Physician-assisted suicide is the practice in which a doctor prescribes a terminally ill patient with a lethal medication as a form of active, voluntary euthanasia. These patients, rather than suffer slowly and painfully, often request this procedure as a means of experiencing a more “dignified” death. The debate surrounding this issue is a heated one, especially among the general public whose attitudes are deeply influenced by the level of patient pain and discomfort (Frileux et al. 334). At the heart of the issue is the conflict between a patient’s right to choose between life and death and, as expressed by one social scientist, “society’s obligation to protect its most vulnerable members from hastened and not completely voluntary death” (Ardelt 424).
Euthanasia The right to die with dignity, euthanasia and physician assisted suicide is a very sensitive issue debated in this country today. Euthanasia is the act of painlessly ending the life of a person for the reason of mercy. It is sometimes referred to as mercy killing. Americans are hearing more and more horror stories of the elderly tragically killing his or her spouse in order to avoid painful and horrible deaths. It is sad and amazing the extreme measure one had to go through to accomplish his or her death.
Patients with these conditions, called terminal diseases, can only be prepared to die. Sometimes the suffering until death comes in a few days, but sometimes it takes years. For diminishing patient’s suffering, physicians came with euthanasia and continuous sedation. The legalization of these practices has been in conflict for several years all over the world. If these options are intended to help the patient, what it’s the problem for making them legal?
It is also worth comparing this with a study done in Holland, where euthanasia has been decriminalized since 1986, which revealed that only 2-3% of patients with terminal illness request euthanasia (Yuill, 2000). Rather those fighting hard for the legalization of PAS are relatives and friends of those who are suffering. This shows that as usual, humans will do anything to get to their comfort zone, and more so, the younger generation. The past generations believed they could face just about any challenge that came their way. Why is it then that people do not want to go an extra mile to fight for their dear lives?
(Corr 489) There are different types of Euthanasia present today: active or physician assisted suicide, passive voluntary euthanasia and involuntary euthanasia. "Passive voluntary euthanasia," is where a conscious, mentally competent person, usually with a severe physical ailment, loses the will to live. Many have said that keeping them alive is just prolonging their death, which in turn can be considered a form of cruel and unusual punishment. They may ask that life support equipment be disconnected so that they can die quickly, painlessly, and with dignity. The second type, "active voluntary euthanasia," is done when terminally ill patients' are suffering and want natural death to occur sooner and when a patient is in persistent vegetative state (PVS) and the family chooses to let nature take it course.
Every day thousands of people are turning to a controversial practice for solving their health problems. This unique “practice that ends the individuals life that is suffering from a terminal illness, disease, or an incurable condition by the means of lethal injection” (Emanuel) thus ceasing the persons life is called Euthanasia. Euthanasia is also referred to as a mercy killing, which is, “the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, especially a painful, disease or condition”(Goel). The practice of Euthanasia has a long history that dates back centuries ago. However, it was not until 1906 when the first bill to legalize Euthanasia popped up on American soil.
The pain for one is not the pain for all. Because of this, she said, “I, Mieneke Weide- Boelkes, am terminally ill. As soon as this medication loses its efficacy I request euthanasia.” Euthanasia, also known as mercy killing or physician-assisted suicide, according to the medical dictionary, means “to take a deliberate action with the express intention of ending a life to relieve intractable (persistent, unstoppable) suffering.” (Medilexicon). There are two types of euthanasia and two different methods to do it within those types. The first one is voluntary euthanasia, which is made under the patients consent and requires competence of it. The second one, is involuntary euthanasia which is made by a relative of the patient because the patient is incapable of doing it itself.