Date: June 3, 2008
Word Count: 1225
Topic: Physician Assisted Suicide
1. Introduction and Thesis
Chronic and life-limiting illness can also make a person feel like they have lost all control of their lives. The body isn’t doing what it should and there’s no way to stop it. Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) may feel like a way to regain some of that control. If they can’t control the illness, they can at least control how they die.
Quality of life is the driving force behind patients seeking PAS. Usually clients feel loss of autonomy, or not being able to care for themselves and make ones own decisions. Directly following are the loss of one's dignity and the loss of being able to participate in enjoyable activities. It goes without saying that physical suffering greatly diminishes quality of life as well. For those who are suffering in their final days of life, death can be a welcome event. They may feel that it will permanently relieve their suffering and alleviate the burden on their loved ones. Physician-assisted suicide may seem like the best option for them and their families. Therefore this paper argues that PAS is right only in the case of the terminal ill to alleviate further suffering, loss of autonomy and dignity. In so doing we can provide a way to be merciful to the dying without branding those who show mercy as criminals.
2. Arguments and Explanation
Reason 1: Consider a person with an incurable illness or severe debility such that life has become so racked with pain or so burdensome that desirable, meaningful, purposeful existence has ceased. Suppose that person says, "My life is no longer worth living; I cannot stand it any longer; I want to end it now to avoid further pain, indignity, torment, and despair." In the end after all alternatives have been thoroughly considered, I believe this person has the right to make a choice to die and that it ought to be honored. We would want to urge consultation with physicians, clergy, lawyers, therapists, family, and others so that such a serious and irreversible decision can be made after sufficient time has passed and every alternative thoroughly weighed. We have obligations to others and should take their needs into account. The state has an interest in protecting life. But, in the end, individuals should be given the opportunity to deciding when life has become an unendurable hardship. This doesn’t mean “I want to end it” because my bills are due and the loan shark is looking for me. According to an article by USA Today (1998-JUL-6) physician assisted suicide is permitted in Oregon under very tightly controlled conditions and specifically criminalized in the remaining states. The Death with Dignity law went into effect in Oregon in 1997. It allows some terminally-ill patients to request assistance in committing suicide.
Reason 2: There’s an increase in healthcare cost when individuals are diagnosed and treated with an terminal illness. Most don’t have health insurance and don’t want to be a burden to their family members or the government.
127.805 s.2.01. Who may initiate a written request for medication?
(1) An adult who is capable, is a resident of Oregon, and has been determined by the attending physician and consulting physician to be suffering from a terminal disease, and who has voluntarily expressed his or her wish to die, may make a written request for medication for the purpose of ending his or her life in a humane and dignified manner in accordance with ORS 127.800 to 127.897.
127.835 s.3.05. Family notification.
The attending physician shall recommend that the patient notify the next of kin of his or her request for medication pursuant to ORS 127.800 to 127.897. A patient who declines or is unable to notify next of kin shall not have his or her request denied for that reason.
127.850 s.3.08. Waiting periods.
No less than fifteen (15) days shall elapse between the patient's initial oral