Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide - Who Wants It?

:: 5 Works Cited
Length: 1274 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓
Euthanasia - Who Wants It?

 
    In Los Angeles, former respiratory therapist Efren Saldivar was charged with six counts of murder in January for allegedly giving lethal injections to patients at Glendale Adventist Medical Center in 1996 and 1997. Saldivar has reportedly called himself an "angel of death" and confessed in 1998 to hastening "anywhere from 100 to 200" deaths, but later retracted the confession. He is also the plaintiff in several civil suits for wrongful death, though some of these have been dismissed for lack of evidence. A hearing in his criminal trial is scheduled for the end of March [Los Angeles Times, 3/10/01, 1/13/01, 1/11/01].

 

In Springfield, Massachusetts, jury deliberations began February 23 in what has been called one of the most sensational murder cases in western Massachusetts history. Kristen H. Gilbert, a 33-year-old nurse, is accused of killing four patients at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Northampton and trying to kill three others in 1995 and 1996, using unauthorized injections of adrenaline [Springfield Union-News, 2/25].

 

Cases of involuntary euthanasia keep making headlines, but who wants it?

 

Certainly not the elderly and terminally ill. Numerous studies have established that the Americans most directly affected by the issue of physician-assisted suicide -- those who are frail, elderly and suffering from terminal illness -- are also more opposed to legalizing the practice than others are:

 

* A poll conducted for the Washington Post on March 22-26, 1996, found 50% support for legalizing physician-assisted suicide (Washington A18) Voters aged 35-44 supported legalization, 57% to 33%. But these figures reversed for voters aged 65 and older, who opposed legalization 54% to 38%. Majority opposition was also found among those with incomes under $15,000 (54%), and black Americans (70%).

 

* An August 1993 Roper poll funded by the Hemlock Society and other euthanasia supporters indicated that voters aged 18-29 supported "physician-aided suicide" 47% to 35%; voters aged 60 and older opposed it 45% to 35%. Hemlock's newsletter commented that "the younger the person, the more likely he or she is to favor this legislation." The newsletter added that "this is somewhat at odds with how Hemlock views its membership," since it sees itself as defending the interests of elderly citizens. (Humphry; Poll 9) A study of cancer patients found that terminally ill patients experiencing significant pain are more opposed to physician-assisted suicide than other terminally ill patients or the general public.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide - Who Wants It?." 123HelpMe.com. 13 Dec 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=10508>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Essay - Euthanasia Evaluation How much do you trust your physician. Do you trust them enough to put the faith of your life in their hands. The focus of this evaluation is on euthanasia, or also known as physician assisted suicide. Physician assisted suicide is the practice of putting the end to a terminally ill person who requested this option. Should euthanasia be legalized. The practice of euthanasia is becoming more and more widely accepted around the world today and yet, it continues to be a topic of huge controversy....   [tags: Physician Assisted Suicide, Terminally Ill]
:: 1 Works Cited
957 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia - It Is Not Murder, It Is Mercy Essay - Euthanasia: It Is Not Murder, It Is Mercy Thesis Statement: Thousands of people in the United States alone die every year from terminal illness such as cancer, ALS and AIDS. Advanced Medical technology is responsible for keeping many of them alive - many against their wishes. In the United States, euthanasia (assisted suicide) is illegal in all but one state. Many patients are forced to suffer needlessly when there is another alternative. According to a new Time/CNN poll 7 out of 10 American's say that they want to die at home; instead three-fourths die in medical institutions" (Cloud 59)....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]
:: 5 Works Cited
1668 words
(4.8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Euthanasia Essay: Assisted Suicide is Wrong - Assisted Suicide is Wrong        A Saskatchewan farmer, Robert Latimer, was sentenced to life in prison last year for the 1993 second-degree murder of his severely disabled daughter, Tracy. He asphyxiated her with exhaust from his pick-up (Heinrich).   Assisted Suicide is somewhat related to Euthanasia. The word Euthanasia comes from the Greek language: eu meaning "good" and thanatos meaning "death". The meaning of the word has evolved from "good death" . It now refers to the act of ending a person's life, at their request....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]
:: 7 Works Cited
1128 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about It's Time to Regulate and Reform Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide - It's Time to Regulate and Reform Euthanasia One of the landmark cases that involve euthanasia is that of Karen Ann Quinlan. Quinlan, a twenty-one year old New Jersey resident, overdosed on pills and alcohol in 1975. She was rushed to the hospital where her physical condition gradually deteriorated to a vegetative state. The doctors determined she had no chance of recovery. Before the coma Karen said that if anything ever happened that would leave her physically and mentally incompetent, without any chance of recovery, she would not want to be kept alive by "extraordinary medical procedures," notes Derek Humphry....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide] 1288 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Euthanasia Essay - The Truth About Assisted Suicide - The Truth About Assisted Suicide        This essay recognizes that it is hard to tell the truth about assisted suicide. Or rather, it's hard to get people to listen. Folks generally are about as eager to delve into the issue of assisted suicide as they are to work out the details of their own funeral. It's a delicate and unnerving subject, involving the ultimate issues of life: the reality of human mortality; fears about illness, disability, and old age; and the loss of loved ones to the dark, dank grave....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]
:: 1 Works Cited
2199 words
(6.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Euthanasia Essay - The Controversial Issue of Doctor-Assisted Suicide - The Controversial Issue of Doctor-Assisted Suicide      Imagine youu have just found out you are going to die within three months. Recently the questions have been changed form, "What am I going to do with the rest of my life?" to "When should I kill myself"?  With painful and crippling diseases such as AIDS and cancer, and Alzheimers along with doctors such as Dr. Kavorkian, some people are choosing death over life.  Doctor assisted suicide has been a very controversial subject in the past few years.  Some states such as Oregon have passed laws which allow doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to patients who have less then six months to live.(Henin 1)  Other state have tak...   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]
:: 3 Works Cited
804 words
(2.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Physician Assisted Suicide Essays - Physician assisted suicide Physician assisted suicide, a suicide made possible by a physician providing a patient with the means to kill themselves, and euthanasia, the kindness of taking individual life by the physician, is an extremely debatable topic. Nonetheless, I am certain that there are some basic agreements that argue both for and against Physician assisted suicide and euthanasia, and when they are evaluated against each other there is a much solider case for prohibiting the Physician assisted suicide than for legalizing them....   [tags: Terminal Illnesses, Suicide, Ethical]
:: 2 Works Cited
997 words
(2.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Euthanasia and Doctor-Assisted Suicide - The Will to Live - Euthanasia and the Will to Live   The denial of food and fluids to Terri Schindler-Schiavo, the 36 year old Florida woman in a vegetative state since a heart attack, has caused Americans to ponder the fact that any one of them could be in this woman's place for a variety of reasons, like an auto accident, fall, mishap, etc. And most Americans don't want to be treated by their family as Terri is being treated by her husband - being denied food and fluids in order to hasten death.   It is appropriate to be appalled, but no one should be shocked....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide] 596 words
(1.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay about I Support Physician-Assisted Suicide - I Support Assisted Suicide In thousands of homes across the nation victims of terminal illnesses sit in pain due to their sicknesses. Should these people have to go through all of that pain and suffering just for the end result of death. Should these people have the right to assisted death, to rid themselves of unbearable pain. This topic has been one of the great controversies over the last several years. Not too long ago if someone was found assisting in suicide, it was seen as a felony crime....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide] 1293 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Free Essay on Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia - To Live or not To Live - To Live or not To Live: The Choice Is Yours "What do we mean when we say 'life'. Do we mean the continued functioning of the body. Of the brain. Or do we mean the continued experience of the human being?" (Pridonoff, pg. 73). Many doctors are now performing what is known as physician-assisted suicide, which is when a doctor sets up a machine, but the patient actually kills him or herself. Whereas, euthanasia is the act of the doctor killing the patient. There are two sides to this issue. One side is whether or not a person should be allowed to end his or her own life....   [tags: Free Euthanasia Essay] 1112 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches




The patients who did tend to favor assisted suicide were those who had been diagnosed with clinical depression. The researchers commented: "Patients with pain do not seem to view euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide as the appropriate response to poor pain management. Indeed, oncology patients in pain may be suspicious that if euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide are legalized, the medical care system may not focus sufficient resources on provision of pain relief and palliative care" (Emanuel 1809)

 

* Researchers at Duke University recently surveyed hundreds of frail elderly patients receiving outpatient treatment and their families. The elderly patients themselves strongly opposed physician-assisted suicide: only 34% favored legalization, with support even lower among female and black patients. But 56% of their younger relatives favored it, and they were usually wrong in predicting the elderly patients' views. (Koenig)

 

And how about legalized euthanasia in Oregon? The 2001 report from the Oregon Health Division on legally permitted physician-assisted suicides in 2000 provides no information on abuses of the state's guidelines, and is not designed to do so. The 27 assisted suicides reported for this third year of Oregon's "experiment" in lethal medicine are simply those cases which the physicians themselves chose to report. The total number of actual cases, not to mention the number of times various "safeguards" were ignored, remains concealed in the name of physician-patient confidentiality.

 

However, even the data released by physicians who assist suicides are disturbing. Twenty-seven Oregonians died last year from lethal overdoses of controlled substances deliberately prescribed by physicians, who invoked prescribing privileges granted to them by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. The most significant changes compared to the previous year are as follows:

 

* A startling 63% of these patients (compared to 26% in 1999) cited fear of being a "burden on family, friends or caregivers" as a reason for their suicide. Some patients and families are learning all too well the deeper message of Oregon's law: terminally ill patients have received this special "right" to state-approved suicide not because they are special in any positive way, but because they are seen as special burdens upon the rest of us.

 

* 30% cited concern about "inadequate pain control" as a reason for their death (compared to 26% the year before), despite claims by the Oregon law's defenders that legalizing assisted suicide would improve pain control and eliminate such concerns.

 

* Also rising is the percentage of victims who were married (67%, up from 44%) and who were female (56%, up from 41%). It seems some older married women in Oregon are receiving the message that they are a "burden" on their husbands, and then acquiescing in assisted suicide.

 

* Despite a medical consensus that the vast majority of suicidal wishes among the sick and elderly are due to treatable depression, in only 19% of these cases (compared to 37% the previous year) did the doctor bother to refer the patient for a psychological evaluation.

 

The Supreme Court has been involved only to a limited extent with assisted suicide. The Court upheld two state laws absolutely prohibiting assisted suicide, stating that Washington state's law does not violate constitutional guarantees of "liberty" (Washington v. Glucksberg) and that New York's similar law does not violate constitutional guarantees of equal protection (Vacco v. Quill). Oregon's law selectively permitting assisted suicide for certain patients had been found by one federal district court to violate equal protection; that ruling was not before the Supreme Court (Lee). As Chief Justice Rehnquist said in his majority opinion in Glucksberg: "Lee, of course, is not before us... and we offer no opinion as to the validity of the Lee courts' reasoning. In Vacco v. Quill..., however, decided today, we hold that New York's assisted-suicide ban does not violate the Equal Protection clause" (Washington). To this day no appellate court in the country has ruled on the constitutionality of a law like Oregon's.

The Court also said nothing about assigning this issue to state as opposed to federal jurisdiction. In reviewing the Nation's longstanding tradition against assisted suicide, it cited federal enactments such as the Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act of 1997 alongside state laws. Illustrating the government's interest in protecting terminally ill patients, the Court favorably cited an earlier decision upholding the federal Food and Drug Administration's authority "to protect the terminally ill, no less than other patients," from life-endangering drugs (Ibid. 2272).

What the Court did rule is that laws prohibiting assisted suicide (whether state or federal) are constitutionally valid and serve several important and legitimate interests.

 

WORKS CITED

 

Emanuel, Dr. Ezekiel et al.. "Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: attitudes and experiences of oncology patients, oncologists, and the public." 347 The Lancet 1805 (June 29, 1996):1809

 

Humphry, Derek. "What's in a word?" Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization 1993, Table 1-A.

 

Koenig, Dr. Harold et al.. "Attitudes of Elderly Patients and their Families Toward Physician-Assisted Suicide." 156 Archives of Internal Medicine 2240 (Oct. 28, 1996)

 

Lee v. Oregon, 891 F.Supp. 1429 (D. Or. 1995), vacated on other grounds, 107 F.3d 1382 (9th Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 118 S. Ct. 328 (1997).

 

"Poll Shows More Would Support Law Using Gentler Language," TimeLines (Jan.-Feb. 1994):9

 

Washington v. Glucksberg, 117 S. Ct. 2258, 2262 n. 7 (1997.

-- -- --. 117 S. Ct. at 2272, quoting United States v. Rutherford, 442 U.S. 544, 558. 1979.

 

Washington Post, April 4, 1996.



Return to 123HelpMe.com