Live and Let Die





Who has the right to say whether a person lives or dies? The person has the right to decide. You are in control of your body and hold your life in your hands, right or wrong you have the option to end your life, and in extreme cases your family has the right to act on your behalf. There is no one who should be able to take this option away from you. Everyone has certain inalienable rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution, and if a person has a right to life then they have a right to death. "In 1997, in its decisions in the Washington v. Glucksberg and Vacco v. Quill cases, the U.S. Supreme Court again affirmed the right of competent patients to refuse unwanted medical treatments and to receive adequate pain treatment at the end of life - even if it might hasten death"(www.choices.org).
The definition of euthanasia is, according to Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary, "a painless peaceful death or the putting to death of a person suffering from a fatal disease or the like: also called mercy killing." Euthanasia can be both passive and active. Passive euthanasia is more accepted by society because it is seen more as letting nature take its course rather than killing a person. In passive euthanasia what most commonly happens is a person is taken off life support and allowed to die. It seems so much neater and easy to understand than active euthanasia. The vision of mad doctors with fuzzy white hair sticking out in all directions and laughing as they inject you some fatal drug is scary and a total misconception. After all, this isn\'t a B-movie. The truth of the matter is that a doctor that the person knows and trusts could give the injection. If it was legalized a person wouldn\'t need to search out someone like Dr. Jack Kevorkian and his self-execution machine to end their lives. They could have it done and feel confident in the doctor\'s ability. Death is a certainty in life. Why should those who are in great pain and/or are terminal have to wait to die? Why should a patient be forced to live if they think their present standard of life has degenerated to the point of meaningless? "A good death...is under the dying person\'s control and gives that person time to settle debts and fulfill obligations. Achieving "closure" is important. The term refers to settling differences, healing wounds, and closing gaps in human relationships. Closure is difficult or impossible when the timing of death is uncertain or when the patient is too physically frail or mentally impaired. To most people, a death without closure is a bad death. (Logue/euthanasia.org)"
Death is a scary subject. A subject that many people don\'t want to discuss especially when a family member is on the verge. What many people do not realize is that those who are so ill that they can no longer take care of themselves or enjoy the simple things have made peace with the reality of death and are ready to face it. When they are ready to die, they are ready. If the family is not prepared, they cannot ask the ill member to hold on for them. Death is very personal and no one has the right to choose when that person\'s time is but that person.
"A dying man needs to die, as a sleepy man needs to sleep, and there comes a time when it is wrong, as well as useless to resist."
-Steward Alsop, Stay of Execution
So what about those people who cannot speak for themselves? Those people who are "vegetables" or just unaware of what is going on, being in no mental state to know how to answer this question. There is a point where it no longer becomes feasible to keep someone on life support. The financial, emotional, and physical burden on the members of the family is overwhelming and it cannot be expected of them to keep up that sort of care when there is no hope for recovery. It is not fair to give the family a false hope that the suffering party could recover when the truth is that it will probably not happen. It is