In recent years, there has been some controversy about doctor assisted suicide, the legalities and morality of letting a person choose to die, helping them to do so due to a physical inability to end their own lives. Many states have specifically outlawed this practice, with only a small fraction putting laws on the books that frees a doctor from criminal prosecution for ending a patientr’s life upon their request. Although currently legal in just 6 states, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont and Washington Any other state would bring charges of various degrees against a medical professional for acting upon the wishes of a patient if that patient wanted to be medically terminated.
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The majority of states that have outlawed this is because of a multitude of reasons. Religious beliefs vary widely, but often, state suicide in any form is to be condemned. Professional codes of conduct, under the goal to always save a life if they are able, is an ethical belief that rings personally true to many in the medical field. Due to the conflicting beliefs, individual state has made it a point to put an end to the practice of assisting patients in seeking death.
It is no unknown fact that death is an inevitable part of human life. Although the average lifespan of a human is seventy-nine years, there are unfortunate events that could shorten the average lifespan. Illnesses along with accident can come at any given time and most humans are not prepared for it. In some instances, these illnesses come with no cure, or way around it, leaving the patient to suffer in pain and agony during their last few moments of their lives. Is there no other way to have patients leave peacefully and on their own terms? Assisted suicide is one of, if not only, the other option some patients have available to them. Unfortunately for them, they do not always have the chance to choose that option. However, if that is their wish, why are there reasons to not allow them to do so? Who has the authority on what a person should do when it comes to terminating their illnesses and their reasons why? Euthanasia is defined as the administration of drugs with the explicit intention of ending a patientr’s life, at the patients explicit request. Physician assisted suicide definition is defines as the prescription or supply of drugs with the explicit intention of enabling a patient to end his or her own life. (Board of the Royal Dutch Medical Association. Vision on euthanasia. In: Euthanasia in the Netherlands [5th ed]. Utrecht: Royal Dutch Medical Association, 1996: 24-56.) Aims to make patients lives better, but to realize how beneficial it is, it is important to understand how this idea came about, how it is affecting current lives, and how it can be beneficial in the future.
Physician assisted suicide should be legal. Individuals should be able to make the choice to end their life under medical care. Religious views should not determine how one decides to end their life, when under extreme circumstances. When it comes to mental health and the patient wanting the rights to death with dignity, there should be a team of medical professionals to review the request and make a plan to allow patients to opt out of living and make their own medical decisions for themselves. Such a team should include mental health specialists, that can assess the patient in the process of evaluation and a care plan, including something that acts as a living DNR, (do not resuscitate) in cases of terminal illness.
There are several different theories and conceptual ideas that surround the morality and legality of assisted suicide. One such idea is that if someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness and given 3 -6 months to live and they are of mind to clearly make the decision to administer meds prescribed by a licensed physician to end their life, they should have the right to do so. The research, peer reviews and documentary along with statistics will be from the campus library online. The research will show why we should in fact respect their dying wish, be by their side and help them release the pain. Who has the right to judge? God? How is it fair for strangers to judge what a terminal patient and their families have decided to do with their own lives, bodies and mind? Im not saying just anyone should be able to go to a doctor, have access to a prescription and end their life for non-terminal health reasons or because they are having a bad time seeking a quick fix to end it in the moment. A question I have, is how much counseling, if any, do the individuals have to go through to ensure itr’s a stable decision. Death can be beautiful, if done correctly by giving adequate time to plan with a thoughtful process. Assisted suicide can be a beautiful thing for the person thatr’s making the decision and able to plan it all out and leave the world in peace. How lucky could one be to ease the pain, the burden and go out in peace? I will be looking into the states and other countries that have legalized it and see how many cases there are and how the process goes. Such as the requirements for being eligible, legalities, and how itr’s administered. I also want to investigate the controversy with organized religion and why its they think itr’s okay for their God to decide when itr’s your time to go? Did God not already make that decision when the individual was diagnosed with a terminal disease and was told theyd have no quality of life? Let them decide when they have had enough and allow them to die with dignity.
Oregon was the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide (Death with dignity act) in November 1994. Due to a lawsuit filed, the act did not go into effect for some time. In fact, the HR-4006 lethal drug abuse prevention act of 1998 was passed on Aug 4, and blocked Oregon from being able to perform assisted suicides. However, in 1998 Oregonr’s health commission decided to include the physician assisted suicide on the prioritized list of services available. Other states soon followed. In 1996, the Supreme Court in Ohio ruled it was not a crime and advocates in Michigan, petitioned to put the legalization of the practice on the ballot. Many religious groups believe that God gives and takes life and the choice is not our own.
(KRUG, PENNY. “”Where does physician-assisted suicide stand today?”” AORN Journal, Nov. 1998, p. 869. General OneFile, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A53268435/ITOF?u=mcc_pv&sid=ITOF&xid=1aa7aca2. Accessed 21 Oct. 2018). I do not understand why the state of Oregon is not able to make that decision, if the people vote for it then let them have it. If the proper steps that the state enforced are being followed, it should be acceptable. In Seattle, 1994, a group of physicians and advocacy groups successfully challenged the law banning assisted suicide. (Compassion in Dying v. Washington, 79 F.3d 790 (9th Cir 1996). Also, in May of 1996 the WSMA convened a 13-physician end of life task force to look further into how the process would look. When finished, they decided that you would have to follow practice guidelines, procedure requirements, monitoring and have more than one doctorr’s approval. (Van der Maas PJ, van Delden JJ, Pijnenborg L, Looman CW. Euthanasia and other medical decisions concerning the end of life. Lancet 1991; 338:669-674, Miller FG, Quill TE, Brody H, Fletcher JC, Gostin LO, Meier DE. Regulating physician-assisted death. N Engl J Med 1994; 331:119-123, Baron CH, Bergstresser C, Brock DW, et al. A model state act to authorize and regulate physician-assisted suicide. Harvard J Legislat 1996; 33:1-34). (McGough, Peter, et al. “”Physician-assisted suicide: finding common ground.”” The Western Journal of Medicine, June 1997, p. 394+. Academic OneFile, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A19587370/AONE?u=mcc_pv&sid=AONE&xid=60764a23. Accessed 21 Oct. 2018.)
Mental illness is also spoken about and how one should not be able to make that decision if they have depression or other mental health related illness. When it comes down to it, why should a court or religion have the power to dictate personal decision? My argument is that if an individual is diagnosed with a disease that will, in fact, take their life at some point and cause unfathomable amounts of pain, weakness and depression, with no cure or quality of life please for the love of your God dont dam someone for wanting to let go. When one is diagnosed isnt that enough suffering? When youre not able to get up walk and enjoy life with your loved ones whatr’s left of your life? I have never really been the religious type but respect others, I also didnt put much thought into this subject. Will our justice system keep listening and researching and become empathetic to the idea? If other countries and states have legalized it and?
Letr’s expand the debate and look at the current era and the crisis its facing. While reading an article on the letters and biography of early 20th century author Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who took her life on August 17, 1935 by inhaling a lethal dose of chloroform and passed peacefully after battling breast cancer for three years. She did leave a suicide note and it stated; When all usefulness is over, it is the simplest of human rights to choose a quick and easy death in place of a slow and horrible one (Living 333) Charlotte also kept a journal through her journey. She also studied western tradition of death and dying. Gilman believed that death with dignity is a human right and I would have to agree; our bodies are our own. Most times we can plan where we get buried, if we want to be cremated, where the services will be, all the way down to the flowers and people that will be attending. If we can make the decisions of what we do after we pass, then why cant we decide when and how we pass on our terms. Although her family was supportive, they were still saddened not only by her choice to end her own life but for the pain and suffering she will no longer endure. I was moved and inspired by her writings and the courage it took to make the decision in a time that it was not acceptable let alone talked about. It took me to a place of understanding and respect for the sick and dying. The healthy and strong ones rarely understand the pain and agony of a terminal illness which is understandable. (Knight, Denise D. “”The Dying of Charlotte Perkins Gilman.”” ATQ: 19th century American literature and culture, vol. 13, no. 2, 1999, p. 137. Academic OneFile, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A55266783/AONE?u=mcc_pv&sid=AONE&xid=eb18956f. Accessed 21 Oct. 2018)
Now I would like to touch base on Doctor Jack Kevorkian, who was also called The Doctor of Death. Some see him as a monster and some a hero, he admitted to assisting in 28 suicides from 1990-1996. Each patient had their own illness some not terminal nut debilitating, crippling and no real quality of life. The one thing they all shared was a sense of suffering that was so bad they ended their own lives. When it came to the patientr’s relatives, they were not upset at Kevorkian for assisting their family members in suicide, he was seen as a hero to them for aiding in the peaceful, painless ending of their lives. Kevorkian charged no fees to assist and shunned the media only to explain his position. He did not let the courts detour him either in his own words I dare you to stop me. My feelings on Doctor Jack Kevorkian and his actions are supportive in many ways, h didnt just kill the patients, he assisted after being asked to end their suffering. (Roberts, John, and Carl Kjellstrand. “”Jack Kevorkian: a medical hero.”” British Medical Journal, 8 June 1996, p. 1434. Academic OneFile, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A18423313/AONE?u=mcc_pv&sid=AONE&xid=b4fafea4. Accessed 19 Nov. 2018).
Personally, I do not see a problem with someone wanting to take their life while in an end of life phase of discomfort. It is impossible to imagine the pain they are in. I have experienced a similar situation myself where my mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness. When the disease decided it was done with her, it took on an aggressive state that gave very little time for planning. After watching what she went through in the stages of her death, I will never be able to get the images and details out of my head. Knowing that if she had the option to take her own life medically, she may have made that choice I would have given her my full and deserved support. Being consumed with pain and suffering is not how we should exit this world. Letr’s embrace patients who are leaving this world and give them the dignity and respect they earned while living, despite what brought them to their last breaths.
Compassion in Dying v. Washington, 79 F.3d 790 (9th Cir 1996)
Knight, Denise D. “”The Dying of Charlotte Perkins Gilman.”” ATQ: 19th century American literature and culture, vol. 13, no. 2, 1999, p. 137. Academic OneFile, KRUG, PENNY. “”Where does physician-assisted suicide stand today?”” AORN Journal, Nov.
Onwuteaka-Philipsen, Bregje D, and Gerrit van der Wal. “”A protocol for consultation of another physician in cases of euthanasia and assisted suicide.”” Journal of Medical Ethics, Oct. 2001, p. 331. General OneFile, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A79396280/ITOF?u=mcc_pv&sid=ITOF&xid=46269df9. Accessed 19 Nov. 2018.
Roberts, John, and Carl Kjellstrand. “”Jack Kevorkian: a medical hero.”” British Medical Journal, 8 June 1996, p. 1434. Academic OneFile, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A18423313/AONE?u=mcc_pv&sid=AONE&xid=b4fafea4. Accessed 19 Nov. 2018.
Van der Maas PJ, van Delden JJ, Pijnenborg L, Looman CW. Euthanasia and other medical decisions concerning the end of life. Lancet 1991; 338:669-674, Miller FG, Quill TE, Brody H, Fletcher JC, Gostin LO, Meier DE. Regulating physician-assisted death. N Engl J Med 1994; 331:119-123, Baron CH, Bergstresser C, Brock DW, et al. A model state act to authorize and regulate physician-assisted suicide. Harvard J Legislat 1996; 33:1-34). (McGough, Peter, et al. “”Physician-assisted suicide: finding common ground.”” The Western Journal of Medicine, June 1997, p. 394+. Academic OneFile,
https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A19587370/AONE?u=mcc_pv&sid=AONE&xid=60 764a23. Accessed 21 Oct. 2018.)”
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