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Legal, Ethical abstract

Assisted Suicide

Cheap University Papers on assisted sucicide

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The term Euthanasia is derived from a Greek word meaning “easy or good death.” Euthanasia has come to convey the act or procedure of taking the life of a person who is hopelessly ill. The reasons for doing such a thing is because of mercy. (Wennberg, 18, p. ).

Oregon was the first state to approve physician-assisted suicide. More than 70 Oregonians have ended their lives with a doctor’s help since voters passed the Death with Dignity Act in 14. Before the Death with Dignity Act became a law, Oregon doctors who helped patients commit suicide risked losing their medical licenses. Doctors faced the possibility of felony criminal charges and prison sentences of 0 years to life. The issue of physician-assisted suicide divided the group’s members of the Oregon Medical Association, which represents thousands of the state’s doctors who remained neutral in 14. In one year of 0,000 people in Oregon who died only 7 went through with assisted suicide by taking a doctor approved overdose. (Lockwood, 001, p. ).

Physician assisted suicide typically takes a half-hour to take affect. The law does not mandate what medication should be given, but in almost every case, the patient has been prescribed a massive dose of Seconal. The medicine overwhelms the patient’s liver and floods into the bloodstream. The heart speeds up, the breathing slows, and the brain shuts off. It takes minutes after that and the patient is unconscious.

The Death with Dignity Act requires that all patients must clear several hurdles before they qualify to receive a lethal prescription. All patients must be 18 years of age. The request must come voluntarily from a mentally competent, terminally ill, adult resident of Oregon. Two physicians must examine the patient to confirm the diagnosis and prognosis. A mental health professional must be consulted if either doctor has a question about mental competence or depression. All other alternatives must be presented and explained to the patient. The patient must make witnessed requests orally and in writing. After a 15-day waiting period, the patient receives a physicians prescription for a lethal dose of medication, which can be filled following a two-day waiting period. All prescriptions under the Death with Dignity law must be reported to the state health department. The patient is then free to take the medication when and if he or she wishes. Family, friends, and a doctor may be present.

Terminally ill, dying, and debilitated people for 400 years have been assured that doctors operate under an oath to heal them, not kill them. The Hippocratic oath under legalized euthanasia is having a major change of direction and patient trust in doctors is seriously eroding. Society is starting to react rashly to the thought of ending people’s lives. Instead people are starting to believe that doctors aren’t taking the time and effort to offer truly compassionate care. (Tada,1, p.75)

Standard medical care is becoming seriously weakened. Elderly and severely disabled patients are not receiving the same quality of care as everyone else. Legalized euthanasia is resulting in less care for the dying. The reason is because medical community shifts are centering the focus on to cure and rehabilitation rather than to care. It all comes down to economics. Legalized euthanasia is extraordinarily cheap compared to the costs of keeping a dying patient alive. Also, it’s becoming easier for families not to deal with the burden of bankruptcy. (Tada, 1, p. 76)

In some cases people believe that death should be left to God. When someone is born on this earth we do not leave birth to God. We space births for our right timing, we prevent births, and we arrange births. People that are against Euthanasia believe that man should learn to become the lord of death and as well as the master of birth.

There are two types of Euthanasia, passive and active. Active Euthanasia is exactly the same as mercy killing because it involves taking direct action to end a life. Passive Euthanasia is allowing the patient to die when the patient could be kept alive by the appropriate medical procedures. Active and Passive Euthanasia are both very terrible. Passive Euthanasia would be withholding of foods, which shortens the life and causes additional suffering. Some of the effects of withholding food and fluids are nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, shortness of breath, the mouth, nose, throat, and genitals dry out, constipation, emotional disorders, and confusion. The patient can usually survive for about 40 days without food. An obese person can survive longer, as the fat cells will gradually break down. The symptoms of this method are horrific and that is one of the reasons the physician will take additional steps to protect the family from seeing the person in pain by giving drugs to prevent the patient’s body from going into convulsions.

One of the reasons why people think Euthanasia should be legalized is because patients should be allowed to control their own deaths. Why should a patient be forced to live if they think that their present standard of life has degenerated to a point of meaningless nothing? At this point, if the person is of sound mind they should have the choice of continuing on or to die peacefully. I believe that the doctor and family should be allowed to make the decision if assisted suicide should happen if the patient is in a vegetable state. In any case the doctor should be at least an advisor because the doctor is the one with the most medical knowledge and he or she should be able to give caring advice and alternatives.

Most people that want to die because of a psychological disorder are just challenging people to see if anyone really cares. People that are clinically depressed and believe that assisted suicide is the right answer are wrong. Depression can be treated with medication along with psychological disorders. Depression is an unjustifiable and irrational reason to commit suicide. The difficult situations and circumstances of life at the moment with depression seem everlasting, but they often resolve themselves over time. If society creates the right of assisted suicide to be legal with people that are mentally retarded people or with people that are old and just want to die then, they will be killed for just those basic reasons. If for those reasons it is allowed then assisted suicide will go out of control. Some minor pain is controllable because modern medicine has the ability to be able to alleviate pain. A person seeking to end their life to avoid all possible pain does not need legalized suicide to do the job, but a better trained doctor in making the pain go away.

The Judicial Council of the American Medical Association has taken the position that supporting comatose patients often constitutes a prolongation of death rather than life. It believes that discretion should remain in the hands of the doctor. It opposes the belief of legally binding policies, which may be too inflexible and arbitrary to suit the unending variety of individual circumstances. Our legal system still views active euthanasia as suicide, a serious violation of the law. Rarely is suicide committed in haste. The reasons for suicide are innumerable, but a consensus seems to exist in regard to the difference between rational and justified suicide. (Bernards, 18, p. )

A living will allows patients to make decisions regarding heroic medical measures, if they should suffer horrible illness or injury. A living will should control the outcome legally if the patient isn’t able to. Unfortunately, not all states recognize living wills, and living wills have not always provided adequate protection for physicians who obey their instructions. In January 184, California State allowed every adult in the state to execute a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. It is a four-page document that grants anyone willing to act as “attorney-in-fact.” That person has the right to make decisions about continuing or ending life-support measures when death is near and when the patient isn’t able to decide for himself. The signer of the document may fill it out before or after becoming ill, and he may state how much or little intensive care he or she desires. The appointed attorney is legally bound to obey the signer’s instructions precisely, and so are doctors and hospitals. No lawyers are needed. This important document should bring some clarity to a difficult area, and the American Medical Association is urging adoption of similar laws in all states. (Bernards,18, p. 1).

Medicare costs are rising at an extraordinary pace, by an increasing number of the elderly. The fastest growing age group in the Unites States is comprised of those over age 85, increasing at a rate of about 10 percent every two years. By the year 040 it has been planned that the elderly will represent 1 percent of the population and use 45 percent of all health care expenditures. (Bernards, 18, p.10).

In some cases, like terminal illness, death is often better then dying because the way the person will die. They may have to go through a long period of pain and suffering. Ask yourself, which would you choose, early or prolonged death? If you choose prolonged death you are more likely to be in pain longer trying to fight a disease. Even if you do not think that you would end your life or another’s life should your personal views decide that it is not the right thing for another to do. Does any person have the right to control the choices of others?

The advances of technology have disturbed the natural balance of life and death. No longer does a person die when they are supposed to because life support will prevent that. People who do not agree with assisted suicide say that doctors should not play God by killing patients, but do they realize that by prolonging death that patient is not living a real life? We live in America where we have the freedom to choose what we want to do with our lives. In my life I have seen several of my family members that I love suffer until they decided that was enough. I would rather see someone die peacefully then lay in a hospital bed in pain.

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