Dying With Dignity

1105 Words3 Pages
Dying With Dignity

I am here today to explain the different legal aspects euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. There are two sides to this controversy, and their basic ideas are of the following: terminally ill patients should be allowed to end their lives with dignity.

Physician-assisted suicide is a compassionate solution to human suffering, and should not be criminalized, and that doctors should be in the business of saving lives, not ending them. Allowing physicians to aid in suicides makes them accomplices in an immoral and unethical act.

Every individual has dominion over their body and should be allowed to decide when to end their life. To achieve that end, with dignity and without pain, doctors should be allowed to aid terminal patients by providing necessary doses of drugs (under the Oregon law, doctors are not allowed to administer the drugs; they are only allowed to prescribe a lethal dose.) The only other places in the world that currently have legalized euthanasia are Columbia, Japan and the Netherlands.

Many pro-life activists believe that the choice between life and death belongs to God, not to an individual. Our society today does not condone suicide under any circumstances and there is no moral difference in this case. In addition, it is felt that many terminally ill patients suffering extreme pain may not be competent to make a rational decision about whether they want to live or die. The role of doctors in this complex situation is to provide medical treatment when possible, and appropriate pain relief when treatment options have been exhausted. By assisting patients in suicide, doctors play a role that is contrary to the mission of their profession.

An excelled example of physician-assisted suicide is the famous practice of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. In March 1999, he was convicted of second-degree murder and the delivery of a controlled substance for assisting in the death of a terminally ill patient. For his participation in the man's death, which was videotaped and shown on the television show "60 Minutes," Dr. Kevorkian was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison. However, despite Dr. Kevorkian’s prison sentence, last October, the U.S. House of Representatives passed "The Pain Relief Promotion Act," which encouraged doctors to take all possible action to relieve the pain of terminally ill patients, short of prescribing lethal doses of medication, however, currently Oregon is the only state that has legalized physician-assisted suicide.
Open Document