The debate on whether a man or woman has the right to decide whether or not they want to end their lives has become more popular in the past few years. Recently states have been legalizing the right to be able to allow the physician to assist in the death of the person in critical condition. I, for one, strongly believe that an individual should have the right whether or not they can stay on this Earth. A kind of decision like that should be one that is completely up to that person. The person that is extremely ill didn’t choose to be put in the position they are in. Someone who is diagnosed as fatally ill should have every right to be able to end their life to keep the pain as minimal as possible for themselves, family, and friends.
Oregon was one of the first states to legalized physician-assisted suicide in 1997. There has been reported data on residents in Oregon who were deathly sick and received lethal prescriptions which is okay because it’s protected under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. Thirty-three people were reported died in 1999 do to the prescriptions received that were meant to bring death to the patient. Twenty-six died after taking the lethal injection, 5 died from their illness, and 2 were alive after 1999 but died shorty later. The average age of these patients were 71 and the most common cause for the treatment was cancer. All of the patients were covered by health care and according to the patients family members the patients requested assistance with suicide for many reasons. Some of these reasons included loss of autonomy and control of bodily functions. These two things alone make life unlivable and not enjoyable. No one wants to be told they are going to die and no one wants to watch their body’s slowly fail.
A significant number of sick people are maintained alive due to the progression in medicine however, these techniques create an wall between life and death. The cost of these treatments is very costly for the patient when he or she is going to die eventually. So in the end the patient or the patient’s family members are paying thousands of dollars to keep their loved ones on this Earth when in the end the patient is not doing anything but sit in a hospital bed all day and night. Not only does the patient not move, but also he or she is in a lot of pain due to the death that is inevitable. It just isn’t ethical to keep a patient that wants to die because they are in an extreme amount of pain when it is their body.
An article I found very supporting towards my case was called “ Tell Congress to Support Death with Dignity”. It talks about how voters across the country support giving terminally ill, mentally competent adults the option to access life ending prescription medication but 45 states in the U.S.A. do not have it authorized. They are denying the option to put people out of their miseries and instead force people to suffer through their final days of life when knowing it is coming to a quick and painful end.
No case was more moving to me then Cora-Lee Horner’s. On Aug. 2, 2004 her was placed into a medically- induced coma and a home-care burse removed her feeding tube. Exactly 3 days later the poor 22 year old had passed away and she left behind three children. She was suffering for two years with cervical cancer and was brought back home from the hospital about one month before her death. The father mentioned how horrible it was to watch his daughter suffer. Gough eventually found out from the house nurse that the daughter requested for the nurse to pull her feeding tube out so she can die sooner. Gough, the father, again restated that “watching his child slowly deteriorate convinced him medically assisted dying (known more commonly as doctor-assisted suicide) is a humane approach to death,”. If he had knowledge of how much pain and suffering his daughter was going threw because of her illness, a lethal dose injection of narcotics would have been his obvious choice. That house nurse did the right thing in everyone’s mind but the laws. Soon after that information the nurse was put in prison for assisted suicide. This father daughter case is a huge example of dying with dignity because it is unjust to keep someone living in pain when they could be resting in peace.
Times magazines wrote a story on a woman named Brittany Maynard who was deathly ill due to terminal brain cancer. She was 29 year old how took her own life on a Saturday because she wanted to die with dignity rather then have everyone, including herself, watch her die. After hearing this an Oregon lawyer began meeting with a group of physicians and businesspeople in Portland who shared his belief that terminally ill people should be able to decide when to die. By 1993, they discovered the Death with Dignity law and this was to be the first state to give people with months to live the right to access lethal medication. States like California and Washington failed to pass similar laws. If one state can realize that death with dignity must become real then the rest of the country can realizes this as well.
Another website called Before I Die offered some real life stories and many issues about why physician assistants should have the right to ably by the patients wishes to die if the patient had only months to live. A new father was in critical condition after he had gotten into a serious car accident. He spent a month in the intensive care unit and he was hooked up to life support that included a respirator. After a month of being in a coma the doctors tried to break him out of his sleep but there was no hope. Don had always told his wife that he never wanted to end up in a coma, hooked up to a respirator. His wife had to come in almost every day to see her husband t=and the things she saw was just sad and depressing. She would view him seeming dead everyday, sometimes even with his own feces on him. This is no human way to hold someone when they are inevitably going to pass.
After viewing all these cases its pretty clear that the states need to open their eyes and realize that physician should be able to assist in their patients death if that patient had months to live. No body wants to watch themselves slowly die and neither does the family. Everybody should have a right on whether or not they want to end their own lives, it should not be up to the government to decide such an important decision. It should be up to the people because they did choose to die in months due to a horrible sickness or terrible accident. Let the people die with dignity and not suffer.