End of life discussion are to be used to talk about options available to patients as they face a terminal illness or just old age. The options available are many; from do not resuscitate orders to palliative care. There are a few places in the world that extend those options to physician assisted suicide (PAS) and Euthanasia. These options should be discussed and even made available all over, to educate the public and to prevent things from happening behind closed doors. Euthanasia may be taboo but it should be made legal.
For many years there has been a debate about palliative care, euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. (Darity 2008) The fact that people are seeking these options with or without a doctor’s help just reinforces the fact that peoples voices should be heard and that this should be approached in the hotly debated health care reform currently being discussed in the United States.
Most recently there was an attempted euthanasia case in Hawaii, a man tried to end the life of his terminally ill wife and himself. Hawaii has been having a debate about this for decades and some see this as a sign that the debate will resurface once again. This is just one recent occurrence that shows the extreme measures one will take to ease the suffering of a loved one. The fact that this man took these measures screams that there is a lack in communication, education and it is something that needs to be addressed soon. (Vorsino) Anti-Thesis
Those who do not support euthanasia have stated that there are too many advances in medicine to really need this option. There is power in medicine. It is closely related to ethics, Hippocratic Oath prevents a doctor from causing harm to a patient. This can also be interpreted to mean that the doctor has to do everything within his or her power to save a patient’s life or prolong it. (Orr 2009)
Doctors already have the tools necessary to ease death. One of the five categories of assisted death is the withholding of potentially life sustaining treatment; do not resuscitate orders. This allows the patient to decide if they want extreme measures taken to continue life; withholding CPR. This is a decision that the patient makes and for the most part all health care facilities address this with individuals prior to surgical procedures and other treatments. (Darity 2008)
Physicians also offer the withdrawal of potentially life sustaining treatments. This gives a patient the right to refuse or stop any treatment that may prolong a person’s life. An example of this would be the removal or refusal of a feeding tube. This is typically addressed with patients in a persistent vegetative state.
Pain management is the biggest area where assisted death is common already. Under the five categories of assisted death this is the most closely related to PAS and euthanasia. This practice is the giving of suffering control medication in doses that may shorten a person’s life. Morphine is the most common drug. Morphine has the potential to reduce respirations and potentially cause death. There is no precise amount that is considered too much. Levels of this drug are gradually increased as pain increases so there is no way to define exactly how much is too much and since it is generally used in patients in extreme pain; caused by terminal illness or complications of disease. (Darity 2008) These three are already considered legal and ethical treatments. Doctors should not have to put their lively hood on the line just to satisfy those who give up on finding possible cures and life extending treatments for what are currently terminal illnesses or chronic diseases. These options are not...