Analysis of "Scared to Death of Dying", Article by Herbert Hendin
February 24, 1997
The background for this work is that the existing conflict over legalizing assisted suicides and euthanasia could bring our values down and society apart. The problem is not legalizing or opposing to it, the real problem is to find a way to care for the terminally ill. We have the responsibility to help the terminally ill die in a decent way not killing them. If we don't have a policy or rule against this we are permitting doctors, like Jack Kevorkian, to become famous for killing people. The claim for this work is that assisted suicides and euthanasia should be illegal.
The Oregon Law would allow people to die quicker and without dignity. We can see that this is true in the story of the 30 year-old man that has leukemia. He had a 25 percent chance of survival if he was medically treated; if not he was given a few months to live. When told this, the man wanted to suicide. At first he was scared but after talking with the doctor he decided to take medical treatment and be closer to his family in his final days. If this had happened under the Oregon Law, he would have asked a doctor to assist him in suicide and the doctor would have assisted him without any problem since he had no mental illness.
Doctors can cause or hastened death without the patient's request. This can be seen in the Netherlands were a 30 year-old man who was H.I.V.-positive, but had no symptoms and may not develop them for years, was helped to die. Probably the doctors didn't explain that even if he had a terminal disease he could enjoy the rest of his life with his family and friend that were about to lose him.
Doctors aren't trained to do this in medical school and the public doesn't know better. This is because doctors aren' t trained properly in the relief of pain and discomfort in terminally ill patients. And time should be devoted in...
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