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.

The Moment You Knew…

The moment you realized no one really cared, even though you spent so long believing they did, can be the most devastating experience. You thought you had so many friends , so many people that were going to be “best friends forever”, ended up being the ones who had the knife in your back. It’s been said that the ones you would take a bullet for, are most often the ones pulling the trigger. In my 18 years, I have never came across a statement so true. When you first meet someone, you don’t think “how is this person going to hurt and betray me?”, instead you spend days and nights talking to this person, tell them your deep dark secrets, tell them how others have hurt you and what you are most afraid of. Most of all, you tell them things you don’t tell anyone else. We shouldn’t do this. We have all been hurt at one point in our lives. Every single time we meet someone new, we think they couldn’t possibly hurt us. And more times than not, they take those secrets, and they spread them like wildfire. If they are really good at this twisted “game”, they are the ones to come up and tell you “have you heard what they are saying about you?”. I had a friend that did the same to me, or someone who pretended to care about me when it was ” convenient” for her. This was the hardest for me to realize and slowly let her go. I love her to death, but she is not who she thinks she is, She was the one to hurt me, pick me up, then bury me six feet under. For some reason I keep going back to her though, I think it was because she was so good at pretending. I would tell her things no one else knew, then I heard her mother talking about it to another group of people. Pretty soon everyone knew my business.Even when I came to her, she denied it. I believed her, and half of me still does.

Toxic relationships will kill you slowly. She turned my life upside down for about 3 years, when I blindly followed her, and failed to see when she was hurting me, or using me until the next “best friend” came along. I think this is why so many girls have trust issues. Or why so many do the same thing or don’t get out of these friendships or relationships even, because they think it is normal. They know no other way. I hope that someone reads this and realizes this. The person that you may be saying oh I love you , to, may be the one behind the lies and rumors being thrown in your face. People aren’t always what they appear to be. I had to learn the hard way, Maybe you don’t have to.

-Alyssa

What I’ve Learned This Past Year.

A year ago in 2014, I was finishing up my Senior year at Beavercreek High School, thinking that I had everything figured out. I planned to go to Ohio University with my boyfriend Justin, thought we were going to live in a dorm room together and everything would be perfect. I thought money was not a problem, time was not a factor , and distance from Beavercreek was a gift. Slowly, piece by piece, my beautiful plan fell apart. First it was the fact that I did not get accepted to OU, Justin got accepted to The University of Cincinnati, and I fell back on going to Miami University. Wasn’t good enough for Oxford, so they kicked me to Middletown, a regional campus. We live close to 40 minutes away , but that did not seem to be the issue at first. I had my own apartment, I was happy to be on my own, but as much as I hate to say it, I was not ready for this. I spent all my money on stupid items to make my depression ease up, to make the bad days better, but it only made it worse in the end. My job was absolute hell, I dreaded going every single day. My classes were not going well, and I lost textbooks in the mail, out over $200, that I never saw again. I made stupid mistakes that haunt me to this day, mistakes I wish I could go back and fix, maybe then I would not have had a slashed tire on a cold February morning. Maybe then I would not be afraid to sleep with the lights off, or without a can of pepper spray by my bed, just in case, you know.

I was always trying to be older than I really am, I hated how immature girls my age acted , I hated the rumors, drama and petty fights that they would start, because of that and because I spoke my mind, I did not have many friends. Looking back I really only had 4 real friends that are still by my side. I sat by myself at lunch as a senior in high school. I read books and pretended to do homework, all while fighting back tears, every single day. Sometimes the office ladies would give me a sorry look and I would get up and just go sit in the bathroom stalls so no one would have to feel sorry for me. One thing I really hated about the girls at BHS, was the fact they would not leave people in relationships alone. No need for name calling or going down to their low level, but I hope each and every one of you “ladies” read this at one point in your life and realize how disgusting and pathetic you were to go after the man that is the only reason why I’m alive, the man that means the absolute world to me and the man that I will be marrying in the near future. Was you ripping my heart apart and shattering my world really worth it? Did you get your good laugh when you saw how hurt I was? I hope you realize you were the reason I could not stop self harming in High school. Because every single time I thought a storm had passed, there was one of you lurking in the halls, touching my man and giving him your number, or literally pushing me out of the way to talk to him,. I know you did not do anything with my man, He goes for classy ladies, not pond scum. Yes, I know everything, I stayed back, because you were never worth my words. However, I always get the last word. ha,

This past year has taught me that the past is the past. As much as you may hate it, you cannot change it. learn from it, talk about it, and let it go, your future will become much brighter. Remember that no matter how distant people in your life may seem, when you need them, they will drop everything and come help you. Also, that cats are the staple for a happy life 🙂 I have learned I am not ready to grow up and be on my own quite yet, and that is okay, I think that is what some people need to realize. I learned it is okay to break down and have your world fall apart around you, how you handle that really defines who you are though. Don;t let this world break you, you are too young and too beautiful for that. Dry your eyes and fake a smile, don’t let them know they got to you, stay back and write a blog, and let everyone else know haha. You are only given one life, don’t spend it worrying about what others think or say. Don’t spend it crying at 4am about the past, and DO NOT spend it harming yourself, you are worth so much more than those demons lead you to believe. Find those who will drop everything for you, and hold them so tight , so so tight. Reach out to those who you maybe haven’t talked to that much, because who knows, like me, your boyfriend’s mother you’ve known for 4 years, could end up being your twin, and will help you through your rough patches. In a world of negative and darkness, those wonderful people in your life will always shine through and pick you up when you’re down. Let them help you. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for these people in this past year. I thank you from the bottom of my heart Anika, Justin, Aspen, Tailor, and Erin. Love you so much,

Until next time,

Alyssa