Working Towards Compassion for Terminally Ill Patients— Legalization of Euthanasia

Essay by rosirisHigh School, 10th gradeA, February 2008

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An accident just occurred and it has left a driver trapped in his vehicle; police officers, firefighters, and emergency assistance are contacted. For one police officer, it is clear that the driver will die before the firefighters are able to rescue him because the car is going to explode any minute, producing the driver's excruciating death. The driver notices the police officer at his side and knowing his appalling, dreadful, and irreversible fate, he asks the policeman to give him the right to die in a tender and almost tranquil method- a gunshot. The officer is settled into what is commonly regarded as the "policeman's dilemma" and is left with two choices: allow the driver to die in the engulfing flames of the fire, permitting him a lethargic and agonizing death, or give him the shot that will grant the driver the right to die in a less painful, yet gentle death (The Policeman's Dilemma; Euthanasia (1) 1).

It is the same situation that a physician encounters daily when treating terminally ill patients. Physicians stumble upon a question daily referring towards the validation of the reason to preserve a life, only to allow a patient pass through a series of painful and lasting process of death, when it could instead be ended peacefully and tenderly.

An example of a long-lasting death is Karen Ann Quinlan, who is the landmark case of the "right to die." Quinlan was admitted in a comatose state into the intensive care unit of a hospital located in New Jersey. She lay debilitated and purportedly moribund but was sustained by artificial means, constantly showing no hope of recovery. Quinlan's parents asked to have their daughter to be disconnected from artificial respirators so that she could pass away in an unruffled. The medical staff in the...