About a century ago, when new technologies such as the artificial respirator and morphine spiked, the right to die law came up. The right to die law gives terminally ill patients the ability to end their life. Today, in the United States only five states have passed the right to die law. All terminally ill patients, should have the option open to them in all fifty states. With the right to die law comes a variety of opinions, along with uprising questions, and stories of people who did or should have been able to chose their death.
A CNN report by Ben Tinker claims that in the state of California, one hundred and eleven people died under the right to die law. According to Tinker (2017), the End of Life Option Act took effect on 9th June 2016. It provided that individuals starting from the age of eighteen had the right to request medication that was life-ending from their doctors. The circumstances of such requests were only when the patient was suffering from a terminal illness, and they decided to have a death timetable. As Tinker (2017) reports, the Act enabled two hundred and fifty-eight persons to initiate the process. Such significant figures indicate that people find it okay to end their lives rather than suffer in the struggle to remain alive. It is argued that in doing so, the people preserve their dignity and may even die a “happy death”, as they know they had to choose how they died.
On September 9th, the state assembly in California approved the End of Life Option Act, which allows terminally ill patients to end their lives with the assistance of a physician. According to the legislature, patients who seek assisted-death must only have six months to live and are required to submit a written request as well as two oral requests at least 15 days apart. (Reilly). While Gov. Jerry Brown still has yet to approve this new law, the act has shed light on the topic of euthanasia/physician-assisted suicide. With the pending status of the law, the question remains on whether or not the act should be passed and if so should the US take initiative and begin to legalize assisted-death in other states. Currently, euthanasia is illegal in every state; however, physician-assisted suicide is legal in Oregon, Washington, Vermont New Mexico, and Montana (article). Given its rather controversial nature, the issue of legalizing assisted-death has divided certain stakeholders on each side of the issue and contains strong proponents and opponents for this ethical and legal debate.
Since 1994, Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS) has been legal in the state of Oregon. The law allows patients diagnosed as having less than six months to live to decide when they will die. Sadly, death is a fact of life. Losing a loved one to debilitating disease or terminal illness is an experience to which an increasing number of Americans can relate. Every day new cases of cancer, ALS, and other painful, potentially fatal diseases are diagnosed in the US. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 22,000 new cancer cases will be reported in 2015 in Oregon alone, with roughly 8,000 subsequently dying. Faced with such overwhelming diagnoses, many patients choose to fight; other patients opt to spend their remaining time with their families,
In 1994, Oregon became the first state to pass a bill legalizing physician aid-in-dying (Richardson, 2011). This law would allow a terminally ill patient with 6 months or less to live to end their life by their own terms (“It’s Not Assisted Suicide”, 2011). This bill leads to the question “Why would a form of purposeful death be legalized?” The bill, itself was passed for many reasons including the fact that the patients want to have control over their life and ultimately their death (“It’s Not Assisted Suicide”, 2011). They also do not want to live in fear of what will eventually happen to them. “Death with Dignity” was passed is because many terminally-ill patients do not want to live in excruciating pain and in fear of what will happen to them, living a prolonged life or taking control over one’s death is a personal choice belonging only to the individual making it.
Choosing to die with the assistance of a physician is a much debated controversial issue in the states. Assisted suicide is where a patient with a terminal disease choose to take their life to relieve their suffering, sometimes with the aid of a physician, and is legal in only five states. Assisted suicide is “legal in Washington, Oregon, California, Vermont and Bernalillo County,New Mexico(Death with).” This option should be available to patients in all states, because terminally ill patients should have the choice to end their suffering if their pain becomes unbearable. Terminal patients should be able to die on their own terms.
Today, most states do not honor the wills of their terminally ill citizens wishing to end their suffering with dignity and compassion. Even with accurate identification of terminal illness prompting legality of some end-of-life directives, most terminal patients must adhere to conventional symptomatic treatments imposing slow physical and mental deterioration without regard to other feasible options. Information garnered from the experience of Oregon’s legalization of physician assisted suicide illuminates the feasibility of this end-of-life option. Physician assisted suicide is beneficial for terminal patients choosing to circumvent imminent mental and physical indignities; therefore this end-of-life option should be legally executable devoid of prosecution.
Earlier in 2015, this issue received nation attention when a 29 year old terminally ill women made the chose to die on her own terms. Having no cure for the disease, a disease that would continue to cause her great pain and discomfort as the disease progressed, she along with the help of her family made the decision that when the time came she would take her life under medical supervision. She argued that it would be unfair and devastating for her family to watch her suffer while medicine prolonged her life. She argued that it was unfair of laws in the state she resided that would require she suffer and endure pain instead of supporting assisted suicide. “Advances
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
Most adults diagnosed with cancer undergo years of treatment in attempts to cure that cancer. However, sometimes these treatments may not work, or the cancer is found too late in a patient to be stopped, and a patient’s cancer can be determined terminal, which means that the cancer can not be cured and will lead to death. If cancer is determined terminal, end-of-life care can be administered patients to control lasting pains, including shortness of breath, nausea, and constipation. However, this treatment does not cure the cancer, and will not prevent death in a terminally ill cancer patient. In some cases, patients decide that receiving end-of-life treatment is not worth it if the treatment does not prevent death. Terminally ill cancer patients may also continue to experience unbearable suffering, despite end-of-life treatments, as it is not always effective. These factors may push some terminally ill cancer patients to request to be actively euthanized. Active euthanasia is the merciful ending of a patient’s life through a single act, such as an injection. Terminally ill cancer patients should have the right to determine if they are actively euthanized. However, only patients who consider their suffering unbearable should have the right to be euthanized.
A terminal disease diagnosis changes the outlook on life, leaving the choice of either living life to an inevitably painful death or ending the suffering by seeking a different medical option. A person who is terminally ill requires rigorous treatments to slow down the process of death, but there is an alternative option. Physician-assisted suicide continues to gain attention and is being legalized across the world. The process in the United States is slower, yet a few states have already authorized it. People undermine this option for unethical reasons; however, it enables a person in agonizing pain to end their life before becoming entirely incompetent. Doctors across the nation seek this practice in order to help the patients as well as their families; even though, they could be risking their license. Despite moral values contradicting this practice, physician-assisted suicide should be legalized across the United States for terminally ill patients lucid enough to make the decision on their own.
On June 9, California becomes the fifth state in the US to legalized Death with Dignity (“Death with Dignity Acts - States That Allow Assisted Death”). Death is always a part of life which we will experience some day. The important thing is not only to prolong the quantity of life but also to live a good quality of life. Death with Dignity gives us the freedom of choice. Death with dignity also reduces the suffering for terminally ill patients and their family. At the end, when we need to face death, we could have the choice to die in peace. Death with Dignity should be legal in every state in the
With major advancement in medical treatments, it is now possible to keep a patient alive, which would not have been possible in former times. This has made end of life issue one of the most controversial issues in healthcare. Medical improvements have set the stage for ethical and legal controversies about not only the patient’s rights but also the family’s rights and the medical profession’s proper role. It is critical that any decision made in such situation is ethical and legal to preserve the rights of the patient and also protect the healthcare institution involved. It is very important when making decisions to discontinue treatments to make sure all other alternatives have been explored.
America’s founding fathers declared that every person had certain inalienable rights they are born with and cannot be separated from. They listed citizens’ rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today's government must decide if a right to life equates to a right to death.
Voluntary euthanasia, or physician-assisted suicide, has been a controversial issue for many years. It usually involves ending a patient’s life early to relieve their illness. Most of the controversy stemmed from personal values like ethics or religion. The euthanasia debate puts a huge emphasis on what doctors should do for their patients and how much a person’s life is worth. Supporters of euthanasia primarily focus on cost and pain alleviation. Opponents of euthanasia tend to focus on morality. Whether euthanasia is legal or not could significantly affect future generations’ attitudes about death. Euthanasia should be legalized nationally because it helps patients that could be in unimaginable pain, offers more options for more people, and it is relatively inexpensive compared to the alternatives.