Euthanasia: The Right to a Peaceful and Merciful Death

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The arrogance of mankind has dampened the hope that individuals can achieve a dignified death.

"Science says: 'We must live,' and seeks the means of prolonging, increasing, facilitating, and amplifying life, of making it tolerable and acceptable, wisdom says: 'We must die' and seeks how to make us die well." - M. De Unamund

sss. Whoosh. Hum. Beep. Slurp. A clock alerts her. Time to flip him over. The tired woman struggles to lift the six-foot, four-inch skeleton for the fifth time that day. Time to suction the massive bedsores filled with pustules. Slurp up the puss again. "Ed, do you want to try to eat today?" No response. The eyes are vacant, and the expression is infantile. The tongue hangs from the mouth, and a string of saliva drools onto the bed sheets. The woman inserts liquid food into the feeding tube once again. Hsss. Whoosh. Hum. Beep. Slurp. "Ed, it's time to see if you've done your duty yet." The woman peers into his diaper and sadly realizes that for the seventeenth day in a row he has not had a bowel movement. Insert the suppository into his rectum again. Hsss. Whoosh. Hum. Beep. Slurp. This woman, once a strong-willed professional and competent mother and grandmother, has lost fifteen years of her life to the task of caring for someone who no longer recognizes her.

Euthanasia is the process of mercifully ending a person's life, allowing that individual to escape terminal illness or an undignified death. The term has taken on many new meanings in this modern age of medical technological advancement. Scientists have devised numerous inventions to help prevent the death of humans faced with medical tragedy. The question is just how long humans should undergo life-saving and life-prolonging treatments befor...

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...ave this world. No matter how much we wish to believe they are immortal, we must realize that our bodies cannot sustain life infinitely.

Works Cited

Branegan, Jay. "I Want to Draw the Line Myself." Time 17 Mar. 1997: 30.

Caplan, Arthur L. "Future Directions in Medical Ethics." Microsoft Encarta 4.0 (2000). Microsoft. CD-ROM.

Goodman, Ellen. "Who Lives? Who Dies? Who Decides?" Rpt. in Current Issues & Enduring Questions. Ed. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1999. 560-566.

Huttman, Barbara. "A Crime of Compassion." Rpt. in Current Issues & Enduring Questions. Ed. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1999. 555-557.

Marker, Rita L. "Kids and Euthanasia." Human Life Review 26 (2000): 30-36.

Schaeffer, Pamela. "Rigali Intervenes: Feeding Tube Must Stay." National Catholic Reporter 37 (2000): 5-7.

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