Three years, countless rounds of chemo, and you have not gotten any better. The hospital has now become your home and your illness has taken over your life. The chemo is strangling you and taking away every bit of life you have left. You have given your family a time frame, and you have now reached your decision. More people are starting to seek euthanasia as an option if they are in a condition where they cannot recover: ‘Between 0.3% to 4.6% of all deaths are reported as euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide in jurisdictions where they are legal’ (Biscalchin).
As of now, euthanasia is legal in six states in the U.S.: Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Vermont, and Montana. However, what exactly is euthanasia? Euthanasia is known as ‘the act of causing or permitting the death of someone who may be suffering from an incurable or terminal illness, often as a way to end the suffering of the individual’ (Euthanasia). For some, euthanasia is seen as murder, whereas for others, it is looked upon as allowing one to end their suffering from an incurable situation.
While both sides of the issue have been thought about, one must agree that terminal patients should have a choice of assisted suicide to end their suffering and save their family many medical finances and issues in the long run. Euthanasia is like someone being released from prison, it gives the patient freedom from everything they have been through. Not only does the process end the patient’s suffering but also, according to De La Torre, it ‘is a means to endure their end without the unnecessary…cost.
’ The right to euthanasia should be legal if the patient has reached terminal illness, the doctor has done everything that can be done, and the patient is sure of their decision, with that, these circumstances will ensure the patient passing safely.
Euthanasia should be legal if the patient has reached terminal illness. Although there are different viewpoints toward the situation, De La Torre says, “Others are for it because of their compassion and respect for dying.” If a patient has come to a state in their health where they can no longer withstand living, they should have a right to end their life. It is not seen as murder, but rather a doctor granting a wish the patient is asking for: “It is sad to realize that these people are in great agony and that to them and that to them the only hope of bringing that agony to a halt is through assisted suicide” (De La Torre). These patient’s no longer have a life to live and they are living what all they have left through pain and exhaustion. In an opposing view, Muehlenberg says, “… even if the push for legalized euthanasia is based on a sense of compassion, it is unconscionable for any civilized society to allow for the legalized killing of its own citizens”. He is arguing that even though the patient has come to a terminal end, euthanasia “should be considered homicide” (Muehlenberg). It is not homicide if the patient is the one who is requesting for the process to happen. They are well aware of the circumstances of the act and they agree to all of the conditions. It is not justified to consider it homicide or murder, especially if the patient has asked for it knowing that all has been done.
Euthanasia should be legal if everything that can be done has been done. The decision to go forward with the process of euthanasia should not be decided until the patient knows everything has been done to cure their illness. According to a true story told by Mars Cramer, his wife had become very ill with Wald Enstrom’s disease and they turned to euthanasia as an option for her. In his story, Cramer says, “At the hospital, they gave her a blood transfusion and told her to report next week; and then they gave her another blood transfusion and told her to report again a week later. And if she had not fallen ill and refused further treatment, they would no doubt have continued in this way”. This is proving that there was no further treatment for her condition. Imagine being in a state of health where all you can do is suffer and there is no turn around for you. The doctors were doing all they possibly could to ensure her more time, but they could only offer a limited number of solutions. This led the couple to learn about euthanasia. They spoke to all of her doctors, whom all agreed it was her best option and that they had nothing more they could do for her except for continuing with the blood transfusions. This goes to show that the doctors do all they can before agreeing upon such an irreversible process. Doctors/physicians play a major role in the deciding factor: “They differ where they place the line that separates relief from dying—and killing” (De La Torre). On that note, both the doctor and patient have to be sure of the choice to go through with this act.
Euthanasia should be legal if the patient is confident in their decision. To guarantee this, the doctor or physician who will be performing the act must tell the patient everything about following through with assisted suicide. With that, the patient shall sign something along the lines of a contract agreeing to everything the doctor or physician has told them. The doctor should be required to answer every question the patient has even if the answer is something the patient might not want to hear. The patient should feel comfortable and safe with their decision. After all, they are giving someone else the right to kill them, so it should be done with every precaution taken. They “should be allowed to die with dignity”, as well as, “they will not be seen as people who are waiting to die but as human beings making one final active choice in their lives” (De La Torre). Terminally ill patients should be granted this right to end their life. They are doing it out of good reasoning: there is nothing that can cure their suffering. They are not making up excuses because their life is hard and they are giving up, they physically are in pain and they cannot recover from it. If it is ultimately the patient’s decision, why should it matter to anyone else? The family and friends should see their choice as relief from the suffering and be grateful for the patient’s existence even if they are about to end it. All in all, illness is suffering and euthanasia is freedom. Euthanasia is not a representation of a bad choice. It is a simple escape from grievance and suffering for a terminally ill patient. It saves their family “financial burdens” and gives them the right to die a little more peacefully than they would be doing if they continued to live on (De La Torre). Therefore, with some legal dexterity, we can have this law passed.