Doctor Assisted Suicide Das Euthanasia Essay Research

Doctor Assisted Suicide (Das) Euthanasia Essay, Research Paper

Doctor assisted suicide (DAS) Euthanasia

Death with dignity, isn’t that the way we all dream of dying? Almost every family has had to watch the slow and agonizing death of a beloved family member from cancer, neurological disease, or other terminal illness. This is where doctor assisted suicide (DAS) steps in. Wouldn t it be nice if we could just stop the pain and misery of a loved one? When they only have a few months to live and they are in constant pain, wouldn t you want to stop that? If you answer yes, sorry, it s not going to happen very easily. DAS is still illegal in almost all of the states and is considered a crime in many of them.

I think that doctor assisted suicide should be a choice for people who are suffering and terminally ill.

Pro (for) Con (against)

1.Saves money

- quote from Ms Clinton

- cost of keeping individuals on life-support systems

1.We shouldn t put a price on life

- one out of eight dollars

- euthanasing a pet

2.Freedom of choice

- Living wills

- already legal in Oregon and the Netherlands 2. It is God’s place to decide the time and place of a person’s death

- sixth commandment

- quote from Leviticus


- poll in January 1995

- quote from Gary Mark Gilmore


- doctors aren t always right

- two studies

1.(pro).Money is always an issue. Weather we would be talking about simple pleasures in life or the most important issues it always comes up. So of course, it is a big issue in DAS too.

(1) “For example,” explained Mrs. Clinton, “just look at all the money that is wasted in the Medicare program on the last six months of life!”

(2) The cost of keeping individuals on life-support systems is very high and when there is no quality in the person s life is it really worth it all? Many times, the individuals are in a coma and can live a long time, being totally unaware of their surroundings. Sometimes a family spends their entire life savings keeping someone alive. It is very expensive to keep a person on life support and insurance doesn t always cover it. even if she/he is in a coma or is in great pain and doesn t have the willpower to live anymore. Its hard to watch a loved one in pain and misery. When our pets are suffering and the quality f their life is poor we have the choice to end their life. Why can t we do the same with people?

2.(pro) Every person should have a choice when to end their life if it is not worth living. By not worth living I mean if they are terminally ill and suffering, not if they are just having a bad day, or week, or month.

(1) By 1990, forty states had passed laws that made “living wills” legal. Living wills make it legal for a competent individual to decide in advance that they wish to withhold life-support systems and medicines that would sustain their lives.. If an individual is declared “brain dead” by a licensed doctor, it is at the discretion of the family members to terminate the life-support system. Living wills are a great way to express how a person would want to be taken care of if they got into an accident and could not communicate. In the wills they can choose how to be treated and now also refuse treatment or they can choose do not resuscitate (DNR). The refusal of treatment is also one form of euthanasia that is called passive euthanasia. The other form of euthanasia is the lethal injection or other similar action which is called active euthanasia.

(2) On October 27, 1997, Oregon legalized physician-assisted suicide, but

on 8 December 1994, the residents of Oregon passed a law similar to the Netherlands’ practice of euthanasia. Voters in Oregon passed Americas’ first euthanasia law. The law legalizes the prescription of lethal doses of medicine to terminally ill patients who desire to end their lives. The policy does have three conditions:

First: [at least] two doctors must agree the patient has less than six months to live.

Second: the patient must ask the physician for suicide assistance at least three times, and third time it must be done in writing.

Third: the doctor must wait at least 15 days after the first request and two days after the third request before writing a prescription. The law also states that the drugs must be self-administered. (

3.(pro) Its hard to watch a loved one in pain. And DAS just shows the humane side of people in our society. Not many of us like to see pain and suffering and we want to relieve it if we can. DAS just seems like a natural way to go if life is not worth living anymore if you are terminally ill and suffering, life just gets too hard for some people. (1) In a poll taken in January 1995, sixty-six percent of the people surveyed felt that a person suffering ” great pain” or with “no hope of improvement ” has the right to end their own life (Worsnop 148).

“Death is the only inescapable, unavoidable, sure thing. We are sentenced to die the day we’re born.” -Gary Mark Gilmore

Death is a natural thing in life, it s going to happen no matter what. Shouldn t we be able to decide, if we are in pain, to end it? Life is no fun if you are in chronic pain or need someone s assistance in living.

1(con)The cost isn t important when dealing with the life of a loved one.(1)In a study of 1,150 critically ill patients who died during the study, in only 14% was there an attempt to resuscitate. It would only save one out of eight dollars spent on health care. Moreover, most of this saving would come from withholding care for relatively young, critically ill patients.

J. Lynn, Terminally Ill, Forgoing . . . Care, Dartmouth, Boston Globe, May 21, 1996

When euthanating a pet the (2) cost goes by the weight of the pet , is that what we should do with people too? Weigh the person to see how much they way then find out how much it would cost to die? And if the person could afford it. Is that what we want to be treated like animals? No willpower left to live so we give up. Is DAS the answer to pain? When things get hard just to go to a doctor and ask them to relieve us from our misery?

2. (con) God gave us life and it is His choice when it should end. Not ours. Religion is a big part in peoples lives. And so its only natural that religion influences the way people act and decide things. And many churches and religious groups oppose euthanasia stating that(1) the sixth commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill” also extends to euthanasia.

(2)”`If anyone takes the life of a human being, he must be put to death. Leviticus 24:17

God gives us life and He will take it when its time for us to go. We were all born with original sin and are quite capable of failure as well as mistakes. So who are we to decide in all of our fallibility that its time for someone to die? Not only is it God s exclusive right to take life as well as give it, but it s also His right to determine who deserves to die and who doesn t and that is based on the fact that He s not capable of error.

3. (con) Doctors aren t always right. They make mistakes just like other people.

(1) In a British study of 40 patients diagnosed as P.V.S., (persistent vegetative state) 17 or 43% were later found to be alert, aware and often able to express simple wishes. This vital consciousness in their closed-in state, for some, lasted several years.

(K. Andrews et al., Brit. Med. Jour., 7/6/96)

What if a doctor misdiagnosed a patient and the parents of the patient decided to relieve him from his pain and just before the patient receives the lethal medicine wakes up or expresses that he is alive and doesn t want to die yet? Are we willing to take the chance of killing people who actually didn t want to die just yet to save money? We can t choose when to start life, why should we have the freedom to choose when to end it?

(2) One study found over one thousand cases in which the deceased patient had not, in fact, “consented” to suicide. A second study, this one an analysis of a series of consecutive deaths labeled “doctor assisted suicide”, found that in 52% of the cases the patients had not given informed consent for “suicide”. In many instances, the doctor had arbitrarily decided that the patients “quality of life was too poor to justify further medical expense”.

This is murder. It s unacceptable. These people didn t want to die yet. What if this happened to you? Do the doctors have the right to decide when the patients life isn t worth living any more? Do they have the right to play God ? Is this what we have come to – putting people to death just like dogs?

Personal point of view

My personal experiences helped me to write this paper. Inside a family, making these kind of choices is always extremely hard. In the case of my own grandparents, who were very active in their life time, they both became the victims of Alzheimer s disease. For my family, it was very hard to watch the deterioration of our loved ones. So my mother, as a registered nurse, had to make the hard decisions concerning my grandparent s terminal care. My grandparents had previously written their living wills, but in my grandmother s case, the will was never found, and my mother had to take responsibility for the care she received. In both cases, after discussing with doctors, the family ended up with passive euthanasia. It was what both of my grandparents would have wanted. When it was time for them to go they were surrounded with their loved ones. It was easier for the family to let go and not watch them suffer endlessly with no reason.


Doctor assisted suicide should be a choice for people who are suffering and terminally ill. I think everyone has the right to determine their destiny, if they lack the means or ability to end their lives then they require assistance. Its hard to watch someone in pain, it s even harder if it s a loved one. No one likes to see pain and suffering and most of us want to relieve it if we can. What if it was you? Constant pain that never goes away day after day, how long could you endure the pain? If it was me, personally my pain tolerance is very low I couldn t stand the pain for very long. And I wouldn t want anyone to feel that kind of pain. I think that if it can be removed by any way it should. Even if it means death.

History of Euthanasia in America

1973- The American Medical Association issues the Patient Bill of Rights. The groundbreaking document allows patients to refuse medical treatment.

1976- The New Jersey Supreme Court rules that the parents of Karen Ann Quinlan, who has been in a tranquilizer-and-alcohol-induced coma for a year, can remove her respirator. She dies nine years later.

1979- Jo Roman, a New York artist dying of cancer, makes a videotape, telling her friends and family she intends to end her life. She later commits suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills.

1985- Betty Rollin publishes “Last Wish,” the story of her mother’s battle with ovarian cancer. The book reveals that Ida Rollin killed herself with a sedative overdose.

1990- Dr. Jack Kevorkian performs his first assisted suicide, using a homemade machine, to end the life of Alzheimer’s patient Janet Adkins. Meanwhile, after protracted legal wrangling, the parents of Nancy Cruzan, who has been in a coma for seven years, are allowed to remove her feeding tube. Friends and coworkers testify in court that she would not have wanted to live.

1991- Hemlock Society founder Derek Humphry first publishes “Final Exit.” The controversial suicide “how-to” book later becomes a national best seller.

1994- Voters in Oregon pass a referendum making it the only state in the country that allows doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs for terminally ill patients. The hotly contested law was not put into effect until last year.

1995- George Delury publishes “But What If She Wants to Die?” a diary chronicling his wife’s long battle with multiple sclerosis. The book describes the couple’s agonizing decision to end her life with a drug overdose. Delury served four months in prison for attempted manslaughter for his role in her death.

1997- In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court rules that the Constitution does not guarantee the right to commit suicide with the help of a physician. The decision upholds laws in New York and Washington state making it illegal for doctors to give lethal drugs to dying patients.

1998- In November, Michigan voters defeat a measure that would have made physician-assisted suicide legal.

Doctor assisted suicide


Anna Rikkila

Ms Dennis

Persuasive paper Pr.5


Work Cited

a web page called something like euthanasia: bad oxymoron or a real option


different TV stations including NBC, FOX and Discovery channel


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