Buddy was my favorite part of my Aunt’s visits when I was younger. He was full of life, always in search of a new adventure. Soon, however, his adventures became battles against himself. Buddy started to form lumps which put him through agonizing pain. He went blind and no longer had the urge to eat. My aunt was faced with the burdensome decision to either put him to sleep or keep him alive in misery. While it was difficult for my Aunt to put Buddy to sleep, both she and the dog would be able to rest easily because he would be out of his suffering.
Should this be allowed for humans? One of the most controversial issues for centuries has been euthanasia and assisted suicide. While some see it as a way to let people be freed of their suffering, others see it as murder. They believe that people should be permitted to die without the intervention of others, despite the low quality of life the person may be living. While there may be issues concerning the morality of assisted suicide, people with terminal illnesses should have the right to attain death with help from physicians and lethal drugs.
Many people view assisted suicide as morally incorrect because they perceive it as the murder of a human being. The TFP Student Action is a group of Americans who fight for what they believe are moral values, such as being pro-life. Ben Broussard, one of the authors for TFP Student Action, wrote an article on why assisted suicide should be banned. He expressed that making assisted suicide legal could lead to euthanasia, which he claims is administered to others without consent.
Many believe that the terms “assisted suicide” and “euthanasia” are interchangeable; however, assisted suicide “refers to the prescription of lethal medication to be voluntarily self-administered by the patient” while euthanasia “refers to direct causation of death by a physician” (Goligher et al. ). Broussard stated that the Netherlands uses euthanasia frequently now to kill off people with diseases, thus murdering them (Broussard). Though doctors taking matters into their own hands could be a possibility, physicians are not authorized to carry out any actions without the patient’s consent.
Authors of Critical Care Medicine, a monthly medical journal in the field of intensive care-medicine, wrote an issue on the topic of physician-assisted suicide, also known as PAS. They affirmed that patient consent is the “key factor that distinguishes PAS from murder” (Goligher et al. ). As long as that is what the patient desires, it is not seen as murder because they gave their consent to be put to death with lethal drugs. As with any medical procedure, consent from the patient is necessary in order for the physician to carry out any actions.
For instance, if a physician administers anesthesia to a patient and performs surgery on him against his will, the physician will be faced with severe consequences, such as jail time. If assisted suicide was legal, the same rules would be enforced on the execution of that procedure. Additionally, Ben Broussard states that PAS is “incompatible with the physician’s role as healer. ” Before physicians are permitted to work with patients, they are required to take an oath which states that they will devote their lives to healing others.
Often, this oath is used against physicians who believe that PAS is moral, because it is believed that fulfilling people’s wishes to depart this world is not actually healing them. James Fieser is a professor of philosophy at the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he not only discusses philosophers and their works, but also controversial issues. In his piece about euthanasia, he states that just as animals are put out of their misery as an act of mercy, the same should be done for humans.
He is not comparing human lives to those of domestic animals and saying that they have the same value; he is saying that if an animal can be put out of their misery, the same should be done for humans instead of keeping them alive in pain (Fieser). The authors of the CCM Journal would agree with Fieser’s statement, because in their journal they said that there is no adequate reason why patients should not be allowed to die at a time of their own choosing rather than being forced to wait for their death to occur naturally (Goligher).
During this wait, patients are provided with as much palliative care as possible, which means that the medicine that they are receiving is not curing them, but keeping them alive for a longer amount of time. This in itself can be seen as immoral because it is selfish to keep someone who is in agony alive; nobody knows what that person is going through except themselves, so there is no reason to interfere with their decision if they give consent for physician-assisted suicide.
If pets are put to death because their owners do not want them to hurt any longer, people should have the right to make the same decision for themselves. Furthermore, assisted suicide enables people to be relieved from their suffering. In his journal, James Fieser stated that there are three conditions in which people seek death: when they are terminally ill, in intense pain, or voluntarily choose to end their live to escape anguish (Fieser). Ben Broussard, however, believes that another reason people may seek death is because they have been persuaded into believing that they are a burden (Broussard).
He is confident that legalizing physician-assisted suicide in all states would mean that relatives and family members would encourage the patient to be put to death in order to have access to inheritances they may leave behind (Broussard). Yes, this may happen in certain situations when the family is looking out for their own self-interest, and not the patient’s. Even if this is the case, the patient will most likely give their consent for assisted-suicide because they desire to be put out of their suffering.
Physicians are obligated to assist patients when they are in misery, so the patient’s wishes must be taken into account at all times. James Fieser expressed that some people believe that euthanasia is wrong because no one can tell if a person’s condition is truly hopeless; there is no arguing that this is not true, because there have been many cases where people have been in comas for years and have managed to wake up and recover. However, Fieser also states that people should “not be forced to endure degrading and humiliating situations in any component of our lives,” including the way they die (Fieser).
If a person has been in a coma for years, they would most likely prefer to be put to death rather than live their lives in a bed without any peace, merely because their family wants to keep them alive. It is likely that they would prefer to be outside of their hospital rooms, living their life to its full potential and paying attention to the small details of life. However, this is not their reality and terminally ill patients are forced to live their lives in a confined space, full of poor memories and the distinct smell of medicine.
Fieser also states that many people disagree with assisted suicide because the patient might not be in the “proper state of mind” to understand the option presented to them (Fieser). The physician that is in charge of a patient is a trained professional who has not worked with the patient for merely one day, but several months or possibly years. Therefore, if the patient is being presented with the option of assisted suicide, it is because their physician believes they are capable of making their own decisions and that they deserve to be put out of their misery. Alternatively, just as people the right to life, they should also have the ight to death. Ben Broussard stated that passing assisted suicide laws would motivate people to seek death to save money for their families (Broussard).
While this may be a reason to seek death, there are also multiple other factors which add to the decision to take lethal drugs. When people think about assisted suicide, they are taking into account their quality of life and the amount of suffering they are going through at the time. The authors of Critical Care Medicine expressed that sometimes, the positive aspects of being alive are outweighed by the burdens of being alive (Goligher et al. . Therefore, physicians are entitled to help ease a patient’s suffering through lethal drugs if they believe that is the best option for themselves. James Fieser agrees with the CCM, and quoted American philosopher Joel Feinberg, who declared that just as humans have the rights to come or go and to read or not to read, they should have the right to live or die as they choose. If someone truly feels that life does not have any value anymore because their pain is unbearable, then they should have the right to be freed from their pain through assisted suicide.
Furthermore, conservatives and other opponents of assisted suicide use religion to prove that it is a method that is not morally correct. Ben Broussard stated that the practice of assisted suicide goes against the 5th commandment, which is that “thou shalt not kill. ” People believe that this commandment not only means to not kill others, but to not kill themselves as well. If someone is religious, then this belief makes sense and is a good enough reason to not support assisted suicide. If it is not God’s time, then it is the wrong time.
Yet, James Fieser and the authors of the Critical Care Medicine journal disagree with this idea. Though believers may trust that assisted suicide goes against God’s time, Fieser argued that God left it to humans to navigate their ways through life with the use of their human minds. God provided people with the freedom to make their own decisions, which include taking one’s life through different means. Both Fieser and the authors of the CCM journal agree that “if determining the time of death is entirely up to God, then it would be wrong to lengthen” lives by using medicine.
Therefore, physicians should not prolong life at all costs, especially if the patient is enduring excruciating pain. People need to remember that no matter what, God loves them and will not judge them for wanting to come home early. Given these points, it is evident that the United States should pass an assisted suicide law, which allows patients to be given lethal drugs as long as they understand the consequences and believe that death is more beneficial than their current situations.
If a patient gets to the point where death seems more appealing than living, it becomes essential for physicians to take action and find ways to appease the patient. However, giving them more medicine and palliative care is not going to truly satisfy them; putting them out of their misery and suffering is what is going to make the patients content. People need to understand that the ill patients who desire to put an end to their lives are not suicidal. They adore life just as much as everyone else does, but there comes a point in their lives where they feel as if death has more benefits than life itself.