Imagine you’re dog has cancer. Your dog has been there every step of the way, getting you through the tough times and cheering you up when you’re down. But your dog is in pain and his life is slowly and painfully dwindling away. The most logical thing to do would be to put the dog down and while this will be obviously painfully for you, it will give the most relief for the dog. Either way, the dog is going to die, but wouldn’t it be better if it was quick and painless? This same idea goes for humans. Individuals suffering from a terminal illness can spend up to years handicapped to a hospital bed and miserable because of it and the pain. Without a doubt it can be argued that humans and dogs are not the same, but the circumstance would be similar, and for both the human and the dog, it the process would be extremely arduous.
There are many facets of “putting [a human or animal] to sleep” including the 2 basic ones: euthanasia and physician assisted suicide (PAS). Euthanasia can be briefly defined as the act of ending a human life with the patient’s consent, either by holding back the medical care that keeps the patient alive, or by a specific act. Assisted suicide differs from euthanasia because while in euthanasia the physician administers the drug, for assisted suicide, the patient is the one to take the lethal drug that is merely prescribed by the physician. Euthanasia is currently not legal anywhere in the United States but as of 2002, became legal in Belgium and The Netherlands. Physician assisted suicide though, is legal in states Oregon and Washington and a few handful of other countries. Assisting someone with suicide in the states that it is prohibited in carries felony charges akin to manslaughter or murder. It is illegal for a physician to even give advice that might help a patient to commit suicide.
Even though many physicians have been persecuted for participating in it, physician assisted suicide has been gaining support over the past half century in the United States. There are many issues involving physician-assisted suicides, some legal, some ethical, and some moral. Although there may be many arguments against euthanasia or physician assisted suicide, there are more that back it up. A few of the reasons that physician assisted suicide and euthanasia should be legalized are that the terminally ill should be able to choose when they should die, it is a personal choice and this is a free country, and the fact that patients have more preparation. In order to conserve the dignity of humankind, it is imperative that euthanasia is legalized in the remaining United Stated to safely end terminal individuals’ lived with the least amount of suffering.
It can be pretty much universally agreed that euthanasia and physician assisted suicide helps alleviate the suffering of both the terminally ill patient and their family. With this method of terminating a patient’s life, the process can be quick and painless. Other than that, the family doesn’t have to helplessly watch their loved one’s life slowly wither away right in front of their eyes. Also, with a patient with an incurable terminal illness, medical expenses may escalate and for many patients that may not have insurance or don’t have a lot of money, this can be a problem. Patients dying from a disease may spend from weeks to months or years draining their savings. If the patient chooses to terminate their life before his or her already ineludible death, he or she can avoid having a burden of debt to pass on to his or her family.
Another one of the benefits of physician assisted suicide and/or euthanasia is that the patient with a terminal illness has time to prepare for their incoming death. Assisted suicide gives the individual a sense of control for their future, letting