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Should euthanasia be legal?
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Doctors' judgement isn't perfect

Legalizing euthanasia could prevent some patients from possible, even if unlikely, recovery.
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Opponents of voluntary, active euthanasia often are worried that its legalization gives too much power and responsibility to physicians treating patients. Since a patient would make a decision based on a diagnosis made by their physician, the risk of faulty diagnosis must be taken into account.

The Argument

Doctors and physicians are fallible and there are many examples of seemingly hopeless cases which ended with a patient’s recovery. With that in mind, the finality of active euthanasia means that it is inevitable that some patients that could be cured will die because of a faulty or incomplete diagnosis. Such risk, in light of the Hippocratic oath and the sanctity of life, is unacceptable.

Counter arguments

The possibility of such situations does not imply that the practice of euthanasia is as a whole unethical or unjustified. In cases where multiple doctors have agreed beyond a reasonable doubt that the illness is terminal, a very unlikely possibility of an error is not enough to deny the option of voluntary active euthanasia.


[P1] A physician is responsible for making a diagnosis. [P2] A physician, as a human being, is fallible and prone to error. [P3] If we cannot rule out a possibility of an unwarranted death based on faulty diagnosis, we shouldn't legalize voluntary active euthanasia.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] The very unlikely scenario of a sudden recovery cannot be the justification for withholding a euthanasia for those patients who suffer gravely and will die from their illness.


This page was last edited on Monday, 3 Feb 2020 at 12:22 UTC

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