Euthanasia, also known as good death is defined by the article, ‘What Is Euthanasia?’, as the illegal, peaceful and painless death of a patient through medically administered drugs. Patients who are suffering from a terminal or incurable illness deserve the freedom of choosing to continue to fight or choosing how they end their lives. Euthanasia is not suicide if the patient is deciding to do it for the sake of their own comfort and as a last resort. Their right is wrongfully taken away due to people’s personal and emotional beliefs without thoughtful and empathetic consideration for the patients well-being. The right to die should be seen as an ethical option for critically ill patients.
In 1994, assisted suicide was first legalized in the state of Oregon. The article, “Is There a Right to Die?” reveals that “1,173 patients have received life-ending medication and 752 of those patients died… 30 to 50 percent of the people who are prescribed end-of-life medication never take it… Those that choose to do, do so only when it is clear that death is “imminent and inevitable”. Expert and president of Compassion & Choices, Barbara Coombs Lee argues against the belief in life-ending medication only being requested by suicidal individuals. By using her data, she reveals that only about half the people who request it do not bother taking it in the end unless necessary. Coombs Lee closes with stating that people do not want to take the medication just because they’ve given up, but to be set at peace. A terminally ill patient’s pain can reach a point where there is nothing more they can do.
In 2014 a family friend, Sharon Torrico, was diagnosed with ALS. In the early stages, her muscles would cramp and she’d get joint pains. She then became very weak and it became difficult to lift her arms or even swallow her food. In the final stages, she was paralyzed. She was incapable of physically functioning by herself to the point where she had to be fed by tubes and could only communicate with her eyes. She and her family had considered seeking help with euthanasia; she was basically gone, but they were declined by many. According to the piece, “Facts You Should Know”, the average time expectancy for patients with ALS is two to five years, therefore, with their limited time, they decided to savor every last minute they had with Sharon. She fought for two years and passed away in 2016. Within those two years, Sharon was uncomfortable; it was hard on her and her family to see her in that state she was in. If euthanasia were legal, Sharon and her family would have gone through with their decision, and she wouldn’t have had to suffer for two long years.
Many would argue against Sharon’s family for considering, as some may say, “killing” her, but they were looking into what was best for her. Euthanasia provides comfort for the patient, but to what extent is this okay? Nordqvist, author and founder of Medical News Today, asks his readers: “What about their loved ones? And how is this any better than committing suicide themselves”? There are several arguments and questions asked as to why the right to die should not be given, but at the end of the day it is the patient’s choice.
Although, if and when the right is granted, limitations must be set. Euthanasia should only be available to those who are terminally ill, who are in too much pain to live or can no longer do anything for themselves, where doctors know there’s nothing else to be done. Yes, their loved ones will grieve, but so does everyone else who loses somebody to natural causes of death. Death is part of life and for a patient who knows their time is coming, it gives them time to prepare their family and friends to say goodbye. Euthanasia is a more humane option compared to somebody taking their life in a harsh way. It allows a person to peacefully end their lives on their own terms.
Terminally ill patients should be permitted to choosing when it’s their time to die with the assistance of euthanasia. It’s unfair to them to make it illegal taking away their sense of control over their own life. Choosing to die with the assistance of euthanasia is not unethical. It is not inhumane. It is a right that is selfishly and unfairly taken away from somebody’s loved one who is suffering.