Euthanasia and Aging: The Right to Die

Essay by debrawrigleyUniversity, Bachelor's November 2008

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Euthanasia: Is it a Right?It is time to take your head out of the sand and look at the subject of euthanasia. Many people are for it when it comes to people of elderly years. Many are against it for anyone. There are still more who look the other way and hope someone will decide the issue for them. It is against the law in most of America. It is legal in the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Oregon, USA. Should we head toward a universal law on this matter? There are American doctors who do it on the sly; all parties concerned keeping it quiet. There are many cases where no one has been prosecuted for breaking this law.

Reasons for Euthanasia and the Right to DieShouldn't a patient's right to autonomy factor into end of life decisions? The American Medical Association's Code of Medical Ethics states "physicians have an obligation to relieve pain and suffering and to promote the dignity and autonomy of dying patients in their care.

This includes providing effective palliative treatment even though it may forseeably hasten death."(Tucker, 2003, p. 10) A patient has a few options if they know their condition will steadily worsen. They can fill out a Do Not Resuscitate Order. This allows doctors to relinquish using life-sustaining technology. An Advance Directive can be made; this is a set of instructions, usually written, that allows the specification of the kind of treatment wanted if, in the future, a person were very ill and unable to make decisions. A Living Will can be drawn up. This document can be a part of an Advanced Directive. Basically, it states the wishes for medical treatment when a person is in imminent danger of dying. (Executive Office on Aging, 2003) The problem with these methods is that...