To Die Or Not To Die, Euthanasia In The U.S.

1666 words - 7 pages

Living in America, we are all given the right and privilege to live, however, should America condone an individual with the right to die? Euthanasia has been an ongoing debate for years with two altering viewpoints towards this issue. A number of people believe that euthanasia should be practiced and be used to alleviate the pain terminally ill patients suffer from. Others will argue that "mercy killing" still constitutes as murdering an individual (National Right to Life Committee, 1997).

Euthanasia is described as intentionally killing someone who declares a desire for death. We most commonly witness the desire to die in terminally ill cancer patients. A majority of these patients have suffered and undergone countless attempts to lengthen their lives, but the sad truth is that a majority of cancer patients don't survive for a long desired amount. The cost of treatment is considerably high, and the physical and mental hurting is unbearable (Tatsuya, M. 2004, pg44).

Doctors must do the horrible task of informing patients that their chances of survival are close to none, and that their life expectancy is only a short amount of time. Can you imagine what it must feel like to know that you're going to die in a couple of months, or even days? The thought of death is terrifying as it is, but knowing that death will be coming soon is far more terrifying. Due to the fact that doctors inform patients with this type of information, this increases the desire to hasten death. What little hope they had of survival has been shattered, and the fight to live a longer life is no longer wanted.

The request to terminate their lives can be well understood considering the pain and discomfort they must be feeling. The thought of lying in a hospital bed in constant pain day after day is horrendous. Most patients want to be able to plan when they pass away in order to arrange all their affairs together, and gather their family members to witness their last breaths on earth.

It is unfortunate to hear about cases in which patients take matters into their own hands because the request for death has been denied. In 1961, Percy Bridgman, a Nobel-prize winning physicist suffered from terminally ill cancer. After doctors refused to help him end his life with "dignity," Bridgman emitted a bullet into himself. Bridgman's final words before his tragic death were as follow, "It is not decent for society to make a man do this to himself. Probably this is the last day I will be able to do it to myself"(Roland, 2004, pg A11).

The "death with dignity" bill has been a fight for many organizations to get this case presented in the Legislature. This bill has been molded using the current law that has been passed in Oregon. If this bill is passed, it will ensure the right of terminally ill patients request for prescription medication in order to speed up the process of death. However, in order for a patient to obtain these medications they must make...

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