Euthanasia is not suicide, but dying with dignity

People should neither see nor debate euthanasia as a form of suicide (Euthanasia is just glorified suicide, by Ms Rachel Tan Poh Yin; Aug 15).

Rather, it is a way to relieve interminable pain and unimaginable suffering when it is beyond the healing hands of modern medicine.

It is a misconception that anyone can successfully proceed with euthanasia.

In places where it is allowed, there are many safeguards in place to prevent abuse or misuse.

For example, patients need to fulfil a long list of conditions ranging from health to finances - it differs with countries - to be eligible.

Sign-offs by multiple doctors are required, including a psychiatrist's assessment where warranted.

Some countries also practise a period of "reflection", to avoid impulsive applications.

Simply put, it is not an easy process to undertake successfully, with multiple checkpoints and roadblocks.

If the primary concern is that patients will be pressured into euthanasia by family or friends, regulations can prevent that from happening.

In an age where medicine can prolong life, but not necessarily enhance its quality, one has to take a step back from idealistic morals.

What quality of life is there when one has to live in extreme pain hourly, not knowing whether the ultimate relief would come in a day's or a year's time? Someone who can plan the exact day of their death would presumably cherish their remaining time more than someone who cannot.

The case of Ms Betsy Davis in the United States, who threw a joyous final party - one she termed as a "rebirth" - before her chosen day of death, comes to mind.

She left the world happy, at a moment and place of her choosing, with those that mattered most to her.

Singapore, with its track record of innovative policies, can do the same with euthanasia by introducing a strict, holistic and unique policy which is palatable to our society and culture.

Give people the option of dying with dignity, for if we were truly stuck in the situations of these long-suffering patients, I imagine many of us would like to have the option of seeing ourselves out in a dignified manner.

Tan Yi Shu