Dying With Dignity
Suicide. What a compelling word. When looked up in the dictionary, this word is defined:
"su ÃÂ¯i cide- n. of oneself, 1 the act of killing ones self intentionally 2 ruin of ones interests . . . "
The act of taking ones life, on purpose. Interesting. Now add a second word to this already intriguing utterance. Assisted. Assisted Suicide. When looked up in the dictoinary the word assisted is defined as:
"as ÃÂ·sist- vt. 1 to give help to; aid 2 to work as a helper or assistant"
So basically, one person helping another kill his or herself intentionally. Now, this single statement might sound quite appaling until shown in a new and different light. Should a physician be able to help put a patient out of their misery if asked?
Throughout North America, committing suicide or attempting to commit suicide is not a legal offense.
However, helping another person commit suicide is a criminal act. One exception is the state of Oregon, which allows people who are terminally ill, and in intractable pain to get a lethal prescription from their physician. This is called "Physician Assisted Suicide," (PAS) or Euthanasia.
The word Euthanasia originated from the Greek language: eu means "good" and thanatos means "death". One meaning given to the word is "the intentional termination of life by another, at the explicit request of the person who dies." That is, the term euthanasia normally implies that the act must be initiated by the person who wishes to commit suicide. One recent study has shown that most people in North America die what is called a "bad death." "More often than not, patients died in pain, their desires concerning treatment neglected, after spending 10 days or more in an intensive care unit."