It is upsetting and depressing living life in the shadow of death. One reason is that we are all aware of the fact that we are going to die, and most of us are afraid of suffering through a terminal illness. The normal process of dying is frequently hidden from us, with family members dying in hospitals and nursing homes. The process of dying is unknown and frightening. We will all die. We may be able to postpone death but we cannot avoid it. We all die of something, somewhere, somehow. Although we cannot avoid death, we can control the death caused by a terminal illness. We can determine how, when, and with whom we die.
Right now at this time, there are over 10,000 patients
in the United States that are in a permanent vegetative
state. With the technology we have today, we are able
to help people survive for long periods.
million Americans die every year. About eight five
percent of them are in institutions. Eighty percent of
them are involve in a decision by someone to try to
prolong life or let it go. It is estimated that around
four of every five Americans will die of lingering,
chronic illness, which cannot be cured but can be
artificially prolonged. (Taylor, 2006, p.36).
Competent, rational human beings must have the right to determine their own health care according to their personal wishes, values, and beliefs, as long as such a determination does not jeopardize the safety or well-being of any other person.
Today's advanced medical technologies compound this suffering in ways that earlier generations were spared. More hopelessly ill people are being kept alive in some monstrous machine operated imitation of life. To the unspeakable terror of death, has been added the immeasurable horror of being...