Debate continues over the issue of euthanasia long after the court decision concerning Dr. Kevorkian. Kevorkian has been acquitted of murder in his assisted suicide cases and the court has created precedent for the legalization of selecting death. Euthanasia does take place and is selected voluntarily by patients who are in great pain due to an incurable illness like cancer. Usually, the decision is made to pull the plugs of machines which prolong life or to end treatment. Because patients select to die, their deaths end suffering, and there is no intention to cause harm, physician assisted euthanasia cannot be considered murder. Unlike murder, euthanasia is not an act of violence. In an editorial in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Dr. Eric Chevlen argues that patients, who are worn down by pain, extensive testing, and depression, will be easily persuaded to seek assisted suicide. Furthermore, Chevlen mentions that the courts have decided that the right to die should be made available to everyone. Modern medical technology has allowed doctors to prolong life past the point of a patient's natural death. In the case of euthanasia, the doctor needs to end suffering from cancer or AIDS and assist the patient to die comfortably. Patients are beginning to assert their right to die rather than being kept alive forcibly. For example, a Texan who suffered burns in a gas explosion, Dan Cowart wanted to die even though he survived the accident. He believes that his rights were violated by the doctors who prevented his death through life-sustaining treatment. When a patient like Cowart is in constant pain, death becomes a peaceful reward. Additionally, doctor assisted euthanasia is performed with the full consent of the patient. Murder steals life, while euthanasia gives the patient release. A patient with a degenerative neurological condition has, in one case, begged for help to die. The patients who have been helped by Dr. Kevorkian have all been...
Bibliography: Chevlen, Eric M., and Wesley J. Smith. Power over Pain: How to Get the Pain Control You Need. Steubenville, OH: International Task Force, 2002. Print.
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