Legalization of Physician Assisted Suicide

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Euthanasia is also known as assisted suicide. There are two types of euthanasia, involuntary and voluntary euthanasia. People feel that performing euthanasia is horrible and is inhumane. Other people see it as taking pain that the person has away and stop them from struggling. Assisted suicide should be allowed under certain circumstances such as having cancer that results in death.

In the 1990’s there was a battle of assisted suicide, or euthanasia. Dr. Jack Kevorkian was the main contributor to the uprise in the performance of euthanasia. He was also nicknamed “Doctor Death” for all his assisted suicide procedures. He has helped dozens and dozens of people end their suffering by performing euthanasia on them. People then and now are still debating if it is humane to die a peaceful death instead of dying from a painful terminal illness.

There are two different types of assisted suicide. There is physician assisted suicide and there is euthanasia. Physician assisted suicide is where a physician prescribes medications to furthermore a suicide (Morrow).

This is explaining that a doctor sees and understand a person is struggling and is suffering in pain and needs to be helped. They prescribe medications that can possibly take some pain away and then it will lead to the euthanasia. Euthanasia is an injection used to end a person’s life (Morrow).

Euthanasia has voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. Voluntary is written and verbal consent of the procedure. Involuntary euthanasia is where the person doesn’t give the doctor consent to put the euthanasia injection into them to end their life. Some situations like this are if a person is in a coma and has no sign of improvement.

The doctors will still get consent from the health care proxy in order to inject the euthanasia. Therefore, assisted suicide has a few different ways of being performed such as physician assisted suicide and voluntary and involuntary euthanasia.

A person who is guaranteed death within the next six month time frame should be able to have the option of being able to end their life with the help of a certified doctor. According to the article “Why Do People Seek Physician-Assisted Suicide?”, “Chronic and life-limiting illness can also make a person feel like they have lost all control of their lives.” (Morrow).

This means that people who have illnesses such as terminal cancer feel like they cannot control their life and they feel like their life is being taken from them. They can then do everything they want to do before their life ends and then they know for sure when their life is going to end instead of them waiting and waiting for the day to come.

Also, “Closely following are the loss of one’s dignity and the loss of being able to participate in enjoyable activities. It goes without saying that physical suffering greatly diminishes the quality of life as well.” (Morrow). This is explaining that finding out about a terminal illness can make that person feel like they can no longer live their life and they’re just sitting waiting for their life to end.

They can also find themselves no longer enjoying the activities they have previously loved doing in their free time. They may always feel tired and have no motivation due to the fact of knowing there are no more second chances at living. Therefore, having that option of knowing when your life is going to end gives they person a sense of relief and they know how much time they have left to fulfill the goals that they had.

The people who usually seek physician assisted suicide or the euthanasia are the elderly or people who have a terminal illness. They are in constant pain and cannot see or have anymore motivation to live in pain and suffer until death. “For those who are suffering in their final days of life, death can be a welcome event. They may feel that it will permanently relieve their suffering and alleviate the burden on their loved ones.” (Morrow).

This means that the elderly or a person suffering a terminal illness can feel like they are just a bother to their family and friends who have to take care of them and they don’t want to put those people in a place and have them suffer with that person. The elderly and the ill people feel relief and an end of suffering when offered the physician assisted suicide.

They also may be able to feel a gain in control over their lives.
Having the option of assisted suicide and talking about options on better life can make one feel relieved and less anxious. It can make the person who is in pain and sick feel like they can control how their life can go. “Sponsors of the legislation are happy that the people of New Jersey are going to be given more options with their end-of-life care.” (CNN News).

This is explaining that the legislation is happy that assisted suicide is becoming a second option for the people with terminal illnesses in New Jersey. Not only does the option of assisted suicide make the patient relieved to have options to choose from for their life, but even the government is happy that people can have a say in how they want to end their life when they only have a short amount of time left.

In order for the assisted suicide to happen, there is a process that needs to be taken. According to the article written by the CNN News, “the physician must be a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) licensed to practice medicine by the Board of Medical Examiners for the State of Oregon.

The physician must also be willing to participate in the Act.” (CNN News). This is stating that you would need a licence doctor of M.D or a D.O to perform the act or prescribe the medications. Most states that have euthanasia or assisted suicide legalized require two or more acceptances by licenced doctors for the assisted suicide to take place.

“The bill requires a second opinion on the diagnosis, and either a psychiatrist or psychologist must determine that the patient has the mental capacity to make the decision.” (CNN News). This is explaining that not only do people who want the bill passed want two doctors to accept the assisted suicide or the euthanasia, but they also want a acceptance from a psychologist to make sure the patient has the correct mentality and understanding of the medications or the euthanasia and how its going to affect them.

Where assisted suicide is legal, there are many restrictions and processes one has to take to make sure that it’s what they want to make sure that they’re not making the wrong decision for themselves.

The Right to Die Act is the act that states can pass that allows physician assisted suicide to take place. The Right to Die Act is also protected by the constitution under the 9th and 14th amendment. “fundamental human right to control one’s own body and to determine the manner and timing of one’s own death does not create a ‘clear and direct danger of harm to others.’” (Hardaway).

This explains that when a patient wants to determine their own death that is isn’t a bother to others and is a person’s own right which is the 9th amendment. “This part also analyzes relevant Supreme Court rulings concerning the liberty interest protected in the Fourteenth Amendment and distinguishes them from the assisted suicide cases.” (Shih). Therefore, the 14th amendment protects the patients and the doctors who have participated in the assisted suicide.

Many people have their own stories about loved ones that ended their lives with assisted suicide and the people who were not allowed the medications due to it being illegal. For example, Tracy Snelling was diagnosed with stomach cancer near Christmas in 2012. There was a 20% rate that she would survive the surgery and chemotherapy.

It worked for a while but then it stopped and the cancer spread at a high rate. She has denied the second treatment because she wanted to look her best for her wedding that was that upcoming September. The cancer was already taking its toll on her body though. She wanted to make the best out of her time and then she wanted to choose when she died.

Unfortunately, she was denied the right to have the medications and had to suffer a long painful death. All her loved ones watched the death slowly yet rapidly take on her body and had to watch her suffer. If assisted suicide was an option for people with terminal cancer and not long to live, they would no longer suffer in pain and have their life end on an unhappy note.

Assisted suicide and euthanasia in currently not legalized in New York State. According to the Associated Press, “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he would sign legislation allowing people with a terminal illness to seek life-ending medication from a physician.” (Associated Press). Governor Cuomo supports the legalization of assisted suicide for patients with terminal illnesses such as cancer.

Also, “Legislation that would require two doctors to sign off on the use of life-ending medication has been introduced for years in Albany but hasn’t received a vote.” (Associated Press). If Cuomo does continue to develop and pass the Right to Die Act, he would require two doctors to sign off for the medications like the other states that have assisted suicide legalized. Assisted Suicide is being look at like another option for patients with illnesses and is slowly uprising.

As assisted suicide is slowly uprising in the United States, there are other countries who also think that physician assisted suicide is an excellent decision for people in pain. For example, Switzerland has physician assisted suicide legalized. “Assisting suicide is legal in Switzerland if it is offered without selfish motive to a person with decision-making capacity.” (Hurst).

Like many states in the United States, Switzerland required the patient to have the right state of mind and have an understanding of what the decision of physician assisted suicide is and does. Also, “That most assisted suicide found in our sample took place at home is consistent with many hospitals reluctance to allow suicide assistance, but also with data suggesting that the key reasons for patients to choose their homes include a concern to avoid loss of control.” (Hurst).

She explains here that when they did their experiment with physician assisted suicide, they found that most of them died in their home to feel secure and safe. Switzerland is just one of many countries that agree and have physician assisted suicide legalized.

The legalization of physician assisted suicide has been a hard decision to make. Not only for multiple states in the United States, but in other countries such as Germany. “Dignitas urged that terminally-ill patients have a ‘freedom of choice’ in their last matters, as did 80 percent of Germans surveyed in a recent ISO Public Poll on physician-assisted suicide.” (German Court).

Like in the United States, Germany agrees that the patients have their personal rights and they can decide what they want to do in their situations. Also, “Several seriously ill people have also complained that they want to take their own lives with the help of an assisted suicide association.” (German Court).

This means that before the legalization, patients were suffering and this could’ve lead to them taking their own life by themselves. But, due to the legalization in Germany, many patients have been helped and relieved of pain.

Although, many people see assisted suicide as inhumane. These people may not understand that there are two different types of assisted suicides, euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. They may also not know the many processes and how many doctors they see to take action for physician assisted suicide.

People also need to understand that these people are struggling and are in a lot of pain. Patients can feel unmotivated and feel as if they have no control over anything anymore. Their decision to receive the medications is their decision and they have the right to do so according to the 9th amendment and the 14th amendment.

Cite this paper

Legalization of Physician Assisted Suicide. (2020, Sep 24). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/legalization-of-physician-assisted-suicide/

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