Easy Death Essay, Research Paper
Terminally ill patients should have the right to die with dignity. When a doctor
helps a patient die it is called euthanasia, but when a person tries to kill him/herself it is
called suicide. If people do not want to stay on their death bed forever they should be
able to kill themselves. To avoid the stigma of suicide, euthanasia should be allowed
for the benefit of the terminally ill.
Euthanasia is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “granting painless death to a
hopelessly ill patient with a non-curable disease. The word euthanasia is derived from
the Greek word “thanatos” meaning death and the prefix “eu” meaning easy or good.
From 1976 on there has been debates about the disconnecting of respirators and
feeding tubes that keep thousands of people alive in a continuous vegetative state or
coma and medically assisting to end the life of an individual that is hopelessly
Medical euthanasia is a general term sometimes used to describe euthanasia
given by a doctor for the benefit of the individual – to end hopeless suffering or a
meaningless existence. It is customary to classify euthanasia into active versus passive.
Active euthanasia means a positive merciful act taken deliberately to end futile
suffering or a meaningless existence. It is an act of commission; death is induced
either by direct action to terminate life or by indirect action such as in giving drugs in
amounts that will clearly hasten death. Some would limit the use to direct, intentional
action to end life, which under present law is murder. If the intent in giving drugs is to
hurry death as well as to relieve pain, that too is now a criminal act, though proof of
such intent might be difficult to establish. Even if a physician provides the means for
a patient to end his own life, it is against the law in most states because he would be
aiding a person to commit suicide.
Passive euthanasia means discontinuing the use of “extraordinary”
life-sustaining measures or “heroic” efforts to prolong life in hopeless cases when such
extensions appear as unnecessary extensions of either suffering or unconsciousness.
This includes acts of omission such as failure to resuscitate a terminally ill or hopelessly
incapacitated patient or a severely defective newborn infant. It is refraining from
action that would probably delay death and instead permitting natural death to occur.
Since 1990, with the case of Nancy Cruzan, the debate about passive euthanasia,
disconnecting life support in cases of people in a hopeless coma appears to have been
Legalizing the right to choose will have two additional benefits. It will provide
comforting assurance to those who would want this right in the future if they were
suffering. Thousands have stored or wish to store lethal amounts of drugs because
they fear a bad death. Instead of popping pills to make a more comfortable death,
they could hook themselves up to a machine and perish painlessly.
Legalization will lengthen the life for many. People who find that they have an
incurable illness tend to want to end their lives quicker. If people with these illnesses
have control of when they can die, their will be a lower suicide rate. There are
numerous suicides that end their lives early because they fear the loss of control later
There are many arguments offered against euthanasia. One of those happens to
be religion. Many religions contend, and advise against, a person seeking suicide of any
kind. In religious views life is a gift from God, and one not to thrown away or wasted.
It is viewed that by committing suicide of any kind we are disrupting God’s natural
order. But to claim that we are merciful beings necessitates the use of euthanasia, to
deliver our loved ones from excruciating pain.
Opponents of euthanasia argue that if physician assisted suicide were legal,
insurance companies and family members who do not wish to see funds wasted on
costly medical bills would rather to have their relatives or clients commit suicide
without proper consent. This is a major concern to disabled persons who worry that if
lawmakers permit terminally ill patients commit suicide that eventually laws will be
created to allow states to kill anyone that it considers to be worthless.
The great euthanasia debate may very well never be settled. Each side of the
coin has a very strong argument or arguments. No one will ever be able to go
through a doctor-assisted suicide and tell us what he or she thought about it. The
dead cannot tell us that it is worth going through the pain or if it was better to just
end it. Until we are faced with this situation, we may not know how we would
A terminally ill patient should have the right to choose his/her time of death
instead of lingering in a state of pain and suffering. Just as one has the right to live
one must have the right to die.
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