Legalization Of Physician-Assisted Suicide
Whose life is it, anyway? (Robinson 1). These were the words of Sue Rodrigues, a high-profile resident of British Columbia, Canada. She was terminally-ill and suffered from ALS also known as Lou Gehrigs Disease. She was helped to commit suicide by a physician even though it was in violation of Canadian Law. Did you know that most people in North America die what can be called a bad death? This was proved by a study in the following. More often than not, patients died in pain, their desires concerning treatment neglected, after spending 10 days or more in the intensive care unit. Robinson 2).
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Should society let people suffer so painfully? My answer is no. I believe that if we legalized physician-assisted suicide it will allow the terminally-ill to die without suffering or, as you might wish to call it, a death with dignity. Physician-Assisted Suicide is a form of euthanasia in which a doctor gives a person access to a method to kill him or herself. In the process, the doctor would give the patient materials to carry out one of the three different methods to die through physician-assisted suicide.
The first of the three methods was created by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a Michigan physician who was found guilty of 2nd degree murder in a mercy killing in 1998 where he injected ontrolled substances into an ALS, or Lou Gehrigs Disease, patient. It is known as The Suicide Machine. In this method, the patient must first activate the process by pushing a button. Then, three solutions are injected in this order: First, a harmless saline, following that, is a sleep-inducing sedative, and finally, a lethal drug. In the second method, a face mask is placed over the patients mouth and carbon monoxide is applied, thus poisoning the patient.
The third method is the plastic bag suffocation in which a plastic bag is sealed over the patients face which causes him or her to suffocate. In these processes, certain tools and chemicals are used, such as Kevorkians Suicide Machine, self-administered carbon monoxide masks, and plastic bags, and chemicals such as sleep-inducing sedatives, salines, lethal drugs, and in the face mask suffocation, carbon monoxide. It is necessary for Physician-Assisted Suicide to be legal for many reasons. It would allow those who do not want to live, a peaceful, honorable way to die.
If legalized, it would not only be for the terminally ill, but also for the chronically ill, elderly, depressed, or disabled people who would have a reason to want to die. According to a poll conducted by CNN & USA Today in June of 1997, 57 % of those polled were in favor of the legalization of physician -assisted suicide, and a mere 35 % were opposed. (Robinson 9). A second poll, conducted by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in British Columbia, Canada, 53. 7 % of those polled were in favor, 38. 3 % were opposed, and the 8. 0 % left, didnt know or refused to answer. Euthanasia Prevention Coalition 1).
This shows that more than half of both the populations of the United States and Canada were in favor of the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. The legalization of physician-assisted suicide has been attempted before, but no written documentary of this has been recovered by me. Although not all of these attempts were successful, some where. Physician-Assisted Suicide is legal in Columbia, Japan, the Netherlands, and the state of Oregon (Robinson 4). As of March of 1999, Oregon is the only US state where any form of euthanasia is legal.
This is because of Oregons Death with Dignity Act which became effective on October 27, 1997. There are three reasons why physician-assisted suicide should be legal. First of all, it is a uestion of dignity, of whether or not the patient who wishes to die has the quality or state of being worthy of esteem or respect. Secondly, it is the solution for a person that will die soon and probably more painfully also. Lastly, it is the choice of the patient and not anyone else, so they wont be forced into it by anyone.
The following excerpt is of a mock argument between someone who is in favor of the legalization of physician-assisted suicide and someone who is against it. It states reasons why physician-assisted suicide should be legalized. Jack : Well have you ever thought about the fact that some people dont want that [their pain anaged in hospices]? What if they dont want to be drugged so much that they are unconscious for a long time until they die? If they think that they would rather die with dignity, then physician-assisted suicide/euthanasia should be allowed.
Another thing is, what if they dont have a medical care plan for such treatment? (Legalizing Euthanasia 1). This excerpt proves why the legalization of physician-assisted suicide is such a controversial issue. In the same mock argument as before, another excerpt shows why euthanasia/physician- assisted suicide arent legal. In this excerpt, Jill, who is opposed to the legalization of physician- ssisted suicide, gives reasons why euthanasia/physician-assisted suicide are still illegal. Jill : Well, their [those opposed] argument is backed up…
I mean, in Holland, 63 % of all deaths with the withdrawing of life support were executed without consent,(Legalizing Euthanasia 1). She says this refering to the legalization of active euthanasia in Oregon. She believes that it will evolve into involuntary euthanasia. A secondary reason why physician-assisted suicide isnt legal is because some religions believe that it is anti-religious. Athough some religions do not believe t is anti-religious, it is still a hindrance in the legalization of physician-assisted suicide.
Each year, tens of thousands of people die from physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. The following data is from the 1991 Remmelink Report, the first, official government study of the practice of euthanasia in the Netherlands. In 400 of the cases, the deaths were physician-assisted. In 2,300 of the cases, doctors killed upon request. In 1,040 of the cases, doctors had actively killed without the patients knowledge or consent (murder). In 4,941 of the cases, doctors had injected lethal doses of morphine without the patients explicit onsent. (The Remmelink Report 1).
This data is evidence of the amount of cases per year. This shows how popular deaths caused by euthanasia are. At this point, even though physician-assisted suicide is still illegal almost everywhere, it still is proved to be ethical through the polls conducted and other information found. I still believe that physician-assisted suicide should be legalized for humane purposes because of the many reasons stated throughout my research paper. So, lets make it so that physician-assisted suicide can become legal to end at least a portion of the suffering from painful illnesses.