History of The Death with Dignity Law Essay

History of The Death with Dignity Law Essay

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In 1997, the Death with Dignity law was passed in the state of Oregon, and since then has been a hot debate on whether it is morally and ethically right to allow such a law to remain in effect.
The Death with Dignity Law states that any person over the age of eighteen, who has been diagnosed by a physician with a terminal illness and has no more than six months to live, may request to get a prescription for medicine that will end their life. They must have two other witness’s – one of which cannot be related to the patient – and another doctor has to confirm the diagnosis of the terminal illness. After this, the patient must wait fifteen days and then make the request again. If the physician believes that the patient is not being forced to make this request and believes that the patient is in sound state of mind, the physician can then write the prescription. Once the patient has the medication, they can choose to take it whenever they like, or not take it at all. They must take the medicine on their own, and if it gets to the point where they cannot take the medicine on their own, then the medicine cannot be given to them by any other person.
Many of the people who are written a prescription for the medication end up not ingesting the medicine but rather dying of natural causes. According to the Oregon Public Health Authority annual report released in January 2014, of the 122 patients who had prescriptions written for said medication only 71 actually died from ingesting the medicine. 44 of those were male and the median age of the patients was 71 years old. 94.4 % were White/Caucasian, over half were married and had a college degree (Oregon 5).
Terminally ill patients around the USA have very strong opinions in re...


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...gon’s Death with Dignity Act -
- 2013. Report. 28 Jan. 2014. Web. 20 Mar. 2014. Retrieved from: http://public.health.oregon.gov/ProviderPartnerResources/EvaluationResearch/DeathwithDignityAct/Documents/year16.pdf
7. Ring, Wilson. “Vermont Legalizes Assisted Suicide.” Huffington Post. Huffington Post,
20 May. 2013. Web. 20 Mar. 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/20/vermont-assisted-suicide_n_3309210.html
8. Sherman, Eli. “Panel Debates Death with Dignity ballot initiative.” Wicked Local.
Gatehouse Media, Inc. 25 Oct. 2012. Web. 20 Mar. 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.wickedlocal.com/x1831583290/Panel-debates-Death-with-Dignity-ballot-initiative
9. Vermont Public Radio News. Writ. John Dillon. Vermont Public Radio. Vermont. 12
Feb. 2013. Radio. Retrieved from: http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/97475/senate-advances-end-life-bill/

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