Every day in the United States 1,500 people are diagnosed with a terminal illness. These people are given few options when determining if the wish to try treatment and if treatment does not work, how to deal with the end of their lives. (author unknown, “Cancer”) With this horrible future ahead of them many may wish to make amends before it’s too late, however, an increasing number of people are seeking an alternate solution. In states such as Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana and soon California a relatively new, legal option is available for people with terminal illnesses. The states of Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and Montana created a law which allows people with a terminal illness and less than six months that are mentally healthy seek professional medical help that will end their lives (Humphrey, Derek) . This topic has created heated debates across the United States with each side have clear and defined reason as to why or why not this controversial law should be processed for the whole country. The people who defend the law believe that people who are losing their lives should be able to leave this world on their own terms, and with the help of physicians they can go in a painless and mess-free way. Supporters also believe that by not wanting to the end it can help save patients, doctors, and insurance time and money that could be better spent on patients who may have options and may not be able to reach them without
Gonzales v. Oregon was a case about the Death with Dignity Act passed in Oregon in 1994. The Act made it legal for doctors to prescribe lethal doses of controlled substances to terminally ill patients. The Attorney General claimed the law violated the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. Ashcroft planned to revoke any doctor?s medical license who prescribed lethal doses of controlled substances. Oregon sued Ashcroft and both the district court and the Ninth Circuit court held that Ashcroft was wrong, and the Death with Dignity Act was upheld (Oyez IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, 2015).
Ethan Remmel, a Bellingham, WA resident, was only 41 when he died on June 13, 2011, a year after being diagnosed with terminal colon cancer that quickly spread to his bones. Ethan was a psychology professor and father of two young sons. He took a lethal dose of crushed prescription sedatives to end his life. He was able to legally obtain that prescription from his physician under the state’s 2009 Death with Dignity Act. The law allows people living with deadly illnesses maintain control over their lives. Having that control maintained seems to improve the quality of life for someone at the end of their life. Dr. Remmel’s quality of life was critical to his happiness.
The Oregon Death with Dignity Act was put into effect on October 27, 1997. This act allowed physicians to prescribe to terminally ill patients a lethal dose of medication in order to hasten their death, even though euthanasia is prohibited in the United States. According to Katrina Hedberg, this act has been revised by Oregon legislature, but has still been brought to attention of the United States Supreme Court on raised questions of legality. In order to receive a prescription for the Death with Dignity Act, the patient must reside in Oregon, be a terminally ill adult, and should be expected to die within a six-month time frame. Along with these requirements, patients must be able to make their own healthcare decisions. Katrina Hedberg found that over the course of ten years, physicians had written 546 prescriptions and a total of 341 Oregon residents passed away after the lethal dose under this act. The medications that were prescribed during this time were secobarbital and pentobarbital, and most patients would pass away within an hour of taking pentobarbital. Many physicians have reported that patients who requested these prescriptions often had a loss of autonomy and a decrease in their ability to engage in activities that they enjoyed. The results showed that these factors had increased over the course of ten years. According to physicians, patient’s concerns of pain had also increased during this time. This is still very controversial, but findings have shown that
How to Die in Oregon is an emotionally charged, and intimate exploration of the controversial “Death with Dignity” Law passed in the state of Oregon in 1994. How to Die in Oregon received the Grand Jury Prize in the U. S. Documentary Competition at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, along with other countless accolades, and is currently available as an HBO Original Film. In his film, filmmaker Peter Richardson, employs the observational mode of documentary to witness how patients families and friends grapple with the legal option of physician assisted suicide. In exploring the complexities surrounding this topic, Richardson interviews doctors on both sides of
Physician assisted suicide has been a subject of much controversy in the field of healthcare. A physician’s decision to provide life ending drugs relies on whether or not this practice is legal in their state of residence, the patient’s competence, and whether or not they are suffering from a terminal illness. In a study conducted by Zenz, Tryba, and Zenz (2015), it was found that healthcare providers (physicians and nurses) would rather perform euthanasia on terminal patients over physician assisted suicide. Interestingly enough, this study also found that there is a more general acceptance of this practice than a willingness to perform
Physician-assisted suicide is one of the most controversial topics in the United States and other parts of the world today. Assisted death allows mentally proficient, terminally-ill adult patients to request access to life-ending medication from their physician. This type of assisted death is promoted by organizations such as the Death with Dignity National Center, who advocate for countrywide advances in end-of-life care and extended options for individuals near death. Although there are various arguments that state it is both immoral and unethical, physician-assisted suicide is a viable and honorable method to provide end-of-life options to the terminally-ill and to provide better support, relief, and comfort to dying patients. This topic
The issues of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) are both emotional and controversial. Some argue PAS is ethically permissible for a dying person who has chosen to escape unbearable suffering at the end of life; it is the physician’s duty to alleviate the patient’s suffering and justifies aid-in-dying. These arguments rely on the respect for individual autonomy. “Individual autonomy is an idea that is generally understood to refer to the capacity to be one's own person, to live one's life according to reasons and motives that are taken as one's own and not the product of manipulative or distorting external forces.” (STANDFORD REF)
According to data from Washington and Oregon in 2012, there were 160 physician-assisted suicides and 90 percent of these deaths were of patients in hospices care. This poses a unique issue for hospice caregivers because on one hand they are not looking to prolong life, but on the other hand they are also not looking to hasten the process. There will always be a debate in hospices on whether or not physicians should assist in suicide of patients (Campbell & Cox, 26). Because a vast majority of the patients who opt for physician-assisted suicide are in hospice care, Hospice physicians are often referred to when a patient is considering physician assisted suicide. Even with the laws in Oregon allowing physician assisted suicide, many hospices refuse to condone it and many hospices will not perform physician assisted suicide. They refuse to perform assisted death because they seek to remain faithful to the historically formative values of hospice care. These include the philosophy that “death is a natural continuation of the human lifespan, that the dignity of each dying patient should be affirmed, that the quality of a patients remaining life should be promoted through the highest level of caring commitment, and that hospices should evince a distinctive devotion to symptom and pain management.” (Campbell and cox 27). Another reason certain hospices do not allow physician assisted suicide is because they are religiously affiliated. They are restricted from administering physician-assisted suicide because it is against their religion to do
Physician assisted suicide consists of a doctor intentionally providing a patient with the means to commit suicide. It continues to be a controversial issue that is facing our state’s legislatures and is presently legal in only four states including Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and just recently, California. Anna Gorman, an author for Kaiser Health News, published an article in USA Today titled “Disabled Right Advocates Fight Assisted Suicide Legislation.” Gorman’s article explains the dangers of a proposed legislation in California that would legalize prescriptions for terminally ill patients to end their lives. The bill was passed and will be effective for ten years. In her article, Gorman interviews four people who believe that physician
As of January 2015 there are five states in the U.S. that have declared the Death with Dignity Act a constitutional right for a competent, terminally ill patient. Under what conditions is physician assisted suicide morally acceptable, is the question at hand and did these states make the right decision on such a slippery slope debate. This paper will go on to explain one side of this very touchy debate, it will also consider objections from the other side, and ultimately defend the position physician assisted suicide is wrong not only morally but also, ethically.
In current society, legalizing physician assisted suicide is a prevalent argument. In 1997, the Supreme Court recognized no federal constitutional right to physician assisted suicide (Harned 1) , which defines suicide as one receiving help from a physician by means of a lethal dosage (Pearson 1), leaving it up to state legislatures to legalize such practice if desired. Only Oregon and Washington have since legalized physician assisted suicide. People seeking assisted suicide often experience slanted judgments and are generally not mentally healthy. Legalization of this practice would enable people to fall victim to coercion by friends and family to commit suicide. Also, asking for death is unfair to a doctor’s personal dogma. Some
After, reviewing these three positions I agree with Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. I believe that patients who are experiencing such great amounts of suffering should be given the option to a doctor assisted death. My reasoning behind this is that any individual who is not suffering does not understand what terminally ill patients must face on a day-to-day basis. Imagine yourself finding out you have less than six months to live, you have come to peace with the fact that you are terminally ill, your family has all said there goodbyes, you don’t want to cause a financial bind when you pass away, and with every passing day your suffering becomes significantly greater. You lose the ability to stand for long period of time that then leads to
Physician-assisted suicide is suicide that results from a physician’s prescription of lethal medication. It provides information to a patient about how to commit suicide in an effective manner and providing the means necessary for an effective suicide by writing a prescription for a lethal amount of medication. I do agree with the Oregon Model because if a person in Oregon is terminally ill, they have the right to make a decision about ending their own life with physician-assisted suicide. The Oregon Model permits Oregon physicians to prescribe lethal drugs for Oregon adult residents who are terminally ill and who want to end their own lives. In order for a patient to be eligible for such assistance, the attending physician must determine
I want to write my short reflection paper on How to Die in Oregon. The documentary is making an argument for euthanasia debate. The main point of argument in this documentary is death with dignity. The director wants to support an argument on the side of physician-assisted suicide. First of all, Oregon is the first state to pass the law which has legalized physician-assisted suicide. Therefore, the way it presents is showing some terminally ill patients in Oregon who have the right to take advantage of the death with dignity act. It means that they can make the decision to end their life peacefully by taking the medicine if they don’t want to suffer in pain when the death is inevitable. Most of all, the terminally ill patients who involved