Paternalism is an indirect harm preventive intervention, either coercive or passive, to prevent a person from harming him/herself. Paternalism prevents a relative or medical practitioner from aiding euthanasia in case of such request. Therefore, paternalism seeks to uphold right to life rather the right to dignity.  When a patient request euthanasia he is presumed to be making an independent decision if he has a competent mind. To ensure patient has full autonomy over the decision, court must evaluate external factors that places objective limit on person’s autonomy (“Case Studies of Euthanasia” 1). In addition, a person must retain the right to end his life irrespective of the fact that right to life supersedes right to dignity that might be degraded by advance stages of a terminal illness.

Furthermore, a relative or legal surrogate can request euthanasia in cases where a patient is incapacitated and has incompetent mind. However, the patient must have made oral or written submission to that effect. For instance, in the case of Diane her husband would have requested for euthanasia if there were a prior agreement that in case she is incapacitated he should raise such a request (“Regulation of euthanasia” 1). In cases where advanced stages of the illness causes human dignity degradation or cause harm to family member e.g. suffering mental problems, family members may have the liberties to request euthanasia on behalf of their kin. However, they should wait until the inevitable consequence (death and suffering) of the illness is certain. Several states in America hold that a patient must have made oral or written statement expressing his/her wish for passive euthanasia. This may be embedded in the will to prevent family members or medics from abusing euthanasia regulations.


Works Cited

Case Studies of Euthanasia 2013. Web. 22 Sep. 2013.             <>

Regulation of euthanasia 2013. Web. 22 Sep. 2013.             <>


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