Death With Dignity: Should They Have a Choice to Die?

Death is something we all must go through in life. Whether that be family members or loved ones, or ultimately your own death, it’s inevitable, you cannot escape it, it will happen. But how would you want to go? Would you want to live until your body can no longer function and you slowly waste away, or have you planned out one last grand adventure where you go out with a bang when your best years are seemingly behind you? But what if you were to be diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, or some other terminal cancer? Would you then want to continue living until the cancer wins? When you’re in so much pain you can’t even eat, sleep or move? Or would you want the choice to go peacefully and painlessly when you’re not enjoying being alive, when it all becomes too much?

This raises the questions of should individuals have a choice when it comes to ending their own lives? If that were so, Should it be up to the federal government to decide or the states? And last but not least, why would we need Physician assisted suicide in the first place, what does it do for people? Today in these next few minutes, I will answer these questions and show you exactly why Physician assisted suicide should be legal in all 50 states in the United States.

First, most people believe that you should not take your life or another’s based on certain religious beliefs. These certain beliefs that I have looked at stem from Christianity in the 6th commandment which reads “thou shall not Murder” from exodus 20:13. And the Christians view suicide as murder of oneself. Murder is considered a sin that is unforgiveable. So the bible says. Meaning you will be sent to hell after your passing. I guess for some people that would be enough to scare them away from suicide, and giving those who believe in all this the idea that since they can’t do it, no one can, because it’s bad and immoral. Well what works for one person may not work for the next. Taking the religious aspect for example, religion may work for you but it doesn’t work for me. So to bring another side to this, my views on suicide from my perspective, is that it should be up to the individual person. You didn’t ask to be conceived, you didn’t ask to be born, and so how selfish of those around you that asks you to be alive when you don’t want to be anymore. When you cannot get out of bed because the pain and emotional hurt makes you feel literally chained down to your bed, when you cannot function, can’t move sleep eat or talk anymore, what’s really the point in living?

You have family and friends begging you to hang on and the cliché, oh it’ll get better, when all you want is to let go, because you know no, it won’t get better, it never does. It’s incredibly selfish to ask someone to live just because you’ll miss them for a month or so. Selfish to make someone continue to live in agony because you can’t let go and let them be at peace and make their own life choices on THEIR life. Contrary to popular belief, suicide only hurts the victim, not a single other soul. Like I said death is inevitable, you have to get over it. When someone believes their time has come, let them go. Stop trying to play god and let them go. They aren’t killing you, so you really have no say in the matter.

Now, since the issue of whether or not people should have the choice has been covered, we move onto how should the citizens be protected? When an issue isn’t brought up in the constitution, the 10th amendment says that any power not given to the federal government, and is not prohibited to the states, shall be decided upon by the states. So since there is no suicide law/clause in the constitution, the states win in this case, however due to the general welfare of the people, this should be agreed upon nationwide. You look into this a bit further, the only reason Physician assisted suicide is looked down upon is of the moral issue at hand, where death by suicide is the unforgivable sin. Where have we seen this before? Religion of Christianity. In the constitution it also says right in the first amendment that there shall be no establishment of religion. Seems a bit strange to me a value from one set and popular religion, is being upheld, but none from others.

In the United States we have 4 states that have adopted assisted dying laws. (Those states being Washington, Vermont, Montana and Oregon.). They have their laws set as restricted to terminally ill and mentally competent adults as the American college of physicians’ points out. These states have decided the choice of death is necessary, but people are against this because they don’t really know what it is about, or what takes place.

Physician assisted suicide is often confused with euthanasia. Physician assisted suicide is the case when the physician provides the necessary means or information, then the patient either performs the act or does not. Euthanasia would be if the physician took it upon themselves to end the life of the patient painlessly and quickly out of mercy for the patient. (Northwestern college). Based on recent studies, 57% of physicians practicing today have received a request for some form of PAS. However physicians have an obligation to relieve pain and suffering and to promote the dignity of dying patients in their care. And that the principle of patient bodily integrity requires that physicians must respect patient’s competent decisions to forgo life sustaining treatment. These two factors are something that all organized medicine agrees upon (northwestern college).

Patients make requests for many different reasons usually stemming from: physical, physiological, social, spiritual suffering or from practical concerns. For some patients the initial request is the first expression of unrelieved suffering. Getting a doctor to approve the request isn’t an easy task. Each person is required to list a unique set of needs and reasons why they want to die. A study by van der wal, showed patients who were depressed were 4 to 5 times more likely to have made serious inquires about Physician assisted suicide. More prominent reasons for requests include fears of future suffering, loss of control, indignity and being a burden to others.

Getting approval isn’t easy like I said. There’s a certain checklist that is gone through. Those points including:  Asses the root causes of the specific request. Make a commitment to the patients care. Address each source of suffering. Educate the patient about legal alternatives, and seek counsel from colleagues. (Northwestern university).This decision isn’t mindlessly made or approved. There are months of meetings, education and research that goes into the ultimate choice.

Ultimately it shouldn’t be doctors, family or friends having input or a say in what you want with your life. Like I said earlier, the only reasons why someone would want to keep someone who is miserable all the time alive against their will, is for selfish reasons. It isn’t your life they are trying to end, so why should it matter so much to you? If you take this death with dignity option away from these who suffer, they are still going to take their lives, but in a more inhumane and cruel way. Death is already hard enough to deal with, let them do it with dignity, make this legal for those who need a way out.