s routine therapies or medications were unknown then. While the achievements of modern medicine have been used to prolong and enhance life for many, they have also helped create an often dreaded context for dying. Costly technology may keep persons alive, but frequently these persons are cut off from meaningful relationships with others and exist with little or no hope for recovery. Such technology also raises moral questions. For example, is it moral to withdraw a life-support system which is believed to be an inappropriate extension of the dying process? Thanks to high-tech health care and life-tech machines, human beings could set apart from the pain in some part, but unfortunately, there are a few of difficult problems for solving other areas. That is to say, one of the most important debates today surrounds the issues of bioethics such as euthanasia, abortion, and cloning human beings. Absolutely, we are interested in euthanasia which concerned with "right to die" of men and women on this dissertation. As a discipline, bioethics came of age in the latter half of the twentieth century. It started out at the bedside with concerns about the relationship between patient and physician. Although much of its focus tends to be ethical aspect of health care delivery; other matters related to health, including the use and treatment of animals and the effects of the environment, come under the scrutiny of bioethics. According to traditional Christian teaching, suffering, particularly during the last moments of life, has a special place in God s saving plan. A Christian perspective shows that life is a gift from God, to be received with thanksgiving, the integrity of the life processes which God has created should be respected, and both birth and death are part of these life processes. In addition, hope and meaning in life are possible even in times of suffering and adversity. Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lords (Rom 14:8). Under such circumstances, many of Christian traditions disagree with self-determination act of the right to die. Nevertheless, we recognize that there already is a legal right to refuse life-prolongment to medical treatment in many countries. Some twenty years ago, people in the Netherlands, well-intentioned physicians among them, began a process that has made physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia common practice there today. Until early in the year 2001, criminal law ostensibly provided punishment for euthanasia and assisted suicide, but, in realty, these practices went basically unpunished. In a series of cases over the last twenty years, the Dutch Courts have ruled that euthanasia is permitted when a doctor faces an irresolvable conflict between the law, which made euthanasia illegal, and his responsibility to help a patient whose irremediable suffering makes euthanasia necessary. Pro-euthanasia people typically portray euthanasia as a case of individual liberty and freedom. They usually describe a situation like this: A person has some terrible, deadly disease. He is trapped in a hospital bed, with all sorts of medical equipment connected to him, unable to move or anything, except exist. These people are no different than anyone else who thinks about suicide. Some feel guilty about being a burden on their family. Generally, a patient, suffering pain in a terminal illness, wishes for euthanasia partly because of his pain and partly because he sees his beloved ones (wife, husband, a close relatives, etc.) breaking under the strain of caring for him. Opponents of euthanasia suggest a situation like this. Do not the relatives, then, also have a choice? Is not the decision on their part to do nothing and say nothing itself a choice? At such a time, members of the family are not likely to be in the best state of mind, either, to make this kind of decision. Financial stress and conscious or unconscious competition for the estate aside. Today as a consequence of the current national debate on euthanasia, almost all opponents and advocators on two types of euthanasia are likely to accept the passive euthanasia except the active euthanasia. Passive euthanasia, popularly known as "pulling the plug," it is the disconnection of medical life-support equipment without which one can not live. It could be a respirator to aid breathing, a feeding tube to provide liquids and nutrition, or even the sophisticated use if certain drugs to stave off death. There is not inclined to be much ethical or legal trouble here provided that a patient has signed a Living Will. A critical look at this study, in summation, it is concluded that we should permit passive euthanasia on the condition of non-devaluating for life and man s dignity. The only thing we have performed better is to set up a series of criteria on permit or non-permit. As we mentioned the above, man s life belongs to God whatever circumstances happen to human beings. One also makes the indispensable right to die, the irrevocable duty to die, for we have been a sinner since Adam s corruption. Throughout Christian ethical consideration on euthanasia, we can recognize man as the end-of-life s decider, simultaneously the existence-sinned in oneself.
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