Throughout the history of the entire world, things have constantly been changing. Societies have been created and flourished, humans evolved, new technologies have been created, and new theories discovered. However, with so many advancements in the human world, there are some things that cannot be stopped from happening or change. Organisms can get an illness at any moment in their lives from many different causes. Some illnesses cannot be cured, can cause unbearable symptoms or pain, and can cause you to lose your life, such as cancer. If a person is terminally ill, their illness will be the cause of their death no matter how much treatment is received. Certain illnesses and diseases cause a lot of pain such as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, pancreatic cancer, and Lesch-Nyhan syndrome. Radiation treatments for cancer cause patients suffering from that disease to experience a great deal of pain also. Sometimes the pain from terminal illnesses or diseases is too unbearable for the patient to want to live, and they want to be released from the illness’ painful clutch. Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are two ways to end the life of a person. Euthanasia is the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy (Merriam-Webster), also defined by the Oxford dictionary as the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma. In places where euthanasia is allowed, it is only legal when it is voluntary active euthanasia, or the intentionally administering medication or other interventions to cause patient’s death at the explicit request and with fully informed consent. Physician-assisted suicide is suicide by a patient facilitated by means (as a drug prescription) or by information (as an indication of a lethal dosage) provided by a physician aware of the patient’s intent (Merriam-Webster). For terminally ill patients, this is an outlet for their suffering in life, which is very advantageous to the person. Euthanasia and physician- Hughes 2
assisted suicide should be legalized for all terminally ill patients who have these options available to them.
The issue of legalizing euthanasia and/or physician-assisted suicide has created a large debate among many people throughout the world including residents and medical professionals. There are many pros to the legalization, but many people are also strongly against it and think it would cause more problems than it would solve. For many terminally ill, they are devoid of simple pleasures, and functional capability, while also suffering pain and long hours of consciousness of the hopelessness of their state (Asch). However, choosing life or death is a personal decision and those who are suffering should be able to choose to end their life. If placed in the terminal disease situation, opponents to euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide would not want to spend their last days on earth suffering or even eventually becoming a vegetable. “The ingestion of a controlled substance in order to accelerate death may spare the terminally ill patient much suffering, both physical pain and the anguish that, for some, accompanies helplessness and dependence,” (Dick and Lindsey). States should think of ways to make sure the terminally ill do not suffer but not make doctors have to assist in their death (Appel). However, as of the society of America right now, that is not possible.
There are many arguments against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. A loss of trust between the ill person at hand and the doctor treating them is a small one. A sense of security in the patients’ doctors is argued, but some people have killed themselves in an early stage of illness because of fear that they would not have assistance later if wanted or...