Death with dignity Essay

1333 Words 6 Pages
Dying With Dignity

On Tuesday, March 24, an elderly Oregon woman, acting with the aid of a doctor, dosed herself with potent chemicals and died. The woman had lived with breast cancer for more than 20 years. By all accounts her final hours were private and peaceful, as she became one of the first people in American history to end her life lawfully with the aid of a physician (Oregonian A1).
She was able to end her life peacefully due to controversial legislation passed in her state. The Death with Dignity Act was passed by the state of Oregon in 1994. It allows physicians to prescribe a lethal dose of medication so that a terminally ill patient can end his or her life. The requirements set forth by
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Jones. In his dissent, he stated, “It does not violate the Controlled Substances Act’s nonpreemption provision. It neither exceeds the Attorney General’s statutory authority under the Controlled Substances Act” (The Federal Register 12). Therefore, this action would be detrimental to all those who do not choose to wait for death. In November of 2004 Ashcroft appealed to the Supreme Court and they will hear the case later this year. It is likely the Supreme Court will interpret the regulations in accordance with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals but if it fails to do so Oregon will be forced to repeal the statute.
This law has brought peace to 171 terminally ill and suffering individuals in a very painless and humane manner. Only 3 of the 43 patients experienced complications in 2003. The only complications reported in these 3 cases were vomiting. One-half of all patients became unconscious within four minutes of ingesting the lethal medication and all died within 20 minutes. The range of time from ingestion to death was five minutes to 48 hours (Sixth Annual Report T3.9).
Physician assisted suicide accomplishes much more than ending suffering before death. The right is of the individual and should be respected by our government. It is a fundamental freedom that we all should have. It allows a person to die with dignity and prevents the illness from killing them before they die. “The Death with Dignity Act is very similar to other forms of euthanasia