PHYSICIAN ASSISTED SUICIDE
When I think about the meaning of “Life” I think about the things that make me happy, living to the fullest and having the ability to do what I want at my own free will. To what point do we decide when the experience of being a human being ends? Is it based on the functioning of the body, or the brain? Today’s doctors are now performing what is known as physician-assisted suicide, which is when a doctor sets up a machine, but the patient actually kills him or herself. The right to assisted suicide is a significant topic that concerns people all over the United States. The debates go back and forth about whether a dying patient has the right to die with the assistance of a physician. Some are against it because of religious and moral reasons, and some are for it because of their compassion and respect for the dying. Physicians also take a big role on this issue. They differ where they place the line that separates relief from dying--and killing. The main concern with assisted suicide lies with the competence of the terminally ill. Terminally ill patients who are in the final stages of their lives have requested doctors to aid them in exercising active euthanasia. It is sad to realize that these people are in great agony and that to them the only hope of bringing that agony to a halt is through assisted suicide. When people see the word euthanasia, they see the meaning of the word in two different lights. Euthanasia for some carries a negative connotation; it is the same as murder. However for others, euthanasia is the act of putting someone to death painlessly, or allowing a person suffering from an incurable and painful disease or condition to die by withholding extreme medical measures. But after studying both sides of the issue, a compassionate individual must conclude that competent terminal patients should be given the right to assisted suicide in order to end their suffering, reduce the damaging financial effects of hospital care on their families, and preserve the individual right of people to determine their own fate. There are two sides to this issue. One side is whether or not a person should be allowed to end his or her own life. The other side of the question is, whose decision is it to end a life? Medical technology today has achieved remarkable feats in prolonging the lives of human beings. Respirators can support a patient's failing lungs and medicines can sustain that patient's physiological processes. For those patients who have a realistic chance of surviving an illness or accident, medical technology is science's greatest gift to mankind. For the terminally ill, however, it is just a means of prolonging suffering. Medicine is supposed to alleviate the suffering that a patient undergoes. Yet the only thing that medical technology does for a dying patient is give that patient more pain and agony day after day. Some terminal patients in the past have gone to their doctors and asked for a final medication that would take all the pain away- lethal drugs. Terminally ill patients should have the right to assisted suicide because it is the best means for them to end the pain caused by an illness which no drug can cure. A competent terminal patient must have the option of assisted suicide because it is in the best interest of that person. Further, a dying person's physical suffering can be most unbearable to that person's immediate family. Medical technology has failed to save a loved-one. But, successful or not, medicine has a high price attached to it. The cost is sometimes too much for the terminally ill's family. A competent dying person has some knowledge of this, and with every day that he or she is kept alive, the hospital costs skyrocket. "The cost of maintaining [a dying person]. . . has been estimated as ranging from about two thousand to ten thousand dollars a month" (Dworkin 187). Human life is expensive, and in the hospital there are only a few...
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