EQ- Should euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide be legal? (Kenneth-TOPIC 2)

EQ- Should euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide be legal?
BACKGROUND- Some people believe that physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, should not be allowed because it is supposed to be a doctor’s job to try and keep their patients alive, and that this would target the poorer population because they cannot afford health care basically allowing insurance companies to save money by ending some people’s lives. Proponents of physician-assisted suicide argue that if the patient is in excruciating pain and is in a terminal illness stage where it is known that they are not going to make it should be allowed to ask for their lives to end, and that this is a right guaranteed by the constitution like marriage or having a baby.
CLAIM- Although it is a doctors job to try and keep their patient alive if there is nothing that they can do to reverse the damage already there a person should be able to ask for their life to be ended because it’s up to us to decide how we want to die, the pain would be unbearable and death would be easier than coping with the pain, and it is a right guaranteed to us by the constitution.
SUPPORT- Many people believe that there is no other way out than die, and that’s certainly the case for many patients with terminal diseases, so if they have the right to be alive why can’t they decide how they want to die. It is true that some people that are mentally ill commit suicide, but physician assisted suicide is different because that patient is going through something that cannot be fixed in most cases where a person who is depressed can be brought back to believing things are alright.
Jack Kevorkian, MD, a retired pathologist also known as ‘Dr. Death’ who has aided over 130 people in ending their lives, stated the following in a 1990 interview with Cornerstone magazine:”I believe there are people who are healthy and mentally competent enough to decide on suicide. People who are not depressed. Everyone has a right for suicide, because a person has a right to determine what will or will not be done to his body. There’s no place for people to turn today who really want to commit suicide. Teenagers, and the elderly especially, have nowhere to turn. But when they come to me, they will obey what I say because they know they’re talking to an honest doctor.”
The 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso, PhD), spiritual leader and Head of State of the Tibetan government in exile, stated the following in a 1985 letter to Asiaweek:”In the event a person is definitely going to die and he is either in great pain or has virtually become a vegetable, and prolonging his existence is only going to cause difficulties and suffering for others, the termination of his life may be permitted according to Mahayana Buddhist ethics.”

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5 Comments

Filed under Controversial Issue #2

5 responses to “EQ- Should euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide be legal? (Kenneth-TOPIC 2)

  1. Justin Clements

    I believe your argument was well written, however, according to
    Courtney S. Campbell, PhD, Professor of Ethics, Science, and the Environment in the Department of Philosophy at Oregon State University, “I am opposed to the legalization of voluntary euthanasia for terminally ill patients as administered by physicians (it goes without saying I would opposed involuntary euthanasia as well). While I respect and advocate for patients to have control and dignity in dying, it is contrary to the vocation of medicine to intentionally hasten or cause death. In all cases (medical or non-medical), taking human life should be a last resort, and until our society has given appropriate attention to pain control, hospice care, and advance directive, we will not have met the criteria of last resort with respect to legalized euthanasia. I accept refusal or non-treatment of patients with terminal conditions wherein the underlying cause of death is a disease or organic pathology.”

    • Kenneth Nevarez

      It seems like you are letting your support speak for you, which is not a good thing to do. Sure it is a doctors job to keep their patients alive, as Courtney Campbell said, it should be up to the patient and the fact that this choice is illegal is an infrigement on our rights.

  2. Christian Encarnacion

    I agree that it is the choice of the individual on whether or not they would like to live longer if they are in a fatal condition, but I believe that it should be regulated in the sense that only patients with a certain level of pain or illness should be given the option of doing so. If there is indeed the opportunity for the individual to be completely cured of their pain and suffering, whether it be by postponing death or by assisted suicide, then by all means action should be taken, but only with the consent of the patient. It is no right other than that of the individual on what they want done to their bodies and if a patient refuses to be treated then their decision should be honored and respected rather than defiled. To further support your statement on how it is our constitutional right, “The right of a competent, terminally ill person to avoid excruciating pain and embrace a timely and dignified death bears the sanction of history and is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty. The exercise of this right is as central to personal autonomy and bodily integrity as rights safeguarded by this Court’s decisions relating to marriage, family relationships, procreation, contraception, child rearing and the refusal or termination of life-saving medical treatment. In particular, this Court’s recent decisions concerning the right to refuse medical treatment and the right to abortion instruct that a mentally competent, terminally ill person has a protected liberty interest in choosing to end intolerable suffering by bringing about his or her own death.” (The American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU), Vacco v. Quill). It is not in the best interest of the patient if the patient’s views concerning the situation are not honored, and it should also be noted, in terms of a situation concerning the patient’s inability to state their views and wishes, that if the patient is in a quite unstable situation that the patient should indeed be assisted in suicide.

    • Kenneth Nevarez

      There is such a thing that exists to regulate the actions of what a doctor can and can’t do to a patient, its called a living will,having these living wills would be a good way to make sure that no actions that the patient does not want to be done to their body are done. The American Bar Association explained living wills in the “Estate Planning FAQ’s” section of its website (accessed on June 9, 2006):
      “A living will is your written expression of how you want to be treated in certain medical conditions. Depending on state law, this document may permit you to express whether or not you wish to be given life-sustaining treatments in the event you are terminally ill or injured, to decide in advance whether you wish to be provided food and water via intravenous devices (‘tube feeding’), and to give other medical directions that impact the end of life”

  3. Johna Russell

    According to the Decleration of Independence, everyone has the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” If everyone has the right to live, then they should also have the right to die, when they feel the time has come. In addition, everyone is entitled to the pursuit of happiness, shouldn’t this pursuit of happiness include the right to die a quick death, when the person faces a long, painful death due to disease or any other factors. I believe everyone should have the right to commit suicide, as long as they are under the supervision of others, in order to ensure that the patient actually wants to die and that it is not a plot to committ murder under the disguise of suicide.

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