December 03, 2010
Allison p. 4
It must be horrible having a painful disease or being terminally ill, where unavoidable death will be the final result for the fact that there is not cure for that particular illness. Would assisted suicide be the best solution to end that tremendous suffering, should it be legalized? That's a question that has caused controversy. Assisted suicide is defined as the voluntary termination of one's own life by administration of a lethal substance with the direct or indirect assistance of a physician (MedTerms). Many individuals affirm that such act is against morality because no matter what, it is murder. Also, some people support ideas like the fact that it is contrary to a doctor’s ethics. However, there are strong arguments that support this arguable practice such as: the right to die of a person, a final method to end pain, and the patient could have the satisfaction to die with dignity.
To start with, a reason why assisted suicide should be legalized, in order to allow a patient to receive professional assistance to die, is because that terminally ill patient has the right to decide whether to live or not. According to Dr. Kevorkian, also known as "Dr. Death", affirms that an individual has the right to do whatever he/she wants as long as there won't be any damage caused to others, "It's your body, your life. You have every right to think and say and do anything you want, as long as you do not harm or threaten anybody or any property" (Kevorkian). Thus, there should be no restriction to stop an individual in obtaining physical assistance from a doctor to end his/her life because in doing so, it won't hurt or harm anyone else but end the pain and suffering from that incurable disease whose the patient is being torture with. "It should be the right of every citizen to escape unnecessary pain and suffering if at all possible.” (Smith). There is a law on Oregon that provides this right to its citizens, "An adult who is capable, is a resident of Oregon, and has been determined by the attending physician and consulting physician to be suffering from a terminal disease, and who has voluntarily expressed his or her wish to die, may make a written request for medication for the purpose of ending his or her life in a humane and dignified manner in accordance with ORS 127.800 to 127.897." (State Laws). In Short, once terminally ill patients reach a certain level of pain it should be their decision to have their painful life prolonged with treatment and eventually die slowly or receive a quick and non-painful death.
In the same way, another argument to support assisted suicide is the fact that in some cases the pain is extremely intense and there is nothing to stop or at least relieve the suffering. For example, Dr. Kevorkian assisted in the suicide of a patient from Colorado with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), named Kari Miller. She "left a note saying she could no longer sit or lie down because of the excruciating pain, and could hardly walk"(Sid Bernstein). Apparently the quality of life of this patient was deteriorating as time was passing by. It must be terrible being unable to do a simple task such as sit down without having an unmanageable pain. Also she mentioned, "the pain I was forced to live with and what the MS had done to me became intolerable, MS had robbed me of all my dignity and my zest for life" (Sid Bernstein). This is the sort of cases where one has to analyze and forget the morally way to think for a moment and decide what should be the best option for the patient whether end or prolong their pain. Similarly, Steve Johnson has inoperable brain cancer, even though he fought with everything he and medical science could muster. Now there is nothing left (McKee). "He did not want to 'roll the dice' of death. He wanted the same odds that dying horses have: The chance to have a dignified, medically assisted death"(McKee).There are cases where maintaining someone alive against their own will could be worse than death because in fact that person has no desire to live anymore and eventually that person will die shortly.
Lastly, assisted suicide should be a right given to the patient in order to have a death with dignity. For example,” With legalized physician-assisted suicide, those suffering from terminal, painful, and largely untreatable chronic conditions would be able to die with “dignity” which means it would be on their own terms, timetable, and hopefully with the support of friends and family" (Smith). In other words, patients that choose to die by their own terms could face death in a more satisfactory way than be slowly torture to death by an uncontrollable and painful disease. Also, most of the times patients opt for assisted suicide because they don't want to be a burden to their families. According to the official annual report by the Oregon Health Division (OHD), "Sixty-three percent of the 27 people whose suicides were legally assisted under Oregon law in 2000 said they did so because they feared being a burden to family, friends, and other caregivers" (Oregon Assisted Suicides). Apparently, most of the patients don't want their families to suffer because in some cases the patients are incapable to do a simple task, thus the patients feel like "they've lost their independence and feel like they have no quality of life" (Morrow). For these reasons, a terminally ill person should be allowed to receive physician assisted suicide to die with dignity, and put end to his/her and family suffering.
In summary, Doctor assisted suicide should be legalized for the fact that a terminally ill patient has the right to choose what to do with his/her life. As well, some would prefer to die with dignity by his/ her own terms than being slowly torture with that painful illness. Thus, government should not prohibit this last option that a delicate patient has to end pain. There is no reason in keeping someone alive when there is no desire to live from that person. So, patients should be allowed to take decisions that will affect their own fate.