Law and Ethics of Healthcare
Imagine you are terminally ill, medical professionals can no longer provide you any hope of a cure. Lying before you is the road no one wants to travel: unbearable pain, loss of dignity, your family watching you waste away and die slowly. Every year nearly a million people are diagnosed with a terminal illness. If given the choice would you prefer to die in your own time with no pain? Or would you rather suffer through the agony of death held to life only by medication and medical science? The subject of Euthanasia is one that has led to many debates, regulations, and laws.
The death of Karen Ann Quinlan in 1976 brought the Right to Die matter to light. Karen Ann was born on March 29, 1954 she was then adopted by Julia and Joseph Quinlan. She had a normal, happy childhood with loving parents and two siblings. When she was twenty-one Karen was rushed to the hospital unresponsive. She had reportedly ingested several alcoholic drinks along with the prescription drug Valium. She would never awaken. Doctors determined she was in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). She would remain on the ventilator for a year. Her mother and father finally won the right to have the vent removed in 1976 by the New Jersey Supreme Court. Her parents knew their daughter wouldn’t want to live the rest of her life hooked up to a machine. Karen went on to live another nine years, before dying in Morris View Nursing home on June 11, 1982 from pneumonia. She was 31. Although the Quinlans had to make the hardest decision any parent can make, they understood that their daughter had the right to die with dignity. Dignity is defined as 1. A calm and serious manner that deserves respect. 2. The fact of being given honor and respect by people. Every human being should be given the choice to die with dignity. Euthanasia is defined as 1. The act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition, as...
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