Euthanasia Essay, Research Paper
Lisa, a 43-year-old woman was diagnosed with lung cancer, terminal disease. For the past 2 years Lisa has been receiving chemotherapy and taking numerous types of medication trying to prolong her life. This life prolonging treatment caught up with her. Everyday now Lisa has to battle just to get out of bed, everyday getting worse and worse. The doctors now tell Lisa she has six to eight months to live, and she has to receive 6 hours of therapy everyday. Lisa then breaks down in tears. She decides she doesn’t want to go through anymore pain or suffering. Now knowing it is only a matter of time before she dies, she wants to end her suffering by taking her own life. Lisa can not do it by herself; she needs someone to assist her. But how can someone assist a terminally ill person in taking their life and not risk going to jail for it? This brings up the controversial and moral debate of legalization of P.A.D. (Physician Assisted Death) and the act of euthanasia in America. Should people who are terminally ill, go through pain and suffering, or should they have a choice? Why doesn’t this women have the right to choose the way she lives or dies?
There is a difference between P.A.D. and euthanasia. P.A.D. involves a second party, actually a doctor, who gives the patient drugs and instructs the person planning to take his or her own life. With euthanasia, it is a doctor who administers the lethal drug dose. Since it is identical to homicide, active euthanasia is illegal in every state. But how do prosecutors define the difference between ending a person’s life with his or her permission, and helping a person commit suicide? If a doctor, at a patient’s request, gives the person a lethal injection, he or she may be charged with murder. However, if a doctor simply places the lethal injection by the patient’s side, and the patient injects himself or herself, the doctors would be charged with assisted suicide. “In the Netherlands, because primary care doctors have long-term relationships with their patients, helping them die takes a heavy emotional toll (Neumann 5).” Although few doctors who perform it have been brought to trial and none have been convicted and imprisoned. Most doctors hesitate to practice assisted suicide on legal grounds. Doctors are trained to preserve life; most doctors are troubled by the thought of helping patients end their lives. This issue receives considerable attention in medical publications.
There have been a number of people supporting the legalization of euthanasia. Doctors have been trying to help terminally ill patients who no longer wish to live (Emanuel 2). For a while now, polls show that majority of Americans support euthanasia. There is what people call A “rule of thirds”, but the rule of thirds is not enough for there to be any changes. We need more support for there to be any effect. It has been like this for over 25 years, there has to be a change (Emanuel 2). But still, if majority of Americans support P.A.D. and euthanasia, than why is it still today illegal? How deep do we have to go for the legislatures to open their eyes? A PARADE survey verifies that the public does not want to see its terminally ill citizens dying in pain anymore, they want people do die in peace, and not watch them suffer for no reason (Ubell 2). Questionnaires were mailed to 3750 people aged 21 or older. They answered questions concerning the right to choose death. In a more recent poll, it shows that 79 percent of the people agree with P.A.D; 12 percent oppose, and the other 9 percent said they neither agree nor disagree or put no answer (2). This is one of many polls taken in the U.S. and like in this PARADE poll, most people agree with the legalization of euthanasia. How much longer are people going to wait to get what they want? Everybody has the right to choose the way they live or die.
If you were walking threw the woods one-day and you came across a wounded deer, or any animal for that matter. And you know sooner or later that animal is going to die. What do most people do in this matter? Most people usually pull out their gun and kill the animal where it lays. And why do people do this? They do this because they know if they kill the animal right then and there, it will ease the poor animal of all its pain and suffering. And the animal will die a quick and easy death instead of going through all that torture. So why is it that people think differently when it comes to us humans? Is killing a human and ending their pain and suffering different from killing the animal? It is similar in many ways. The person killing the animal knows it is going to die, and knows it is in excruciating pain. So he relieves the animal by taking its life. Now, a person knows its he or she is going to die. So instead of putting up with all their suffering, he or she asks a professional or a close family member to assist in ending their pain and suffering. And they die with respect and dignity. That is the way I want my life to end, what do u think? Everybody has the right to choose the way they live or die!
Most people who oppose euthanasia believe only God can give and take away life, that life is sacred and no one has the right to purposively take away life. Many religious people follow this principle, so they do not agree with suicide and assisting dying.
However, Lord Soper, a member or the House of Lords, is an important Methodist minister that supports voluntary euthanasia. There are many religious figures that support active euthanasia. In the Netherlands, Catholic or Dutch reformed clergymen may be present at assisted deaths. If religious leaders believe and practice euthanasia why can our legislatures realize the benefits of legalizing euthanasia. “We who are Christian believers must now embrace the challenge to action, to an orthopraxis that matches our orthodox moral belief in compassionate caring for the dying (Bresnahan 5).” “We believe that, in the final moments of living, and those for whom we care are being drawn into the dying of Christ (5).” “That is a supreme moment for love and compassion, by caregivers of the dying and by the dying for their caregivers (5).” Since euthanasia is a life or death question, it tends to stir up a lot of emotions for those who oppose and support the act of euthanasia. Because discussions of the issue tend to generate more heat than light, and key points tend to be overlooked. Everybody has the right to choose the way they live or die.
In the medical aspect, there have been many reports by terminally ill people complaining of severe pain. The medications that are prescribed have no effect; the palliative care had failed. “People are clearly dying in pain,” said Dr. Peter Mcgough, a Seattle physician. “Speaking around the state, I heard lots of very sad stories of what I considered to be very poor management of dying patients (Knox 2).” This is what leads people most people to seek for P.A.D. If the legislatures refuse to legalize the act of P.A.D. and euthanasia, they better find more advanced methods of palliative care and better medicine. “Medical technology has acquired an enormous capacity to extend life, but may mislead at the same time, making people believe that treatment is always worth while (Birenbaum).” And if they can’t find better ways to take care of our dying, and have to persuade people into thinking palliative care is the only way, that’s another reason why euthanasia should be legalized. What should we expect in the next stage of our struggle to provide good care of the dying? It is time for all who have any true sense of compassion toward the dying, and who expect to receive compassionate care when they themselves are dying, to work unremittingly to foster adequate practice of palliative medical care. And wider practice of a constantly improved hospice care of the dying, maybe then people won’t be seeking help to end their lives.
People must put themselves in the place of a terminally ill person. They have to try and realize what it is like to know your going to die nevertheless the excruciating pain they go through. Then and only then will people come to comprehend, maybe death sometimes is the best way out. Why go through all the hospice care only to prolong your pain and suffering? You have to put aside all your religious beliefs, all your moral beliefs and everything else you were raised to believe. Its about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and if taking your own life to ease your pain makes your happy then so be it. Everybody has the right to choose the way they live or die!