1990- Dr. Jack Kevorkian performs his first assisted suicide, using a homemade machine, to end the life of Alzheimer's patient Janet Adkins. Meanwhile, after protracted legal wrangling, the parents of Nancy Cruzan, who has been in a coma for seven years, are allowed to remove her feeding tube. Friends and co-workers testify in court that she would not have wanted to live. 1991- Hemlock Society founder Derek Humphry first publishes "Final Exit." The controversial suicide "how-to" book later becomes a national best seller.
Euthanasia is wrong in many scenarios and it is a good decision to keep it illegal. First of all, Euthanasia goes against the entire theory of the Hippocratic Oath. The Hippocratic Oath is “an oath stating the obligations and proper conduct of doctors, formerly taken by those beginning medical practice” (Google, n.d.). Within this oath, doctors must say, “I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone. I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect” (Wikipedia, n.d).
Every citizen has the right to autonomy and should be able to decide on their own how they want to live their life. Therefore, the Death with Dignity Act should be legalized in all 50 states. The Death with Dignity Act allows terminally ill patients to receive a prescription of a lethal dose of medication from a licensed physician that ends their life in a very quick process. However, the process that the patient must go through to be considered for the prescription is a very lengthy one. They must be terminally ill with less than six months to live.
PAD is defined as “a practice in which a physician provides a competent, terminally ill patient with a prescription for a lethal dose of medication, upon the patient's request, which the patient intends to use to end his or their own life” (Braddock, and Tonelli). PAD also raises the question, is it a constitutionally guaranteed right for people to have the power and the medicine to take their own life? PAD, if operating under careful supervision, is an alternative to patients who may have to endure physical, mental, and financial struggles. Doctor Peter Goodwin, a physician from Portland, Oregon campaigned for the Death with Dignity Act, which he called his greatest legacy. Goodwin became a terminally ill patient towards the end of his life.
Support for the participation of physicians in the suicides of terminally ill patients is increasing. Much of the controversy surrounding physician-assisted suicide however focuses on the debate over whether the practice should be legalized. A woman suffering from cancer became the first person known to die under the law of physician-assisted suicide in March of 1998. In 1994, voters in Oregon approved a referendum called the Death with Dignity Act, which was enacted in 1997. This law allows patients who have been given six months or less to live that wish to hasten their deaths to obtain lethal doses of medication prescribed by two doctors.
Of those nine states, the New Hampshire House rejected the bill HB 1325 to legalize doctor assisted suicide but many groups joined together to oppose the rejection and won the right to legalize doctor assisted suicide. While New Jersey has legalized doctor assisted suicide with a provision to allow another person to assist with the suicide if the patient is unable to do it themselves. There are two kinds of euthanasia, passive and active. Both forms are opposite approaches but achieve the same thing, death.The only difference is how long it takes for the patient to die. In passive euthanasia, the doctor stop giving the patient anything to continue living.
Stein (2004) reports that before stepping down as the country's Attorney General, John Ashcroft asked the US Supreme Court to overrule the nation's only assisted-suicide law. A previously held lower court ruling held that the federal government did not have the power to punish Oregon doctors who legally prescribed lethal doses of federally approved drugs (Stein, 2004). Oregon's Death With Dignity Act allows patients who have been diagnosed with less than six months to live to request such a lethal dose if their diagnosis has been confirmed by two do... ... middle of paper ... ...out, this objection can be overcome through the institution of strict guidelines, such as were instituted in Oregon in accordance with their physician-assisted euthanasia law. Works Cited Feinberg, B. "The Court Upholds a State Law Prohibiting Physician Assisted Suicide."
She still had a life expectancy of at least ten years with the illness, but she wished to die. She wanted to die before the disease robbed her of her competence (Larson 229). Kevorkian later killed Adkins and faced the consequences boldly (Hendin, ³Suicide in America² 247). The background, process, and effects of Dr. Kevorkian¹s questionable first patient, Janet Adkins, have a very detailed story in them. 	Janet Adkins led a very productive life up to and even after she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer¹s, but she couldn¹t handle losing control of her brain (Filene 188).
Granted, euthanasia and physician suicide assisted seem to threaten the traditional medical values. All physicians take the Hippocratic Oath upon receiving their degree. This oath states those physicians are to prolong life and minimize suffering. In an article written by John Glasson he argues: Physician assisted suicide presents one of the greatest contemporary challenges to the medical profession’s ethical responsibilities. Proposed as a means toward more humane care of the dying, assisted suicide threatens the very core of the medical profession’s ethical integrity (Glasson 91).