Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Terminal Illness

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Who has known someone with a terminal illness? What if you were extremely ill and in an incredible amount of pain and there werent any medications to help you? Imagine this, you have a terminal illness and youre in the hospital knowing that youre getting closer to a slow and painful death. You cant do anything about it because of how severe it is and therer’s no other way to treat it.

A. You know that soon your time is coming to where youll be suffering and cannot be cured from the painful disease that has taken over your body.

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II. Thesis: Today I will inform you about one of the most controversial issues in the U.S. and why physician assisted suicide should be legal for people with terminal illnesses throughout the United States.

III. Connect: This topic is important to us because it talks about how we should be able to make these important decisions in our lives if we needed to.

IV. Preview:

A. First, we will go over why most people dont agree with legalizing Physician Assisted Suicide in every state.

B. Second, we will go over why it would be a good idea to legalize physician assisted suicide for the terminally ill.

C. Third, we will discuss why and how it would help some people who might need this option.

Body

I. Main Point: Letr’s begin with what Physician Assisted Suicide is and the reasons why there are many people who are against it.

A. There are a lot of people who dont know much information about PAS and it can be easily misunderstood. When some people hear the term Physician Assisted Suicide they are usually against it and their reason could be because of their religion or just their personal beliefs.

1. For those of you wondering what exactly Physician Assisted Suicide is, it is for someone has a terminal illness and voluntarily chooses to end their lives under certain circumstances to avoid suffering.

a. The Euthanasia Society of America first began in New York in 1938. They wanted people who were terminally ill and incurable to have the right to die and have it be legal.

b. In 2003 Sage Journals article titled Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, David Clark says that for the first time ever a law passed under to legalize assisted suicide under certain circumstances for people who were terminally ill (Clark, 2003).

c. There are different types of assisted suicide that gives you the option of taking a lethal medication, or passive euthanasia that is known as pulling the plug when the patient is on life support, and active euthanasia which is when the physician injects the lethal drug. Active euthanasia is mostly used in the Netherlands.

B. This is only legal in 4 states in the U.S. including Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and Montana. Chaplains Experiences with Patients Requesting Physician-Assisted Suicide, Bryant Carlson stated that in order for this to be done the patient would have to have 6 months or less until death, then it would have to be confirmed by a doctor, and a physician would prescribe a lethal medication for the patient to take (Carlson, 2005).

a. The patient would have to consent to doing this and the physician who is in charge would then proceed to giving them the medication.

1. In 2018 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops article titled The Wrong Approach to End of Life Care, Michael Gloth states that some Catholics believe physician assisted suicide is murder (Gloth, 2018). The people that are religious also believe that god should make the decision when someoner’s life should come to an end.

a. I can see why people would disagree with assisted suicide because they believe that if god suffered then we should too.

b. Another negative outcome of this would be that some may try to take advantage of assisted death if they had a mental illness.

II. Main Point: Now that Ive gone over what PAS is, letr’s move onto why people believe it wouldnt be a good idea to legalize it in the United States.

A. The opposing view, represented by Cheryl K. Smithr’s article Issues in Law & Medicine in 1993 argues that a number of those reported cases involved people who didnt have a terminal illness and there would be people who would be influenced by their mental state (Smith, 1993).

1. However, they are wrong because patients would need to be evaluated to make sure they didnt have depression or any other mental illnesses.

a. The laws in Vermont to be approved of assisted suicide is that you must 18 years or older, you must be a resident of Vermont, you have to be capable of making your own decisions and not be influenced by others, and most importantly you have to be diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death.

B. In 2012 Nursing Older Peopler’s article titled Pros and Cons of Assisted Dying, Maura Buchanan stated that a con to assisted death is that it could be influenced by others (Buchanan, 2012).

1. If someone decided that they wanted to turn to assisted death then it should be because they truly wanted to, not because someone else is encouraging them to do it.

III. Main Point: Now that weve gone over why people are against it, letr’s move on to why it should be considered a human right to make this important decision.

A. In 2018 The Hastings Center article titled Physician Assisted Death, Timothy E. Quill stated that PAS is best studied for terminally ill patients in Oregon. (Quill, 2018).

1. To become more informed about this topic The Hastings Center website has many articles about this.

B. This is a topic that should be talked about more by adults, itr’s important to be informed and form your own opinion based off your own research.

1. Imagine if you or a family member was put in that position where the decision needed to be made if they wanted to have peaceful death in a safe environment without suffering.

a. Prolonging someoner’s death is not financially the right move, especially if they want to die.

b. If any of you were in that position you would probably feel better knowing that it could be one of your last options.

Transition: Hopefully you now have a better understanding of

Conclusion

I. Review:

A. Some reasons why people disagree with Physician Assisted Suicide

B. Why it should be legalized

C. Why we should be able to make this important decision

II. Conclude with Impact: Ill leave you with this, imagine yourself in a situation where you would consider using this as a last resort. If you still dont think this is something you would do, then hopefully you can be more understanding to those who do.

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