Physician assisted suicide is a controversial issue that can go either war in today??™s world. Unlike other topics this deals with how we are treat each other as humans and discusses how this could be a form of suicide or just a relief for the person in pain. The performance of Physician assisted suicide has been going on for some time now and is increasingly becoming illegal. It is a very big issue and it is one that needs to be addressed.
This issue relates to many people out there, having families go through hardships with hospitals and hospice departments and their relatives in them. Families having to make the decision for their family members as to whether to leave them in a hospital hooked up to life support or placing them in a hospice and watching their loved one die. This subject is not too unfamiliar in the world around us, but it is one issue that should be brought up more in governmental debates.
Euthanasia can be seen as an unethical way of killing, an act of murder, which invites religion, morality, government, and family into battle at the person??™s final moments of life. As much of a clear argument as this topic is, it is still being argued around forums as a choice form of death today, leading with examples from Family, Religion, and Morality. On the family issue, there are such reasons to why this topic would benefit in a family crisis. Euthanasia provides a way to relieve patients from extreme pain, and also relieves the loved ones from the pain of watching their family member fade away (Koukl, 1998).
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Taking this pain off of everyones shoulders is probably the best thing to do, so that they can all finally move on. Medical funds needed to keep this person alive in a hospice facility or at home are a big factor of this issue as well. Medical bills can range up to thousands and thousands of dollars a day when they are kept on a ventilator or given numerous medications for pain management or stress relief. Having the family buy in to Euthanasia also creates a relief in a way. It would relieve the families??™ pain to see their loved one in a condition in which they have no quality of life and never will again. By taking the person off the machine they could be on, or if they are in a coma, this wouldnt shorten their life at all because the life they had lived previously was it, they are not coming back. Once someone is on a ventilator and has other issues like kidney failure or they are terminal with cancer, their life is over anyways. I guess the question there would be: do they chose to live or wish to die Pro Euthanasia supporters also bring up categories such as Morality and Religion. The first moral reason of why we need Euthanasia is clearly to end the unbearable pain a patient is in. By not knowing how bad another person feels, kind of limits the argument for either side. We can watch and see clearly how theyre reacting to it, but we dont know how worthy this situation is to keeping life. If a sufferer really wants to go end life, there is also the fact of the Right to Commit Suicide (Stevens, 1998). The persons demand to intentionally end their life can be viewed as an individual or public act, which is not about the right to die, but the right to kill.
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The whole idea of this seems to be that we are giving the doctors the right to kill. If someone wants to die, should they be forced to stay alive I experienced this with my mother-in law. She was very ill for many years but was really afraid of dying; people would always ask if she wanted to die. Now, the question always comes up, “Should People be forced to stay alive” I believe the answer is No; they shouldnt. By keeping a patient alive who doesnt want to live anymore can be viewed as a cruel and inhumane act. Looking at it from a religion point, most of them tell you to live life as you wish. So with Euthanasia philosophy is most likely, life centered on you and about life after death. The main purpose for pro-Euthanasia I would think is the case of Freedom of Choice. If a person really wants their life ended that badly, then they can choose to do so, but the case is actually making legal the right for a doctor to do so first, because in their constitutional mind, they do whatever it takes to save a patients life. But even after all the facts and all the standards for making Euthanasia a concept of this nation, there is still the argument of why Euthanasia has to be stopped. Euthanasia is the intentional killing by act or non-act of a self-depended human being for his or her benefit and by their request. The key word in that statement is, “Benefit”. Is this really a beneficial act and does it help our society I don??™t believe that it does help society at all. Looking at what I have written so far, sure, there are some reasons for either side to have the upper hand. But the fact of the matter is that the practice of euthanasia is one of the worst things that can happen in our nation.
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Many things affect this situation and show how horrible of a situation it really is, with things such as government, religion, politics, morals and common sense.
For starters, the public has a huge role and say as to how this Euthanasia situation is. A substantial size of todays population feels that it is our democratic right, as individuals, to choose whether it is right or not to terminate someones life. This is not seen as murder by this portion of the population. But the stronger side says that it is Gods call to determine when one of his creations??™ time is over, and that we as human beings are in no position to play God. By having doctors perform the act, they override the divine function and interfere with Gods??™ plan. With these religious concerns out there, a lot of controversy can start on the subject.
Speaking on the topic of religion and Euthanasia, this subject also gets involved with Religious politics. According to a 2004 Gallup Poll, 53% of Americans think that Euthanasia is ???morally acceptable???, while 41% of society feels that it is wrong. Questioning some of those who attend religious services nearly every week, only 33% regarded Euthanasia acceptable, which makes it a 20% difference. Evaluating these statistics from Gallup, its easy to see that religion plays a huge position in the deciding factors of what Euthanasia is in society. Since religion itself is concerned with issues of meaning and morality, life and death, its not surprising that, for many people, religious beliefs are the main basis for their opinions.
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There are still many different kinds of issues which make the Euthanasia debate keep stirring up our society. Euthanasia comes from the Greek word for “easy death” and is formally called ???mercy killing???. There are four different types of Euthanasia: Active, Passive, Voluntary, and Positive. Voluntary involves a request by the dying person or their legal guardian. Passive Euthanasia is doing nothing to prevent death or letting someone die, also known as ???DNR??? or do not resuscitate. Active Euthanasia involves giving a lethal dose of toxins to cause death, and Positive involves taking deliberate action to cause death. As seen, there are many different ways of going about the situation of killing someone through Euthanasia. Seeing these methods, we know that there is some consent to whether the patient can choose to die and such, but its all about whether the doctor should be allowed to perform the act. In this case, it??™s known as ???assisted suicide??? or simply helping someone die. All in all, its highly unethical for a doctor to participate in such an activity and help someone die when they should by all means be trying to save their life. The most popular opinion of Euthanasia is that this is an emergency exit for people, and if they have nowhere to turn in their time of need, this is their choice. Euthanasia is not going to be for just the ???terminally ill???.
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There are two problems with this: the true definition of terminal and the changes that have already taken place to extend Euthanasia to those who are not completely terminal. Murad ???Jack??? Kevorkian, who spoke at the 1992 National Press Club, stated that terminal illness was, “any disease that curtails life for even a day” Looking at this statement, I think it??™s very hard to break down the pain versus time of life to one days??™ pain (Smith 2010). Some laws define the word terminal as relatively short time, and there is also death expected in six months or less, which is also called hospice. With the situation of diagnosing time of life, it seems impossible to tell when someone really is leaving the Earth, such as, if someones supposed to go in a year or so, usually, they last for more like a couple years or more. The resilience of people these days beats a lot more odds than they ever have. Nowadays, Euthanasia activists have dropped “terminal condition??? to other names such as ???hopelessly ill???, ???incurably ill???, or ???meaningless life??? (Smith, 2010). An article in the journal, “Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior”, described assisted suicide guidelines for those with a hopeless condition. “Hopeless condition” was defined to include severe physical or psychological pain, terminal illness, or deterioration, physical or mental debilitation or a quality of life that is no longer acceptable to that individual. That means just about anybody who has a suicidal impulse (David, 1995). If we use that fact, saying that anybody with a suicidal impulse is worth giving up is unjust to the individual. We should be helping the people that are going through the hard times and not push them to go and take their own life.
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That is what they are basically told to do when euthanasia is given as an option. Most of the people that are even considering taking their life arent even all the way sain in the head as it is because of how much theyve already been going through. If the definition of ???terminal has changed this much, then just think how much its going to keep changing. It wouldnt be surprising if ???terminal illness??? was considered eventually viewed as something as simple as a bad case of pneumonia. As the definition of sickness keeps getting looser and looser, the more and more doctors are planning on making profits on this money scandal using Euthanasia (David, 1995). Wesley J. Smith, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, states, “…physician-assisted suicide, if it became widespread, could become a profit-enhancing tool for big HMOs….drugs used in assisted suicide cost only about $40, but that it could take $40,000 to treat a patient properly so that they dont want the “choice” of assisted suicide”. This shown is easily a means of cost containment. In the United States, thousands of people have no medical insurance; studies have shown that the poor and minorities generally are not given access to available pain control, and managed-care facilities are offering physicians cash bonuses if they dont provide care for patients (David, 1995). I really don??™t think the public will all too happy with this. It would be like refusing someone care after they are hurt. With greater and greater emphasis being placed on managed care, many doctors are at financial risk when they provide treatment for their patients.
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Legalized euthanasia raises many issues for the medical community. For example if a seriously ill or disabled person “chooses” to die rather than receive long-term care this will definitely impact the financial security and future of many medical professionals. When they are no longer able to provide long term care to these patients who normally would live at a medical facility for years. By taking that option away by offering euthanasia, you impact the financial aspect of the medical fields by possibly millions of dollars. If euthanasia does get legalized, and choosing death is ok and the doctor is allowed to perform this, then doctors are going to try and convince everyone not do take this route. Since this is going benefit them and have them profit off of it, then of course they??™re going to do anything they can to argue why they shouldnt be living the life they are living and will probably even stretch a lot of the truth about the current condition they would be in. As Leon Kass, M.D., Ph.D. said, “The prohibition against killing patients … stands as the first promise of self-restraint sworn to in the Hippocratic Oath, as medicines primary taboo: I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect…” As much as Euthanasia supporters will say, Euthanasia will not only be voluntary to the public (David, 1995). For this fact, psychological and emotional pressures can stand in the way and if theyre saying that its basically the same situation by choosing life or death, then the patient would feel guilt and want death (David, 1995). In the state of mind that one of these people will be in can determine wether or not they go though with it.
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1. Koukl, G. (1998). Religion and euthanasia. Retrieved from http://www.str.org/site/News2page=NewsArticle&id=5235
2. Stevens, L. (1998). Suicide: a civil right. Retrieved from http://www.antipsychiatry.org/suicide.htm
3. Smith, W. (2010, June 21). Jack kevorkian admits to committing second murder on larry king. Retrieved from http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/secondhandsmoke/2010/06/21/jack-kevorkian-admits-to-committing-second-murder-on-larry-king/
4. David, B. (1995). Risk factors for adolescent suicide and suicidal behavior: mental and substance abuse disorders, family environmental factors, and life stress. . Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/fa=main.doiLanding&uid=1996-17409-001