Too Proud To Die?

Essay by mahngielUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, January 2010

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We are born into this life with only one guarantee, death. The span of time in which death comes can be as short as a woman delivering a stillborn child, to as long as 122 years - the record set by a French woman in 1997. With advances in medicine and technology, doctors have been able to prolong death and even cheat it. In the end, however, we all succumb to the inevitable, having our loved ones say goodbye one last time as the decision as to what to do with our remains is determined.

Throughout the world, many studies have shown we spend exponentially more on medical costs at the end of our life than we do during its duration. As we age, our failing health requires more sophisticated attention. Our bodies begin to break down from the rigors and tortures we submitted ourselves through during our more youthful years.

Modern medicine is there to help us relieve back pain, clear clogged arteries, and even replace a broken hip. It also sustains our life after a dreadful accident in which we are placed in a coma and kept alive by respirators and medicines - sometimes we come out, sometimes we don't. People come about with cancers, many times operable and treatable with procedures and medications, but sometimes they are terminal.

Regardless of our ailments at our life's end, most people spend their last days in a hospital, and sometimes they spend their last months there as well. There is debate to whether or not this is helpful to the victim and their families. Even though many people have living wills which definitively state "do not resuscitate" - indicating their desire not to have any exigent care given if normal recuperative procedures fail to save their life - this is not always carried out as is intended. If a care facility feels there are still things they may be able to do to prolong the patients life, they are under pressure to do so. "DNR"s point out our desires to have death come with dignity, and not be kept alive solely by breathing apparatuses and the like.

Freedom. We like to be in control of our lives so invariably, it's a fundamental right written into our constitution. Is it so hard to conceive we want to be in control of our deaths as well? Whether a person suffers from chronic pains and illnesses which require constant aide or a mortally depressed person that cannot be helped, when we can no longer be a productive human being, is it not a freedom to release ourselves from the living? In the United States, however with limited exclusions, it is not legal to be aided in terminating your life. There are two categories to this, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

In viewing aide in suicide, euthanasia is when a doctor or physician injects a living person with a lethal cocktail. Whereas assisted suicide is prescribing a patient with a lethal overdose of medicine in which they will take on their own accord. Unless you live in Oregon or Washington state, a doctor may be tried for murder if either of the two methods are accomplished. Although over half of the States have brought resolutions to the voters, Oregon and Washington are the only two states which have passed measures allowing a person to legally decide when they wish to die - though the steps that get them to that point are very tiresome, and may even be impossible. Oregon, for example, requires a psychological visit, a second medical opinion to the terminal diagnosis' validity, a six month waiting period, and finally a written statement by the potential decedent.

There are only three nations, aside from the U.S.'s two states, that openly and legally allow assisted suicide or euthanasia: Switzerland, Belgium, and Netherlands. In these countries, governments have recognized a person's right to terminate their lives if the end will come soon and in a painful manner. There are a handful of countries - largely European - that although not open and legal, tolerate such manners of death. And there are the countries that will charge murder to anybody who aides simply by discussing different suicide methods with somebody. Regardless of the world-wide debate, there is one thing that will not change, everybody will die. The only thing that may be taken into consideration is how much empathy we are willing to place into a dieing person's state and be willing to alleviate their pain. One can examine the monetary benefit from having dieing patients in their care facilities, as it brings in a large amount of income, and may be a major deciding factor. Many people like to quote religion as being a reason against suicide, thinking that their God(s) will choose when your life ends. Ironically enough, every book of religion gives recounts of suicide.

People kill themselves every day - from the emotional teenager, to the overwhelmed young adult, and even the incapable elderly man with Alzheimer's. If a person really wishes to die, they shall find a way. When it comes to clean and dignified way of ending your life, I fully believe a person should be afforded that right. In gaining medical approval:1.An evaluation with a psychologist to ensure a person's state of mind to ensure the act is truly felt needed by the suicidee2.A meeting with a lawyer to ensure all estate and asset affairs are allocated according to wishes3.An establishment of wishes as what to do with one's remains4.A conscious statement signed and witnessed as to the desire for deathAs I stated before, the only thing guaranteed in this existence is death. It may come from another's malice or it may come from a freak accident. However which way death comes to your door, the sustainable fact remains that it will indeed come. The only thing we may do as friends and loved ones is allow it to come with dignity if so allowable. I know I would appreciate it.