Why Terminally Ill Patients Should Be Granted

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Why Terminally Ill Patients Should be Given the Right to Die When a person is suffering from a terminal illness they may be faced with a very difficult ending. Physicians will likely prescribe pain medication in an effort to ease a patient’s symptoms; unfortunately, if the medicine eventually becomes ineffective, these patients could endure their last months in extreme pain and continue to suffer from agonizing symptoms until their death. These patients look into their future knowing they will ultimately be robbed of any control they have over their mind and body. In the United States we are given many freedoms to choose. We have the choice to abort a fetus, which some pro-life advocates may consider murder. A patient may refuse a life sustaining feeding tube (US SUPREME COURT DECISION WHAT FREEDOMS), and we are given the freedom to refuse lifesaving medical treatment by mechanical ventilation, antibiotics or dialysis (Angell). When an animal is suffering, out of compassion we often choose euthanasia. This choice is done out of love, and it is considered a humane act. However, there is one choice that many patients do not have and that is the option to peacefully end their life a few short months earlier rather than waiting to die. In the early 1990s there was a group of citizens in Oregon that developed a law which would allow a terminally ill patient to take control over their end of life care. The group consisted of both citizens, and legal and medical experts. The law which was named the Death with Dignity Act was originally passed in 1994, challenged through 1997 before going into effect with the US Supreme Court decision in 2006. The Death with Dignity Act allows a patient in Oregon to voluntarily end their life. The pa... ... middle of paper ... ...fe and to essentially die in pain. Patients who legally choose to end their life using the Death with Dignity laws will need to follow the necessary steps prior to receiving their prescription. At any point in time the patient is able to change their mind and are not obligated to take the lethal medication. The patients are followed throughout the process to be sure they remain competent to make this decision. There are steps in place that are there to protect the patients. We should be educating people on Death with Dignity so they understand the safeguards that are written into these laws. We need to take into consideration what the end of life looks like for these patient’s and give them the right to control their last days. Nobody should be forced by another’s belief when it comes to end of life care, it should simply be an option for patients to choose legally.

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