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Assisted Suicide: Do You Have The Right To Die?

814 words - 4 pages

Dr. Jack Kevorkian was an activist in the 1990s who believed that “dying is not a crime”. With his belief of having the right to die, he assisted more than 120 individuals with their suicides. For assisting with his patients' deaths, Dr. Kevorkian was charged with second degree murder and ultimately lost his medical license. With the mentioned case listed as an example, many physicians and others in the medical profession refuse to medically assist in a patient's suicide for fear of losing their license or being incarcerated. However, it may be beneficial to allow a person the right to die if they so choose.

Assisted suicide, also known as “pulling the plug”, is a viable choice for terminally ill patients to die with dignity. Dying with dignity is an honorable to some, including the Romans. In Rome, “suicide was not punishable if 'it was caused by impatience of pain or sickness, or by weariness of life... lunacy, or fear of dishonor'.” Their philosophy was living nobly also meant dying nobly and at the right time. For terminally ill patients, the right time to die may be when they are diagnosed with their illness or when pain due to their illness overwhelms them. In the article “Is It Merciful to Help a Terminally Ill Person Die”, one of the terminally ill women recalled her husband shooting himself when he was diagnosed with cancer; she did not shoot herself but agreed that her husband “did it the right way.” Because she was afraid of committing suicide, she assisted the help of her friend and soon the doctors, who could not assist in ending her life and instead gave her morphine. Because of the doctor not assisting her with ending her life, she had to live the rest of her life in pain. Had she received medication to help her with passing, she would have died with dignity.

Dying with dignity may also be a wish for parents with children who are terminally ill. The cold fact is “cancer alone kills more than two thousand kids each year in the United States, and thousands of others succumb to chronic genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, or perish in ICU [intensive care unit] beds after sustaining irreversible trauma.” Since illnesses such as cancer are incurable, some parents may wish to speed their child's death to prevent them from living with pain. There are...

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