Ethical Perspective on Assisted Suicide Essay

This essay has a total of 1084 words and 4 pages.

Ethical Perspective on Assisted Suicide

Ethical Perspective on Assisted Suicide

In every state in the United States of America, except Oregon, it is illegal to assist any
person in ending their own life. It does not matter what the condition of the person is,
how sick, or how much pain they are in. Have you ever considered what position you would
take if you or one of your loved ones were in the situation where they would rather end
their life, than continue living in excruciating pain and agony? Would you die in pain,
slowly succumbing to cancer and being brutalized by chemotherapy, or would you rather die
with dignity and ease? I believe that assisted suicide ought to be legal in every state
and that patients have the right to die an easy and painless death. "Having a terminal
illness and being in excruciating pain is like being locked in a room without knowing
where the key is, this measure gives patients a means of escape." (Rollin)

Euthanasia, also known as assisted suicide, comes from the Greek word "euthanatos" or easy
death. There are two types of euthanasia: active and passive. Active euthanasia is when a
physician administers lethal drugs to a patient, ending the patient's life. For example,
injecting potassium chloride, or inhaling carbon monoxide. The doctor may also provide the
patient with a prescription for drugs and advise the proper amount to end one's life.
Passive euthanasia is when the patient dies from the withholding or withdrawing of
treatment. If a patient is on a machine to help them breathe, and it is disconnected, it
is considered to be passive euthanasia. The main difference between active and passive
euthanasia is that active euthanasia is illegal, and passive is not.

If assisted suicide were legal, there would be standards that must be followed to ensure
that the option is not misused. "It is currently occurring outside the law and without any
reporting requirements." (Smith) Patients must be terminally ill and in sound mental
health. Assisted suicide should be reserved for those who genuinely would rather die than
live in the pain of their illness, not for someone who is depressed and feels that death
would be a way out. Patients should have to meet with their doctors to discuss the option
of assisted suicide, and to be informed of the other options that are available.

"Such open dialogue will enhance detection of treatable depression. . . . A study of
euthanasia in the Netherlands shows that two-thirds of patients who asked their physicians
for assurance that they would be assisted in dying when at the end stage of their disease
did not need the assistance because other suitable alternatives were given." (Smith)

I would also suggest that the doctor talk with the family of the patient to find out their
feelings on the subject. Often, the family can see the pain that their loved one is going
through and will support the decision of the patient.

The Hemlock Society is an organization supporting the legalization of assisted suicide.
One of the founders of the Hemlock Society, Derek Humphrey wrote a book called Final Exit,
which was number one on the New York Time's list of best selling how-to, self help books
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