Imagine briefly that your life is coming to a close and your living off breathing machines and eating through a tube. Terrifying right? Most everyone fears death to some extent and avoids discerning themselves with how they will die, but in that scenario, what would you do? In my opinion, a very personal choice must be made whether one would like to continue with their life as a vegetable or end the burden on oneself and loved ones by means of euthanasia. Every person is entitled to their own decision about the practice of voluntary euthanasia and that is why I believe it should be legalized and made an option for those who wish to embrace a timely death.
Before one can reach a conclusion about euthanasia, one must understand exactly what it means, what the implications are, and who it affects. The term euthanasia originated from the Greek word meaning “good death.” The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines the word as “the practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.” (Merrium-Webster.com). In fact, the term euthanasia contains multiple definitions of its own. Above all, voluntary and involuntary euthanasia differ entirely. When a competent individual makes a request to be assisted with death is voluntary euthanasia. To end a person’s life without their knowledge or consent is involuntary euthanasia. While that may feel basic to many of us, I feel it is important to establish the difference and which one should be made legal across the United States.
Assessing how much pain and suffering a person struggles with is close to impossible. For this reason, it is difficult to resolve whether voluntary euthanasia is the right choice. If euthanasia became legal in the United States similar to how it is in the Netherlands, doctors would face the unanswerable questions: what is unbearable pain and is euthanasia the only option? When a person states that they feel their life is done and can no longer deal with the suffering, the next step should be educating that person on all other choices they possess, then resorting to euthanasia (Smith). Being as such, I propose that patients be given the option of assisted suicide after exhausting all other medical treatment.
What is more, for many patients with terminal diseases, the quality of life decreases significantly after exasperating all other medical treatments. Numerous diagnoses today are chronic and degenerative, almost guaranteeing a slow and painful death. Deborah Gardner, a director at the Hawaii State Center for Nursing believes “technology has enabled the life of patients to be sustained well past their ability to make decisions.” At a certain point, doctors can only keep those patients alive with machinery and constant assistance from nurses. Plenty of people often feel that they are not truly living their lives at that point and have become a drain on their loved ones.
“Laws against euthanasia and...