An unethical act may not be morally wrong

Euthanasia is a controversial issue, and although it is unethical and against the law, we should not dismiss it right away ("Euthanasia, assisted suicide run counter to medical ethics" by Mr Darius Lee; Tuesday).

We should consider each case individually and allow more flexibility in letting both the patient and the doctor exercise their judgment.

Moreover, what is unethical and unlawful may not necessarily be morally wrong.

Ethics refer to a code of conduct which people have to adhere to in their workplaces or profession, even if they disagree with it.

Morals refer to one's own principles regarding right and wrong, and may not be ethically or lawfully correct.

At times, the best way to eliminate suffering is to eliminate the sufferer.

This may be unethical and unlawful, but is morally right if all existing methods to eliminate suffering are used to no avail and the patient has requested to be euthanised, which would end their pain and suffering.

Humanity's "right to life" is very often discussed in issues related to euthanasia.

Yet, it is bemusing that laws which are implemented to protect the right to life and prevent the killing of the terminally ill and vulnerable do more to prolong the suffering of patients who have exhausted all means to relieve their pain.

Moreover, is it not contradictory that laws are implemented to prevent people from using euthanasia as a means of dying when, in fact, it is a suppression of the "right to life", which should allow people to decide how they should die?

There are various classifications of euthanasia.

I view voluntary euthanasia, which is legalised in countries such as Switzerland and Belgium, be it active or passive, to be morally acceptable.

However, I agree that other forms of euthanasia, namely non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia, both active and passive, are ethically, lawfully and morally unacceptable.

We should keep an open mind on issues regarding euthanasia and not dismiss it right away. We should also be more flexible when dealing with cases regarding euthanasia.

Alden Tan Ek Kai