There is much controversy over whether or not physician-assisted suicide should be legalized. Physician-assisted suicide should be supported because terminally ill patients should have the right to decide whether or not they wish to die. Physician-assisted suicide occurs when the individual assisting in the suicide of a patient is a doctor rather than a friend or family member. However, studies indicate that many physicians are unwilling to provide their assistance in suicide because it conflicts with their ethical beliefs or because it is illegal. Supporters of legalization believe that terminally ill individuals have the right to end their own lives in some instances and that patients, in spite of current law; continue to practice regularly, in secrecy. Opponents of physician-assisted suicide argue that widespread legalization would cause abuse rather than reduce or control it. The opposition side maintains that legalized assisted suicide would lead to deaths of patients who do not really wish to die. In August of 2009, 50 year-old Ted O’Barr was lying in Hoag hospital dying of pancreatic cancer. Ted had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer only months earlier. Doctors had informed Ted’s family that recovery was highly unlikely but that they could go ahead and start chemotherapy treatment to slow down the progression of the cancer. He had chosen to try and fight the cancer but two months into chemotherapy treatment he decided that it was a battle he was not going to win, and he discontinued treatment. During the last month Ted went through tremendous bouts of pain and suffering. He often times told his wife that he no longer wished to live and wished his suffering would end. If given the option Ted O’Barr would have chosen physician-assisted suicide for two reasons: Firstly, to save his family from suffering the effects cancer with him which according to author Joe Messerli in Balanced Politics – Physician- Assisted Suicide....
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