A hot debated topic amongst the public is the topic of euthanasia. The debate, to be exact, is on whether or not active euthanasia should be legalized. To take part in this debate it is important to know what euthanasia is and what it entails. Euthanasia is the assisted termination of terminally ill patient’s life in order to relieve them of pain. There are various forms of euthanasia such as voluntary euthanasia and passive euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia, also known as assisted euthanasia, occurs when a patient, who is conscious of his medical history and is able to make decisions regarding his health, deliberately asks for their life to be ended. Voluntary euthanasia has been legalized in the in the state of Oregon, Vermont and Washington as well in countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. A famous case of assisted euthanasia is the case of Dr. Kevorkian, a medical pathologist who assisted patients in ending their life. Dr. Kevorkian began to assist patients in their search for death by supplying medication to the patient that would stop their heart, his first patient being an Oregon school teacher who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Immediately following the schoolteacher’s death Dr. Kevorkian called the police which resulted in a temporary arrest. In an interview following his first assisted suicide Dr. Kevorkian stated,
“My ultimate aim is to make euthanasia a positive experience,” he said. “I’m trying to knock the medical profession into accepting its responsibilities, and those responsibilities include assisting their patients with death.”(New York Times)
Dr. Kevorkian would go on to perform a total of 130 suicides over a period of eight years and would bring euthanasia to the forefront of medical and humanitarian debates.
In 2003, after the devastation from Hurricane Katarina, Memorial Medical Center was left with little resources to take care of their patients. In desperation, the faculty made a choice between who would be saved and who would be left to die. Faculty created a numerical system from one to three in which patients marked with a number one meant the patient would be saved and a number three meant that the patient was not a priority. To select the patients and their assigned number the medical faculty reviewed each medical filed and based their decision on how likely the patient was to survive. Patients who were terminally ill and that would take up too many resources in an attempt to keep them alive were given a three and left on the bottom of the faculty’s list for evacuation.
“Patients with a three were left untreated in order to turn the hospital’s limited resources towards more healthy patients. Those who were in fairly good health and could sit up or walk would be categorized “1’s” and prioritized first for evacuation. Those who were sicker and would need more assistance were “2’s.” A final group of patients were assigned “3’s” and were slated to be evacuated last. That group included those...