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Life is precious. You get one opportunity and countless amounts of people take it for granted. What we as humans don’t consider is, pain and suffering does not discriminate. Unfortunately, we all will experience some sort of pain whether its physical or emotional. No matter if it’s bearable or agonizing, it’s inescapable. Suffering can sometimes make you blind to everything in your life that makes it worth living and for some, committing suicide seems like the only option you have to be free from it.
Suicide is traumatizing for anyone involved and can be portrayed as selfish, or the coward’s way out. Are there any circumstances that make suicide acceptable?
Imagine being diagnosed with cancer. After receiving all the treatment you can think of, it has been determined that your diagnosis is terminal and there are no options left except to enjoy what time you have left with your close loved ones. At this point, you’ve discussed your “end of life” wishes with your doctor and you’re tired of suffering.
Would you consider the option to “die with dignity” or would you continue to suffer until your body gives out? Should the right to die be a matter of personal choice? As a physician, would you consider hastening a patient’s death by writing a lethal prescription?
Only 6 states and the District of Columbia has legalized death with dignity laws. Advocates of physician assisted suicide laws believe patients who have a terminal diagnosis that are mentally competent, should have the right to die when they choose.
For a terminally ill patient, dignity reflects how they feel based on their personal values, and their standards of decency. Who are we as outsiders, caregivers or physicians, to decide if a terminally ill loved one or patient’s life is worth living when we aren’t physically and mentally experiencing their pain?
This prescription cannot be obtained by anybody who asks for it. You must meet specific requirements to be eligible for Nembutal. To qualify, you must be a resident in the state the prescription is offered. You’re required to be mentally competent and be able to communicate your own health care decisions. It is necessary you can self-administer and consume the Nembutal. Within justifiable medical judgment, your terminal illness is said to lead to death within 6 months. No patient will be approved for this medication exclusively because of old age or disability. Multiple requests, oral and written, must be made by the patient after all alternative end-of-life care options discussed and understood. Two doctors will review the criteria and have to come to an agreement in determining eligibility. A patient can be denied if the physicians believe they need psychological evaluation.
Opponents say these kinds of laws devalue life and are essentially incongruous to a physician’s role as a healer. Some argue that terminally ill patients might be experiencing undiagnosed depression that can undermine their ability to make a life or death decision. They believe if patients cannot find any value in their lives, they are not competent to make the decision to take their own life. Neil M. Gorsuch, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and the author of The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, states, “…all human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong…” Could this potentially give doctors a “license to kill”? Should these laws stop being legalized because a terminal patient may not be “competent” enough to make this decision?
Doctors who have been involved in assisted suicide have experienced significant emotional and psychological changes. Many physicians describe feelings of isolation and chaotic emotions. Several feel as if they have no choice but to be involved in assisted suicide; they must take responsibility for causing the patient’s death, which creates a huge burden on their conscience.
I do not believe anyone who hasn’t had cancer or isn’t currently diagnosed with a terminal illness, should have a say in whether or not this law should be passed. I believe the “Death with Dignity” laws should be legalized nationwide. Because doctors can be effected psychologically, I think doctors involved with the “end of life” process should be able to choose whether or not they would like to prescribe this medication. Although I disagree with the opponents, I do believe any person who is told they have a terminal illness will have underlying depression at some point throughout their diagnosis. But having depression doesn’t mean you are incapable of making this decision. If I had a choice to let the illness run its course or die when I feel like I have suffered enough, I would rather be able to control that myself. I would rather be happy and comfortable at home. Surrounded by my family, I would say my goodbyes and leave this world with my family knowing how much I loved them because nothing saves our hearts more than closure before tragedy occurs.
Physician assisted suicide laws should be passed nationwide. Terminal patients should have alternative options for suffering in a hospice. Determining the legalization of the “Death with Dignity” laws should be voiced by terminal patients only. It’s a shame that outsiders get to have an opinion when most of us would only be against the legalization of this medication because of our own selfish reasons. It’s hard to lose a loved one, especially in this way, but who are we to decide when it’s time for our them to let go? We are not in the minds of the one suffering and do not understand how they truly feel physically and mentally. Life is precious; it doesn’t become any less valuable because we have the option to die with dignity. Without dignity, there is no real value in life.
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