Majority of US states have capital punishments (Proquest n.pag.). The 36 states that allow death penalties all offer lethal injection as a method of execution for those convicted of heinous crimes (Snell 3). Specifically, “Of the 43 executions carried out in 2012, all were by lethal injection” (Snell 3). Ending the life of a criminal is entirely legal, however, ending the life of an anguished patient is only legal in several foreign countries and “3 US states, as of March 2013” (Ho n.pag.). Criminals of crimes such as aggravated murder, killing a police office, and kidnapping all get to die painlessly and peacefully (Snell 5); yet those who have lived an innocent life who now undergo severe pain have to suffer through and die dependent on machines to live their lives for them. If a physician advises or aids a patient in ending his or her life, he could be convicted and punished with a penalty equal to that of first-degree manslaughter (Wolfe n.pag.). It seems that US priorities on the equality of end-of-life care are misguided and tyrannical. In order to ease the dying’s suffering, along with protecting their dignity and independence, Physician Assisted Suicide, (PAS) and Euthanasia should be legalized in the US as an option for the terminally ill who meet the requirements.
Legalization of Assisted suicide and Euthanasia would free those diagnosed fatally ill from an agonizing death. Some would argue that pain is manageable with strong narcotics, yet “Only 40-60% of pain … gets relieved …. about ⅓ of patients have pain that is intolerable, not controlled when it could be” (Wolfe n. pag.). And when pain is managed and, “the ravages of… diseases often cause incontinence, severe weight loss, dementia, nausea and other symptoms that patients find exhausting and humiliating” (Wolfe 9). Dr. Wim Distelmans, a Belgian doctor who co-chairs a federal board that rieves whether the euthanasia cases carried out have complied to Belgian law, speaks on the choice patients would have to make to ease their suffering:
I can assure most people don’t want to die. But sometimes there are people who are suffering to such a degree- physically, psychologically, existentially- that they don’t want to suffer any longer. They don’t want to die, but they don’t want to suffer. The only option to no longer suffer is to choose the other option. They choose death. (Hamiliton n.pag.)
Yet, patients could forego all this pain once PAS is legalized.
Along with a pain free death, PAS would allow suffering patients to die with their dignity in tact. Some of the side effects of dying include “.. pain, fatigue, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite and weight, dry mouth, bed sores, depression, confusion or delirium, and vomiting, constipation or diarrhea...” (McQuade n.pag.). For some, they wanted to die as themselves, not who their disease made them. In example, Pam Wald talked about her husband, Ben, who “‘didn’t want to live uncomfortably. He was down to 118 pounds. He had a...