Research Paper December 4, 2012
Meeting Dr. Death
Walking down dull white hallways, seeing disease, and experiencing death are just a few things that have been experienced by myself and many others in the hospice wing of a hospital. There are some things that an individual cannot bear to see while in this wing as terminally ill patients are forced to live through the pain of their illness. Without being able to do anything but lay in bed day after day, some patients wish for death to come early and relieve themselves and family members of the pain that comes with being terminally ill. Many people who have not experienced a loved one slowly slip away could not understand the pain that comes with not knowing which day could be the last day for that loved one, whether it be a family member or close friend. Some of the hardest parts come from knowing that neither the doctor nor yourself can do anything to help or take away the pain. The only cure for some terminal illnesses is illegal in the United States, and that would be euthanasia. The practice of euthanasia is widely debated throughout the United States. Defined by the Oxford English Dictionary Euthanasia is, “The means of bringing about a gentle and easy death.” Euthanasia being illegal in the United States is causing many patients to live through the pain of both their illness and the suffering of their family members. The legalization of Euthanasia in the United States should be approved because a patients right to live or die should be the patient’s decision.
The history of euthanasia can be traced back to ancient times. In ancient Greek and Roman cultures euthanasia was widely used as a form of mercy killing for terminally ill patients. Back in ancient times the doctors who took care of sick and dying patients did not have any sort of sophisticated technology as we do today, so the mercy killings known as euthanasia were brought on to patients who had a survivable illness. Although mercy killings were more frequent and widely used most cultures believed the same thing. Michael Manning explains in his book, Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide: Killing or Caring, that “The ancients stressed the voluntary nature of the dying, provided that it was done for the right reasons; for example, to end the suffering of a terminal illness. Indeed, in classical Athens, the city magistrates kept a supply of poison for anyone who wished to die." The Greeks and Romans form of euthanasia is not as well known as some forms, but it stands an important roll in the history of euthanasia and also setting precedence in future cases. The decision of euthanasia should ultimately be left for the decision of the patient. Family members and friends should not have to witness the pain and suffering of and individual suffering at all if the patient wishes to be euthanized. Euthanasia should not be legalized to be able to be used as an escape goat from things such as depression or just plain desire to die. It should be used as a means to free one from the chains and bondage of things such as stage four cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Death from these diseases is slow and painful. While cancer attacks organs and slowly destroys ones body, COPD is a chronic pulmonary disorder, which attacks ones lungs and robs them from adequate oxygen capacity. The drugs such as chemotherapy and radiation which one undergoes treatment with for cancer do more harm to the body then good. The body slowly attacks itself after Chemo treatments to exterminate cancer; it causes everything from hair loss, nausea, and extreme sleep depravity to organ failure and blood disorders. “For some suffering a terminal illness, there may come a time when further treatment brings only agony (Reagan).” COPD on the other hand does not have treatments currently available for therapy. The suffering that comes from the loss of oxygen intake...