Physician assisted suicide: Whose Choice Is It?

Essay by anncomCollege, UndergraduateA+, December 2002

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Euthanasia: Whose Choice Is It?

Most people in North America die what may be called a bad death. One study

found that, "More often than not, patients died in pain, their desires concerning

treatment neglected, after spending 10 days or more in an intensive care unit."

(Introduction 1)

Is a painful death a natural and acceptable fact of life? It is my belief that a

person with a terminal disease enduring uncontrollable pain who has the desire to

end their life should be able to do so. Unfortunately, many groups and government

agencies have taken it upon themselves to block a patient's access to an early death via a

lethal dose of prescription drugs from their own physician. This leaves many ill people

desiring to end their lives no choice but to wait until the disease kills them in it's slow,

painful and debilitating way.

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." (Introduction 1)

One type of euthanasia is called passive euthanasia. Passive euthanasia is when a

patient doesn't have a hand in their own death. Examples of passive euthanasia include

the action of when a patient's ventilator is turned off, food and water are no longer given

to the patient or a DNR (do not resuscitate) order is given. These actions are usually

spelled out in a patient's living will or requested by family members if the patient is in a

vegetative state. A living will expresses your wishes regarding medical care in the event

you become unable to express them yourself.

Another type of euthanasia is called active euthanasia. Active euthanasia occurs when

a patient's life is...