Physician die. After the 1997 Supreme Court

Physician Assisted Suicide and the Right to DiePhysician assisted suicide, also known as right to die has become a big issuewithin the last twenty years.

  InAmerica,  A country that promotesindependence and personal rights; it seems quite regressive  to deny a person their right to die. After the1997 Supreme Court decision which declined to nationally recognize assistedsuicide, Chief Justice William Rehquist stated this issue best when he said weare “engaged in an earnest and profound debate about the morality, legality andpracticality of physician assisted suicide as it should in a democraticsociety” (Karaim). Cut to 2014 andover ten years later this issue has gained more momentum than ever, specificallyin California after the California Compassionate Choices Act following thepassing and implementation of The Dignity Act in Oregon (Tucker).

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The benefitsof assisted suicide include an end in suffering for patients while saving theirfamily from future debt and allowing their organs and the energy used to keepthem alive to save others who can live a complete and healthy life. There issome personal and moral opposition to physician assisted suicide nationally,but the positives outweigh the negatives and California should take furthersteps in aiding and providing options for those dying.The main, if not most beneficial, aspect of physician assisted suicide is thatthe pain and suffering surrounding the final months and days of a person’s lifecan be prevented by their choice alone. Look at this on a simpler level, themodern day family portrait often includes a pet whether it is a cat, a dog orsomething uncommon and these animals get treated like another member of thefamily.

For example when a dog gets sick most families take their pet to theveterinarian and follow the recommended protocol, however when somethingincurable comes up like cancer the dog is often put to sleep. A human being anda pet are not necessarily equal but the bottom line is that when a pet is putto sleep it is to prevent further pain and suffering, so this mentality shouldbe carried over for people. There is no doubt that people do experience pain intheir final days, the SUPPORT Study conducted in Oregon, found that “Fiftypercent of conscious patients who died in the hospital experienced moderate tosevere pain in the last three days of life” (Steinbock).

Looking at thisinformation it can be seen as cruel to keep a terminally ill person in pain andmisery against their wishes when death is undeniably going to occur in the nearfuture.Autonomy is synonymous with independence and is often brought up as a major profor assisted suicide for two reasons, the first being that those terminally illwant to keep their autonomy and not depend on anyone else in their final days.In the article titled “Assisted Suicide” by Reed Karaim, the reader gets aninside look at a man named Lee Johnson who was diagnosed with terminally illbrain cancer as he explained his belief in “living by choice and wanting to diewith dignity and grace.” (Karaim) Johnson tookadvantage of the Death with Dignity Act in Oregon which allows people to gothrough a process that ultimately ends in a prescribed lethal dose ofmedication (Tucker). The second reason autonomy is favored is because of courtdecisions like Roe vs. Wade and Griswold vs. Connecticut which favored toprotect each individual’s body and independence (Alstyne).

Both Supreme Courtcases upheld the right to privacy when it comes to personal body decisions andCalifornia should look at physician assisted suicide in that same context. Physician assisted suicide may seem irrational and selfish to some but inreality an individual who takes advantage of this is not doing so strictly forselfish reasons, benefits to the grim situation include preventing family fromaccruing future debt. In a study conducted on two hundred patients receivingphysician assisted suicide in Oregon, one of the concerns of patients included becominga “burden on family and friends” (Dahl, Levy).

This accounts for the cost ofkeeping someone alive who does not wish to suffer as well as watching friendsand family emotionally suffer, and if America were to adopt something similarto the Death with Dignity Act like Oregon, the state could prevent debt andmisery surrounding dying people. Although this was once attempted in 2007 withthe California Compassionate Choices Act, which included stricter guidelinesthan the Death with Dignity Act like shorter life expectancy, it was neverpassed (Tucker ). While this may not have been passed, by reassessing thesituation and looking at hospice care costs it seems irrational to keep aterminally ill person alive who does not wish to continue living in pain. When a terminally ill person is kept alive against their wishes it does notjust hurt them it hurts other patients as well because they are using doctors,nurses and other medical machinery to prolong a life the individual is notgoing to fight for. A judge, when asked about the issue replied by saying thatprolonging a life when the outcome is death is not the state’s business nor isit the state’s business to keep a person in agony against their wishes (Steinbock). All doctors maingoal is save lives as it should be, but in some cases by keeping a person whenfacing imminent death, a doctor is saving less people in the long run. Somepatients in these situations may be able to donate viable organs and helpothers who have a better chance of living as well as allowing the doctorscurrently helping them save others. A doctor’s main job is to save a patient’slife; there is no denying that but when it hurts a patient more to keep themalive when death is inevitable the situation need to be reevaluated.

There are many who argue that physician assisted suicide is morally wrong andshould not be further implemented in our country for that reason alone. It isargued that by allowing some terminally ill or facing imminent suffering peoplethe right to die, what is to say that a perfectly healthy person does not havethat same right? In reality, it is not as black and white as most would like tothink, by keeping terminally sick people alive and prolonging pain andsuffering it does not benefit anyone. The benefits occur when a patient has tothe opportunity to utilize physician assisted suicide and end their sufferingas well as possibly helping families and other patients. This is by no meansthe path for every terminally ill or physically suffering patient to take butit is a right that should not be denied and America should take further stepsto creating options and promote privacy when making these decisions. Works Cited Alstyne, William Van. “Duke Law Journal No. 6: 1677-1688 Jstore Web.

” n.d. “Closing the circle of constitutional Review from Criswold v. Connecticut to Roe v. Wade: an outline of decision merely overruling roe.”. Dahl, E.

, And N. Levy. “BMJ: British Medical Journal 32.6 Jstor. Web.” n.

d. “The Case for Physician Assisted Suicide: How can it Possibly Be Proven? . Karaim, Reed.

“CQ Researcher 17 May 2013: 449-72.” n.d. Assisted Suicide. Steinbock, B. “BMJ: British Medical Journal, N.D.

” n.d. “The Case for Physician Assisted Suicide:not (yet)proven”. Tucker, Kathryn. “Michigan Law Review 106: 1593-1611 .

” n.d. “In the Laboratory of the States: The Progress of Glucksberg’s Invitation to States to Address End-of-Life Choice”.  


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