It's Time to Regulate and Reform Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

It's Time to Regulate and Reform Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Length: 1288 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

It's Time to Regulate and Reform Euthanasia


       One of the landmark cases that involve euthanasia is that of Karen

Ann Quinlan.  Quinlan, a twenty-one year old New Jersey resident, overdosed

on pills and alcohol in 1975.  She was rushed to the hospital where her

physical condition gradually deteriorated to a vegetative state.  The

doctors determined she had no chance of recovery.  Before the coma Karen

said that if anything ever happened that would leave her physically and

mentally incompetent, without any chance of recovery, she would not want to

be kept alive by "extraordinary  medical procedures," notes Derek Humphry.

Karen's parents sought religious counsel from their priest.  They were told

that the Catholic religion allows the removal of extraordinary care if the

patient was in a terminal condition. Karen's parents requested she be

removed from the respirator.  The hospital denied their request.  The

Quinlans then directed their request to the court.  The superior court

denied their request.  They took their request to the New Jersey Supreme

court where the decision was reversed.   Karen was removed from the

respirator.  To everyone's surprise, Karen began breathing on her own and

lived another ten years (Humphry 107).


     The Quinlan case brought to the forefront patients' desire to die a

proud, quiet death.  It also brought to the forefront the complications

caused by the advancement of medical technology ("Euthanasia"27).

Euthanasia has been practiced in Eastern and Western culture since the

beginning of civilization.  The capability of medical technology to extend

life (as demonstrated by the Quinlan case) has made the issue of euthanasia

more complicated.  Individuals should be allowed to "die with dignity" in

the event of terminal illness if he or she wants it. Terminating a

patient's life is much more merciful than allowing him or her to die a slow

painful death from illness.  Those who oppose legalizing euthanasia and

assisted suicide say that this could lead to involuntary killing of the

aged and infirm.  I agree that there may be danger of abuse and that the

vulnerable need to be protected; therefore, I support passing legislation

that monitors and regulates physician assisted suicide. The demand for

legislation in support of legalized euthanasia for the terminally ill has

been an issue since the beginning of the century.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"It's Time to Regulate and Reform Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide." 23 Aug 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Essay

- Euthanasia Evaluation How much do you trust your physician. Do you trust them enough to put the faith of your life in their hands. The focus of this evaluation is on euthanasia, or also known as physician assisted suicide. Physician assisted suicide is the practice of putting the end to a terminally ill person who requested this option. Should euthanasia be legalized. The practice of euthanasia is becoming more and more widely accepted around the world today and yet, it continues to be a topic of huge controversy....   [tags: Physician Assisted Suicide, Terminally Ill]

Research Papers
957 words (2.7 pages)

The Right to Assisted Suicide Essay

- You’re visiting the hospice for the twenty-third day in a row; the soft squeaking of the linoleum and the gentle buzz of the fluorescents in the waiting room greet you as you walk in. You’re visiting your Grandmother, whose lung cancer has entered metastasis, and has been slowly spreading throughout her body; she has already lost movement in her arms. She is a hollow shell of the woman she once was; her once bright eyes have been fading steadily every day, and her bubbly demeanor has become crushed and gravelly, and every day before you leave, she will only say, “Kill me.” What would you do in this situation....   [tags: Assisted Suicide]

Research Papers
927 words (2.6 pages)

Assisted Suicide And The Medical Field Essay

- Physician -assisted suicide has been a conflict in the medical field since pre- Christian eras, and is an issue that has resurfaced in the twentieth century. People today are not aware of what the term physician assisted suicide means, and are opposed to listening to advocates’ perspectives. Individuals need to understand that problems do not go away by not choosing to face them. This paper’s perspective of assisted suicide is that it is an option to respect the dignity of patients, and only those with deathly illness are justified for this method....   [tags: Death, Suicide, Euthanasia, Assisted suicide]

Research Papers
1130 words (3.2 pages)

Euthanasia And Assisted Suicide And Euthanasia Essay

- Introduction: There are two forms in which a doctor can assist a patient in committing suicide. One, Doctor-assisted suicide and two, euthanasia. Physician-assisted suicide occurs when a physician facilitates a patient’s death by providing the necessary means and/or information to enable the patient to perform the life-ending act (American Medical Association, “Physician- Assisted Suicide”). This means the physician can provide resources such as sleeping pills and information about lethal doses, aware of the patient’s intent to commit suicide....   [tags: Death, Suicide, Assisted suicide, Suffering]

Research Papers
861 words (2.5 pages)

Physician Assisted Suicide And Euthanasia Essay

- Over the last couple of centuries, new methods to deal with physical pain have risen, such as intensive meditation, complex forms of medication, and most controversially, assisted suicide. It’s specifically Physician-assisted suicide that has called for diverse opinions from all types of crowds, from religious to scientific points of view. Physician-assisted suicide, as defined in “Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia”, is the practice of a physician providing “the means, guidance, and information [to] enable a patient to end his or her own life, but does not directly administer the drugs themselves” (1)....   [tags: Suffering, Suicide, Death, Assisted suicide]

Research Papers
1031 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Doctor-Assisted Suicide is Rare

- A new survey published in the April 23 New England Journal of Medicine finds that few doctors have ever assisted a patient's suicide -- but that over a third would do so if the practice were legalized. "This is really not happening very often," says survey co-author Dr. Diane Meier of New York's Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "That's the most important finding. It's a rare event" [Associated Press, 4/23/98]. The survey was based on a questionnaire sent in 1996 to 3,102 physicians under the age of 65; 1,902 doctors responded anonymously....   [tags: Euthanasia, Physician Assisted Suicide]

Free Essays
625 words (1.8 pages)

Federal Assisted Suicide Law Essay

- A debate has begun on the application of federal drug laws to assisted suicide -- a debate which may result in a new federal law to counter Oregon's experiment in doctor-assisted death. Last November the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) concluded that assisting a suicide is not a "legitimate medical purpose" for the use of federally regulated drugs, and that using such drugs to assist a suicide could cost a physician the federal DEA registration authorizing him or her to prescribe controlled substances....   [tags: Euthanasia, Physician Assisted Suicide]

Free Essays
610 words (1.7 pages)

Doctor-Assisted Suicide Should be Legalized Essay examples

- “Dogs do not have many advantages over people, but one of them is extremely important: euthanasia is not forbidden by law in their case; animals have the right to a merciful death.” ― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being One of the most controversial topics that is being debated today, both morally and legally, is assisted suicide, sometimes known as active euthanasia. Assisted suicide is the act of directly intervening in order to end the life of a terminally ill patient (i.e. administering a large amount of sleeping pills)....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]

Research Papers
3190 words (9.1 pages)

Assisted Suicide Essay

- Writing the fifth assignment for the English class was by far the hardest essay I have had to write. Constantly was I running into problems, and this ended up taking me much longer than I had originally planned. Writing about the opposing side of this topic was very hard, as I usually caught myself writing things that I couldn’t make work in my paper. The writing was very tough to keep on track because it isn’t actually how I feel. This essay helped me to better understand the argument that is presented from both sides....   [tags: Assisted Suicide Death Essays]

Research Papers
839 words (2.4 pages)

Assisted Suicide Essay

- Assisted Suicide I examine the ways in which our cultural expectations with respect to death may be transformed by the legalization of assisted suicide. I suggest the inadequacy of the philosophical framework currently taken as the basis for discussing the advantages as well as the dangers of legalizing assisted suicide. I do not believe that individual autonomy is any sort of possibility for dying patients, regardless of the social policies that surround death in a society, insofar as our individual agency in this situation is necessarily intertwined with that of various relevant others....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]

Research Papers
4614 words (13.2 pages)

Related Searches

  According to Derek

Humphry in Ohio in 1906, a Bill proposing to legalize euthanasia was

presented to the Ohio legislature. The bill was defeated by nearly 80% of

those voting. Opponents said the bill would have presented away for doctors

to cover up their mistakes.  Opponents also say that the bill would have

provided a means for families to get rid of relatives who were a nuisance

and give fortune seekers a shortcut to inheritance.  Although the bill was

defeated, the idea it generated still lives on (Humphry 12).


     Opponents of euthanasia often refer to the atrocities and attitudes in

Nazi Germany for reasons not to support euthanasia. An article in the

Progressive describes the essay "Permitting the Destruction of Unworthy

Life" written in Germany in 1920, by Alfred Hoche.  In the essay he

proposes getting rid of the "'dead weight existence of incurables in

Germany.'"  By "'incurable'" he meant those who were mentally and

emotionally disabled (Who 34). When the Nazis took power in Germany in 1933,

as explained in "Euthanasia and the Third Reich" an article in HISTORY

TODAY, they took Alfred Hoche's concept of euthanasia and used it to

rationalize sterilization of those with "hereditary" illnesses. They also

used the "euthanasia programme" to kill mentally and physically handicapped

children and adults.  Eventually they used this policy as justification for

killing Jews, homosexuals, and others (Burleigh 11). Many believe that this

kind of murder can happen again if euthanasia is legalized.  However, the

senseless, atrocious killings in Germany cannot be compared to carefully

regulated policies that will allow euthanasia in selective cases. Such an

extreme comparison should not prevent a merciful euthanasia policy for the

terminally ill in unbearable pain who request it. As people began

forgetting World War II and the atrocities of Nazi Germany, interest in

"assisted suicide" and euthanasia was restored. To understand the

controversy of euthanasia and assisted suicide, one must understand the

difference between the two terms. Euthanasia involves the administering of

the life taking measure; whereas, assisted suicide provides the means or

instructions to the patient who intends to kill him or herself. Physicians

who are used to saving lives are being asked to end patients lives.  The

request for "death with dignity" is very popular.


     In a 1991 Gallop Poll, nearly 60 percent of those interviewed said

that a person has the "moral right" to end his or her life when the person

"has a disease that is incurable." Sixty-five percent said "yes" to the

following question:


     When a person has a disease that cannot be cured, do you think doctors

should be allowed by law to end the patient's life by some painless means

if the family requests it (Fear, 4)?


The legality of physician-assisted suicide is one of the main reasons

physicians hesitate to support assisted suicide. According to an article in

the New England Journal of Medicine, in the United States, any action that

causes death of a person or causes that person to kill himself is illegal.

Doctors are prohibited from intentionally taking someone's life without the

patient's approval.  As of 14 July 1994, 30 states had criminalized

physician assisted suicide (Regulating 119). However, of those physicians

who have practiced euthanasia or assisted suicide few have been brought to

trial and none have been convicted. As awareness increased on the topic of

"death with dignity,"  it was no longer just a medical issue it became a

political issue as well.


     In 1991, congress enacted the Patient Self Determination Act.  The

Patient Self Determination Act required hospitals and nursing homes to

inform patients that they have the right to refuse medication (Aging, 54).

As a result patients began refusing medication and their pain and suffering

increased. Although the Patient Self Determination caused controversy and

complications it was America's first step in reform of euthanasia practices.


 Although America's Patient Self Determination Act provide patients with

some freedom of choice, other western cultures who are practicing

euthanasia or assisted suicide for the terminally ill are taking more

aggressive measures but are still protecting those who may be vulnerable to

abuse.  For example, In Sweden steps are taken to insure that people who

are not terminally ill are not given advice and assistance in their efforts

to commit suicide (Birenbaum 30).  The Netherlands' practice of euthanasia

is usually the focus when universal policies on euthanasia are being

considered. Dutch physicians have been practicing euthanasia for many years.

Despite euthanasia being illegal, Dutch society supports it. The policy on

euthanasia in the Netherlands requires three conditions must be met:  the

patient must make the request insistently and repeatedly of his desire to

die, more than one doctor must have attended the patient, and the patient

must be terminally ill and suffering from severe physical or mental pain.

The physician then gives the patient a lethal injection of barbiturates to

provide permanent relief (Birenbaum 30). On 8 December 1994, the residents

of Oregon passed a law similar to the Netherlands' practice of euthanasia.

Voters in Oregon passed Americas' first euthanasia law.  The law will

legalize the prescription of lethal doses of medicine to terminally ill

patients who desire to end their lives.  The policy is similar to that in

the Netherlands.  The policy requires that the request be made three times,

two oral request and one written request. There must be fifteen days

between the first request and the second request.

Return to