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Assisted Suicide Facing The End Of Life With Personhood

1972 words - 8 pages

It is upsetting and depressing living life in the shadow of death. One reason is that we are all aware of the fact that we are going to die, and most of us are afraid of suffering through a terminal illness. The normal process of dying is frequently hidden from us, with family members dying in hospitals and nursing homes. The process of dying is unknown and frightening. We will all die. We may be able to postpone death but we cannot avoid it. We all die of something, somewhere, somehow. Although we cannot avoid death, we can control the death caused by a terminal illness. We can determine how, when, and with whom we die.Right now at this time, there are over 10,000 patientsin the United States that are in a permanent vegetativestate. With the technology we have today, we are ableto help people survive for long periods. About twomillion Americans die every year. About eight fivepercent of them are in institutions. Eighty percent ofthem are involve in a decision by someone to try toprolong life or let it go. It is estimated that aroundfour of every five Americans will die of lingering,chronic illness, which cannot be cured but can beartificially prolonged. (Taylor, 2006, p.36).Competent, rational human beings must have the right to determine their own health care according to their personal wishes, values, and beliefs, as long as such a determination does not jeopardize the safety or well-being of any other person.Today's advanced medical technologies compound this suffering in ways that earlier generations were spared. More hopelessly ill people are being kept alive in some monstrous machine operated imitation of life. To the unspeakable terror of death, has been added the immeasurable horror of being kept alive while all but dead. Advanced medical technologies sorely test our capacity to make wise choices-whether to refuse or accept treatment, and how to weigh benefits with burdens. "Medical technology saves many lives, but it can also make dying a lengthy and torturous process". (Cunningham, 2002, p.14). In the rapidly changing world, scientific discoveries and technological advancement have brought many changes in our lives. We are surrounded by many unnatural creations that have served us well. Basically, "unnatural" is defined as inventions by the human race, are not formed by Mother Nature. Things which are unnatural are not always bad.Advanced medical technology has increased the expense of death. A New York Times Editorial, (1, January.1999.). Noted " Medicaid is currently one major financing source for custodial care but is available only to people with extremely low income, others have to deplete nearly all of their assets before qualifying for Medicaid".Encountering a patient who is suffering in the midst of a terminal illness is an all too common occurrence for Medical Professionals who care for the elderly. A frequent writer for the Washington Post, as well as a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, Marjorie Williams (2004) says:That...

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