In homes across the world, millions of victims are suffering from fatal and terminal illnesses.With death knocking on their door, should these people have to endure pain and misery knowing what is to come? The answers to these questions are very controversial. Furthermore, there is a greater question to be answered”should these people have the right and option to end the relentless pain and agony through physician assisted death? Physician-Assisted Suicide PAS is highly contentious because it induces conflict of several moral and ethical questions such as who is the true director of our lives. Is suicide an individual choice and should the highest priority to humans be alleviating pain or do we suffer for a purpose? Is suicide a purely individual choice? Having analyzed and even experience the effects of physician assisted suicide, I promote and fully support its legality and provisions.
Physician assisted suicide PAS or physician assisted death PAD is the voluntary ending of oner’s life primarily by taking a lethal substance (usually a barbiturate) prescribed by a physician (Friend, Mary, & Louanne, 2011, p. 110). In each case, the patient has explicitly come to the conclusion to expedite his or her own death owed to a terminal illness.? Four of fifty states in the United States have legalized physician assisted suicide: Oregon, Washington, Montana, and most recently Vermont (May 2013). On Nov. 8, 1994, Oregon was first to legalized physician assisted death. Through ballot measure, the Death with Dignity Act legalized the process of physician assisted death but under strict protocol. Similarly, the state of Washington passed Ballot Initiative 1000 and Vermont passed the Patient Choice and Control… act”both similar acts legalizing physician assisted suicide. However, Montanar’s State Supreme Court ruling in Baxter v. Montana allows physician assisted death with no legal protocol in place (Procon.org., 2012). The states permitting PAS are obligated to follow a list of set conditions: the patient should be a resident of the said state and 18 years of age or older. Secondly, the patient should be capable of making and communicating health care decisions for him or herself. Thirdly, the patient must be diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months. Interested patients must also provide the request for termination in writing to the physician. In addition, physicians are expected to inform patients to alternative means of care including hospice care and other medications. Only after precautions evaluation, the laws then permit patients to make the ultimate life ending decision.
A pathologist from Michigan, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was one of the first to participate in PAS (Strate, Zalman & Hunter, 2005, p. 25). There are documented writings discussing the severity of his patients: those who seek him out have deteriorated by slow, painful degrees and wish to exit from their infernos on Earth before they deteriorate cognitively and/or choke to death (Zeldisr’s, 2005 p. 130). Many of his patients explain how they feel their own body withdraw and turn on itself; and not even being able to eat or go to the bathroom (Friend, Mary and Louanne, 2011, p. 116). stress that dignity and integrity are very personal matters; it is probable that being dependent on others to perform basic activities of daily living threaten a patientr’s dignity and thus determine when an explicit request for PAS is made. Perhaps to deny someone the ability to limit their suffering is cruel.
My main argument in support of PAS bears the concept that every capable human being has the right to decide on the way he or should wants to live. This very definition of right of independence should be protected and extended to individuals suffering from terminal conditions and therefore should possess jurisdiction of how and when they die (Weir, 2002, p. 33). Every individual should have the choice to experience a quality life and turn away any suffering and pain. Therefore, terminally ill patients should be allowed to die in dignity without independence and control being stripped from them.
In addition, one may say that the sanctity of life is greatly reduced upon gaining the diagnoses of an serious sickness (Kopelman & Allen, 2001, p. 203). After a diagnoses of a terminal disease, life is consumed by the master status of sickly experience. It will be defined by continuous hospital visits and long hospital activity such as surgeries. Lives of patients never are the same; reduced to a bed ridden life facing sympathies from close family and friends. I recently had the opportunity to experience my grandmother go through this dreadful lifestyle until her demise a week ago. I truly believe that the agony and torment is not worth going through knowing that death is imminent.
Terminal illness has the propensity to reduce individuals from strong, flexible and respected individuals to feeble suffering individuals who completely contingent on family or nurses for dehumanizing aspects of survival. Moreover, the mental capacity, hearing, vision, and other sense began to deteriorate swiftly and drastically. My family and I had to witness this worsening state, as do other families. I can truly say it was traumatic even for me. I can only remember a few vivid and lively experiences of my grandmother, due the fact that her image in her last months cloud my mind. When the patient eventually dies, the only memories left with the family are the sorry state of their loved one who died a sorry death (Stevens Jr., Kenneth R. 2006 p. 200). Why should anyone who lived a great and dignified life end in such a despondent state? To avoid such undignified death, PAD for terminally ill patients should be accepted and legalized in all states.
In contrast, I have found that there are many arguments that are for the prohibition of PAS. One that seems to be the more obvious one is that of health care providers. The medical community is very outspoken on this topic; it goes against the role of health care providers as healers. A health care providerr’s primary concern is to first cause no harm (Kopelman, L. M., & Allen, K. D. 2001, p. 203). Physician assisted suicide obliterates the confidence one should have between their doctor. What will a patient think if it is known that their doctor helped and promoted someone else’s death? Of course, sometimes a doctor can not cure a disease, but how would a patient feel knowing that the doctor gave up on another patient and persisted the suicide to occur. Would this idea make more than a few patients uncomfortable? Furthermore, it has been argued that PAS distorts the healing purpose of medicine (American Medical Association 1992). If physicians help kill patients, it can be seen as harm. Even though this argument is sound and does cause many problems, case must be weighed against the needs of the individual patient.
Another reason many are against PAS is that they believe it could lead to involuntary euthanasia (Stevens Jr., Kenneth R. 2006, p. 198) There is a fear that select groups and ethnicities would be targeted. Therefore, in order to prevent the spread of euthanasia, non-supporters (of PAS) believe that PAS should be prevented from being deemed lawful.
There are many arguments for and against assisted suicide, the answer of whether it is right or wrong remains unanswered. For one, PAS is an ethical issue that is dependent on a personr’s values, morals, religion, and experiences. In general, deciding whether one is to live or die is a sensitive topic and can stir up strong emotions and opinions. I believe the ending of oner’s life should be left in the hands of that one individual and nobody else. People say all the time “”It is your life, do with it as you want””, but why should this expression change when it is applied to death? Individuals should be free to determine.
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