PHI 103 Informal Logic
Instructor Michele Clearman Warner
January 4, 2011
Should Physician-assisted suicide be Legal? When society ponders over the idea of physician-assisted suicide, they most likely feel that the act itself would compare to murdering someone. Who really has the authority to say what is right or wrong when a loved one wants to end their life because of a terminal illness or a severe physical disability? President Clinton signed the Federal Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction in 1997, which prohibits the use of federal funding for physician-assisted suicides (The Gale Group, 2002). However, also in 1997, the state of Oregon passed the Death with Dignity Act that legalized the physician-assisted suicides (Youngston, R.M., Dr., 2000). This paper will show why it is important for physician-assisted suicide to be legalized in all states and territories in order to assist the terminally ill and severely disabled patients who are not capable to take care of themselves and want to have a right die with dignity. Everyone has his or her own opinion about physician-assisted suicide, but what about the patients who have to suffer physically and mentally because of an incurable type of cancer or have a stroke that have left him or her paralyzed and they are unable to help themselves? People who have been diagnosed with certain types of incurable cancers can suffer a slow agonizing death. Patients who suffer from an incurable cancer experience endless periods of vomiting, coughing, extreme pain and lose control of their bodily functions (Messerli, J., 2011). There is a woman whose name is Cody Curtis, and she was diagnosed with Cholangicarcinoma in December of 2007. Cholangicarcinoma is a type of cancer that runs through the bile of a person’s liver. Cody’s cancer traveled to her lungs and lymph nodes after having her first surgery and was told her survival rate would only be for about three months, she was told that she would die with a massive organ failure. Cody talked to her family and they came to an agreement to let her die with dignity, she was given a prescription drug Seconal that was placed by her beside. Cody decided that when she got to the point where she could not take care of herself anymore and felt she was a burden to her family she would take the medicine and go in peace. She stated that she wanted her children to remember the good things about her, not weighing under seventy pounds and bedridden (Curtis, C., 2006). This particular woman had the blessing of her family and their support in her decision of what she wanted, which was to die in peace. There is a 56 year old man Tony Nicklinson who has locked-in syndrome, which is a condition resembling a coma, the patient is conscious but mute and totally paralyzed, except for the eye movement (Rohrer, F., 2009). Mr. Nicklinson lives in Milksham Wiltshire, and in 2005, he had a stroke, which resulted his condition, the locked-in syndrome. Mr. Nicklinson’s only means of communication is by either blinking or nodding his head towards some letters on a board. He states he is tired of living this way and is currently fighting the legal system to let his wife help him end his life (Walsh F., 2010). Tony Nicklinson made a statement to BBC news that “It left me paralyzed below the neck and unable to speak.” “I cannot scratch if I itch. I cannot pick my nose if it is blocked, and I can only eat if I am fed like a baby, only I will not out grow, unlike a baby.” “ have no privacy or dignity left. I am washed, dressed and put to bed by carers who are after all still strangers.” “I am fed up with my life and don’t want to spend the next twenty years like this” (Cited by Nicklinson T., 2010). After reading Mr. Nicklinson’s statement, most people should conclude that if this man feels he has no quality of life then he should...