The Right To Die Philosophy
The right to die simply means The right of a terminally ill person to refuse life-sustaining treatment. The right to die has been a heavily debated topic for many years, and there are proponents on both sides who strongly believe they are the one with the right answer. The only right answer I see is to give every individual the right to choose what kind of life they want to live all the way through to death. Life should be about quality and not quantity, because with no quality the quantity no longer matters. There should be rules and regulations put into place in order to honor the wishes of the dying including when and how they want to die. If we have the right to choose if an unborn child gets to live or die then an individual should have the right to choose their own fate, especially when faced with no quality of life due to medical conditions. Physician assisted suicide and Euthanasia are the movements associated with the right to die.
Christopher Docker defines physician assisted suicide as, " ... the provision by a doctor, consciously and legally, to a patient who has completely requested it, of the means for that patient to end his or her own life." (Docker 10) If a patient chooses to go with the Physician assisted suicide, the physician will provide everything necessary and the patient will perform the act. By doing so, the patient can feel as if they are in complete control of the situation. Nothing about this method is new; in fact studies show that 57% of physicians practicing today have been asked to use this method for a pain free death. (Resource for End of Life Care Education). One should not be able to force a loved one to sit there and suffer, just because there not ready to let go or cope with the fact that they are going to lose someone close to them. If it is at the point to where a patient is terminally ill and they can't even distinguish a family member from a doctor, they have the right to be put out of their misery and if it's not allowed then we are in violation with the 14th amendment (U.S Constitution). "To deny the right to assisted suicide is to deny freedom". (Thomas S. Szasz, Suicide Right or Wrong)
The term euthanasia is derived from the Greek word for "good death". Euthanasia is the practice of ending one's life in order to put them out of misery caused by a disease or unbearable suffering. This method actually involves the physician and is much quicker than the physician assisted method. When a Physician is asked to use Euthanasia many people look down on the doctor because they feel as If that is murder and it is morally wrong. A lot of people argue that when God is ready for someone he will take them, and that there is no need for Euthanasia or physician assisted suicide, but if that was the case there would be no medications to cure ones illness either they would overcome the illness on their own with no medication or they wouldn't.
Nowhere in the constitution does it say that one cannot commit suicide but it does say that one has the right to" life liberty and the pursuit of happiness" (U.S Constitution) so how can we expect a Physician to deny a patient who is seriously ill, the right to die? There should most definitely be regulations on using either one of these methods. Derek Humphry mentions some of the things he believes should be assessed before allowing one to go through with physician assisted suicide or euthanasia. One of them being the patient must be an adult and the other being that there decision must have been well thought out and discussed among others in their family. Oregon has passed a Death with Dignity Act which allows Physician assisted suicide if the patient is terminally ill. Ferguson states that the best way to avoid a slide down a slippery slope would be to legalize it everywhere (Ferguson 79) this way no one can come back and point fingers at the physician, making them the bad guy. Ferguson also states that since the Dignity Act has been passed there have been no signs of abuse of either one of these methods (Ferguson 78).
Making this an option for those who are suffering can help lead to a more peaceful death. In Fergusons book he states that 84% of people polled support the right to die law (Ferguson 54). He also states "would it not be more moral to allow those who do not want to continue their suffering to end the pain, and use the available resources to help those who do want the treatment" (Ferguson 40). He has a valid point here. Why should medication be wasted on someone who doesn't want it when there are people out there dying to have it? If someone is willing to watch their love one lay in a bed as a vegetable knowing that they are ready to close their eyes then that is simply for their personal gain and that is ethically wrong.
The right to die is a topic that will always have some sort of controversy. Some will never understand how helpful these methods can be until they are the ones laying in a bed with a feeding tube in their nose, a diaper on, and tons of bed sores because they can't get up and move. More states should follow in Oregon's footsteps and consider the Death with Dignity Act. This is something that could help many families. At the end of the day it should be up to the patient. If they feel as if they have served their purpose on this earth than we don't have the right to tell them their wrong. People should have more control over their lives. As long as the patient is leaving in a peaceful way and on their own terms then that's all that should matter. If we get to go home and sleep comfortably then they have the right to do so as well. It's not always about how old the person is. Yes, we want our loved ones to live until they are old and grey but if they have no quality of life then what's the point of keeping them here to suffer. No one wants to be bed ridden and dependent on others they want to be pain free and happy. It would be cruel for us to go on with our lives every day happy and pain free while some one dear to us is fighting to keep their eyes open or even remember who you are. Many things need to be thought about when deciding whether to make someone suffer or even let them go. This will always be a sensitive subject but at the end of the day everybody dies whether we like it or not. Unless one can suffer for possibly 5 years before they die, there is no reason they should expect another to do it just so they can wake up every day knowing there still here. No one should be scared to die if they are happy and in control of it, one should be afraid to have to be made to suffer until someone says otherwise if they ever do.
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