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Running head: DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz1
Death with Dignity
Katelyn J. Lutz
Alvernia University
DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 2
The Death with Dignity laws are accepted in the states, Oregon, Washington, Vermont,
Montana and New Mexico. These laws allow for terminally-ill, but mentally competent adults
who reside in these states to volunteer to request and receive a prescribed medicine to quicken
their death. Oregon was the first state to approve this law in 1994 then later confirming their
support in 1997 which is when it went into effect as The Oregon Death with Dignity Act. After
that, Washington voters had the law passed in 2008 and implemented in 2009 and in 2013
lawmakers in Vermont portray their assisted death law as it was passed through legislation.
Patients who want to go through with this action have to be qualified to do so and have a
licensed physician caring for their needs to implement these laws on each and every patient since
every single one has different issues and needs. (Contemporary catholic health care ethics (2nd
ed.)).
Eligibility
Patients who are terminally-ill and who wish to access a prescription under the Oregon,
Washington, Vermont, Montana or New Mexico law, are eligible as a resident in one of those
states. Other requirements for physician-assisted suicide are that a patient must qualify for is they
need to be eighteen years or older and they have to be capable of communicating and making
competent health care decisions on their own. Lastly, the patient must have been diagnosed with
a terminal illness that will lead to their death within or less than six months. (Death with Dignity
National Center, 2014).
Patient’s Residency
To be able to be prescribed any sort of medication to hasten death, the patient must be
able to provide their physician a proof of residency according to that state’s laws and there is no
DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 3
timetable associated with establishing any residency. There is no minimum residency
requirement as long as the patient can simply prove they are a current, legitimate resident of
Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana or New Mexico. A state issued ID like a driver’s
license, documents showing that the patient owns or rents property in one of the five states, a
voter’s registration, or recent state tax return are all types of proof that a patients can use in the
application process. After this, the physician in charge must make a decision on if the patient has
properly and appropriately established residency. A person can move to one of the five states
where physician-assisted suicide is legal, but reports have shown that not many people have
chosen to make the move. (Death with Dignity National Center, 2014).
Request Timeline
Following, are the steps a patient must go by to use the law: an oral request must be made
to the physician, a fifteen day waiting period, then a second request to the physician. After the
second request, a written request needs to be made to the physician, then forty-eight hour waiting
period before the prescribed medicine can be picked up, after that, the patient is bale to pick-up
their prescription at the pharmacy. (Boyce, J., 2012).
Protecting all Citizens
Patients are protected by safeguards and if the law is used then they are in full control of
their process and that there are no chances that the patients are forced to their death. The
terminally-ill patient is required which are: to verbally request the medication from the physician
twice and each one is separated by the fifteen days. They make a written request to their
physician and that request is also witnessed by two other individuals who cannot primarily be
family members or caregivers. The patient can cancel any verbal and written request during any
DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 4
time. The patient wishing to access their rights under the law also must be able self-administer
and consume the medicine prescribed. The physician in charge of the care for the patient must be
licensed in the same state as the patient and the physician’s diagnosis has to include that the
patient with the terminal illness has six months or fewer to live. The diagnosis must also be
certified by a consulting physician who has to certify that the patient is indeed mentally
competent to communicate and make such decisions on their health. In any case that the
patients’s judgments are impaired, the patient must be referred for a psychological examination
and the attending physician must inform the patient about alternatives like pain management or
hospice options and that physician has to request that the patient inform their closest family
members about the prescription request. The attending physician is responsible for reporting
every prescription to the state. Lastly, under the law, the patient’s life insurance policies and
status of their health in regards to the health care system, the physician is obligated to participate
in the Death with Dignity laws. (Boyce, J., 2012).
The Evolving State of Physician-Assisted Suicide
The question, “Should terminally ill patients have the right to kill themselves?” is often a
questioned asked when it comes to discussion about Death with Dignity laws. Since Oregon
gained the right to these laws, over nine-hundred patients have chosen to exercise their rights
under the right to use the law, although not all have taken the prescription given to them and
instead “just deal” with their illness. The medicine used and self-administered by the patient is
called Seconal, a barbiturate that is also prescribed by doctors to treat insomnia or to calm
patients before getting surgery. The capsule contents are stirred into water or applesauce. The
Oregon Department of Health show statistics that in most cases, patients consciousness is lost
within five minutes of swallowing the drug, but it could take one minute to even four days to die.
DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 5
The average time is usually about twenty-five minutes. In Oregon, most patients who made the
decision to use the law are ninety-eight percent white and eighty-one percent were battling some
form of cancer. Fifty-two percent of patients were male and the average age of those using the
Death with Dignity laws were seventy-one years old. The top three end of life concerns with the
patients were stated as, “loss of autonomy, loss of dignity and the fact that they were less able to
engage in activities making life more enjoyable.” Most of these patients were enrolled in hospice
and had private insurance. Since Washington laws were accepted, one-hundred thirty five people
have died from the lethal dose of the prescription. Massachusetts wants to get the Death with
Dignity law passed and approved, however the Catholic Church has no interest in the topic and
believes, “Our society will be judged by how we treat those who are ill and infirm…They need
our care and protection, not lethal drugs.” Conflicting, it’s the people of the state that ultimately
get to make the decision on what the law’s fate will be, not the Catholic leaders, lawmakers or
even professionals in health care. Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor of Massachusetts Medical
Society’s New England Journal of Medicine, weighs in on the subject with her own opinions
stating, “I am less concerned with what doctor’s want than with what patients want. I think
doctors sometimes have a too-narrow idea of what their own obligations are. They feel they have
an obligation to extend life even when it can’t be extended significantly. And even if you have
that situation, then it seems to me they have two obligations. One is to support the autonomy, the
self-determination of their patients. And the other is to relieve suffering. If you can’t extend life
significantly, then you must relieve suffering.” In today’s society, people are living longer and
longer than ever before which makes the questions that come along with the topic of end-of-life
much harder to think about with families. (Death with Dignity National Center, 2014.)
DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 6
Doctor’s Role in Assisted Dying
An Oregon citizen, Peggy Sutherland, was ready to end her life when it came to the pain
that came along with her lung cancer. Sutherland, “needed so much morphine to help with her
pain that it could actually cause her to go unconscious,” her daughter, Julie, claimed. Sutherland
decided to use Oregon’s Death with Dignity laws. On the fifteenth day, the doctor and her
husband met her at the pharmacy and they all went back home with her until her heart stopped
beating, “she didn’t want to wait any longer.” Doctors’ role in the law is to prescribe the
medicine along with the other qualifications that are stated previously, but not all doctors are on
board with the Death with Dignity law and choose to not have anything to do with it. Doctor Lisa
Lehmann, director of the Center for Bioethics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston as
well a professor at Harvard Medical School says, “Prescribing a lethal medication with the
explicit intent of ending life is really at odds with the role of the physician as a healer.”
(compassionandchoices.org). According to the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care
in 2008, more than two-thirds of American doctors object to physician-assisted suicide. Lehmann
also adds, “I believe patients should have control over the timing of death if they desire. And I
suggest rethinking the role of physicians in the process so we can respect patient choices without
doing something at odds with the integrity of physicians.” Although, Barbara Coombs Lee,
president of the Denver nonprofit Compassion and Choices disagrees with Lehman and quotes
that, “Patients deserve to have their physician accompany them there and not walk away.
Anything that improves access to assisted dying is a step forward, but I think shepherding
patients through their final days is a huge part of a physician’s responsibility.” (Compassion &
Choices, 2012).
DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 7
The Story of Brittany Maynard
Before Maynard decided to use the Death with Dignity law to end her life, she was a
volunteer with the Compassion and Choices organization where she was an advocate for end-of-
life choices. For Brittany, it all started on New Year’s Day, headaches that caused her to not be
able to participate in her daily activities and little did she know that these headaches would
change her life. An aggressive brain cancer, glioblastoma, had taken over Maynard’s body and
was spiraling out of control. There was no cure for this cancer, and no treatments that could keep
her from dying. Brittany Maynard had less than six months to live and she had only been married
to her husband for just over a year. She was twenty-nine years old when the diagnosis came and
she and her husband wanted to start a family of their own. The cancer shot down all their
opportunities, causing Brittany to spend consecutive days in the hospital. Just nine days after the
cancer diagnosis, Maynard underwent surgery, a partial craniotomy and a partial resection of her
temporal lobe. These surgeries were to help the tumor to stop growing. April came around and
Brittany and her family heard the worst news they could every think of…the tumor came back. It
came back bigger and more aggressive than ever causing the doctors to give her a prognosis of
only six months of life to live. The doctors wanted to try full brain radiation due to the tumor
being overwhelmingly large in size. The side effects included that Brittany’s hair on her scalp
would “singe off,” and “be covered with first-degree burns.” The quality of life as Brittany
Maynard knew it as, was over. Months went by and after extensive research, Brittany and her
family came to a conclusion that nothing was going to save her life. There were no treatments
left, only ones that would end any time left she had to live. One thought of Maynard’s was to
pass away in hospice care at home where she lived in San Francisco, but she learned that with
palliative medication, she would eventually develop morphine-resistant pain. This would cause
DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 8
other side effects like personality changes and even cognitive, verbal and motor loss. This
answer to her belief, was the definition of suffering and she didn’t want her family to see her
“suffer,” until she passed away. After researching about Death with Dignity, Maynard made her
decision that she will use the law to end her life if the “dying process becomes unbearable.” She
had all the qualifications to use the law except she did not live in a state that approved of it.
Since she decided it was ultimately the best option for her and her family, they moved from
California to Oregon because Oregon is one of the states where the Death with Dignity law is
authorized. Maynard had to find all new doctors, establish a residency in Portland, Oregon, find
a home, get a new Driver’s License, change her voter’s registration and find people who would
be in charge of her and her husband’s animals. Her husband, Dan Diaz, had to take a leave of
absence from his job during this process. Once all was in place, Maynard got her hands on the
medication that will end her life when she decides to ingest it. She held onto the medicine for a
while, for she does not want to die, she is “not suicidal,” but she is dying and “wants to do it on
her own terms.” Brittany Maynard didn’t want to change anyone’s opinion on whether or not
they should choose to use the law if they are in the position to do so, she simply just wanted
people to know that no one has the right to tell her, or anyone that they don’t deserve their own
choice. Through using the law, she wanted people to know that no one deserves to suffer for
periods of time in any amount of pain whether is physical, mental and/ or emotional. She claimed
that even though she has the medication in hand, there is a chance that she may choose not to
take it, it’s simply a “sense of relief,” to just have it in her possession because it takes away the
senses she had of pain, fear and uncertainty that she otherwise would have if she didn’t have the
prescription. Maynard claims that now she is at peace with enjoying the remainder of time she
has left to spend time with her loved ones, doing things she’s always wanted to do. Maynard’s
DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 9
one goal was to celebrate her husband’s birthday with him, on October 26, 2014 and then choose
to end her life on a day soon after the celebration, “unless her condition improves dramatically.”
Brittany Maynard decided to ingest the prescribed barbiturates on November, 1st
2014 to
end her life. Just as she wanted, Maynard passed away in her bedroom on the second floor with
her mother, stepfather, husband and her best friend right by her side. She dreamed of dying
peacefully and said, “I can't imagine trying to rob anyone else of that choice.” Before her passing
she stated, “I hope for the sake of my fellow American citizens that I'll never meet that this
option is available to you. If you ever find yourself walking a mile in my shoes, I hope that you
would at least be given the same choice and that no one tries to take it from you.” (Life News,
2014).
Conclusion
Terminally ill patients face a huge predicament in how to live their last days of life while
living on the edge of almost torture and pain. While some are willing to brave nature and face a
slow death, others really wish for faster and less painful methods to die. Physicians may assist
such persons to end their lives by administering life ending medication to these patients. There
are many ethical reasons that are opposed to any physician assisted suicides. Similarly, there are
several ethical reasons that support this procedure. “Some of these ethical reasons include liberty
interest, dignity in death, cost benefit analysis and proper legislation to guide the already
prevalent practices.” (Death with Dignity National Center). Additionally courts have not
expressly decided that it is illegal simply providing guideline on the matter. In conclusion,
legalizing Physician assisted suicide will go far in maintaining the dignity of the patient and
other ethical aspect as discussed in this paper.
References
DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 10
Boyce, J. (2012, July 16). Compassion & Choices: The evolving state of physician-assisted
suicide. Retrieved from https://www.compassionandchoices.org/tag/death-withdignity-
act/page/2/
Death with Dignity National Center. (2014). Retrieved from
http://www.deathwithdignity.org/access-acts
Kelly, D., Magill, G., & Ten Have H. (2013). Contemporary catholic health care ethics (2nd
ed.).
Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
Life News. (2014). Suicide Prevention or Suicide Assistance: The tragic story of brittany
maynard. Retrieved from http://www.lifenews.com/2014/11/11/suicide-prevention-or-
suicide-assistance-the-tragic-story-of-brittany-maynard/

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Death with Dignity paper

  • 1. Running head: DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz1 Death with Dignity Katelyn J. Lutz Alvernia University
  • 2. DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 2 The Death with Dignity laws are accepted in the states, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana and New Mexico. These laws allow for terminally-ill, but mentally competent adults who reside in these states to volunteer to request and receive a prescribed medicine to quicken their death. Oregon was the first state to approve this law in 1994 then later confirming their support in 1997 which is when it went into effect as The Oregon Death with Dignity Act. After that, Washington voters had the law passed in 2008 and implemented in 2009 and in 2013 lawmakers in Vermont portray their assisted death law as it was passed through legislation. Patients who want to go through with this action have to be qualified to do so and have a licensed physician caring for their needs to implement these laws on each and every patient since every single one has different issues and needs. (Contemporary catholic health care ethics (2nd ed.)). Eligibility Patients who are terminally-ill and who wish to access a prescription under the Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana or New Mexico law, are eligible as a resident in one of those states. Other requirements for physician-assisted suicide are that a patient must qualify for is they need to be eighteen years or older and they have to be capable of communicating and making competent health care decisions on their own. Lastly, the patient must have been diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to their death within or less than six months. (Death with Dignity National Center, 2014). Patient’s Residency To be able to be prescribed any sort of medication to hasten death, the patient must be able to provide their physician a proof of residency according to that state’s laws and there is no
  • 3. DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 3 timetable associated with establishing any residency. There is no minimum residency requirement as long as the patient can simply prove they are a current, legitimate resident of Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana or New Mexico. A state issued ID like a driver’s license, documents showing that the patient owns or rents property in one of the five states, a voter’s registration, or recent state tax return are all types of proof that a patients can use in the application process. After this, the physician in charge must make a decision on if the patient has properly and appropriately established residency. A person can move to one of the five states where physician-assisted suicide is legal, but reports have shown that not many people have chosen to make the move. (Death with Dignity National Center, 2014). Request Timeline Following, are the steps a patient must go by to use the law: an oral request must be made to the physician, a fifteen day waiting period, then a second request to the physician. After the second request, a written request needs to be made to the physician, then forty-eight hour waiting period before the prescribed medicine can be picked up, after that, the patient is bale to pick-up their prescription at the pharmacy. (Boyce, J., 2012). Protecting all Citizens Patients are protected by safeguards and if the law is used then they are in full control of their process and that there are no chances that the patients are forced to their death. The terminally-ill patient is required which are: to verbally request the medication from the physician twice and each one is separated by the fifteen days. They make a written request to their physician and that request is also witnessed by two other individuals who cannot primarily be family members or caregivers. The patient can cancel any verbal and written request during any
  • 4. DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 4 time. The patient wishing to access their rights under the law also must be able self-administer and consume the medicine prescribed. The physician in charge of the care for the patient must be licensed in the same state as the patient and the physician’s diagnosis has to include that the patient with the terminal illness has six months or fewer to live. The diagnosis must also be certified by a consulting physician who has to certify that the patient is indeed mentally competent to communicate and make such decisions on their health. In any case that the patients’s judgments are impaired, the patient must be referred for a psychological examination and the attending physician must inform the patient about alternatives like pain management or hospice options and that physician has to request that the patient inform their closest family members about the prescription request. The attending physician is responsible for reporting every prescription to the state. Lastly, under the law, the patient’s life insurance policies and status of their health in regards to the health care system, the physician is obligated to participate in the Death with Dignity laws. (Boyce, J., 2012). The Evolving State of Physician-Assisted Suicide The question, “Should terminally ill patients have the right to kill themselves?” is often a questioned asked when it comes to discussion about Death with Dignity laws. Since Oregon gained the right to these laws, over nine-hundred patients have chosen to exercise their rights under the right to use the law, although not all have taken the prescription given to them and instead “just deal” with their illness. The medicine used and self-administered by the patient is called Seconal, a barbiturate that is also prescribed by doctors to treat insomnia or to calm patients before getting surgery. The capsule contents are stirred into water or applesauce. The Oregon Department of Health show statistics that in most cases, patients consciousness is lost within five minutes of swallowing the drug, but it could take one minute to even four days to die.
  • 5. DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 5 The average time is usually about twenty-five minutes. In Oregon, most patients who made the decision to use the law are ninety-eight percent white and eighty-one percent were battling some form of cancer. Fifty-two percent of patients were male and the average age of those using the Death with Dignity laws were seventy-one years old. The top three end of life concerns with the patients were stated as, “loss of autonomy, loss of dignity and the fact that they were less able to engage in activities making life more enjoyable.” Most of these patients were enrolled in hospice and had private insurance. Since Washington laws were accepted, one-hundred thirty five people have died from the lethal dose of the prescription. Massachusetts wants to get the Death with Dignity law passed and approved, however the Catholic Church has no interest in the topic and believes, “Our society will be judged by how we treat those who are ill and infirm…They need our care and protection, not lethal drugs.” Conflicting, it’s the people of the state that ultimately get to make the decision on what the law’s fate will be, not the Catholic leaders, lawmakers or even professionals in health care. Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor of Massachusetts Medical Society’s New England Journal of Medicine, weighs in on the subject with her own opinions stating, “I am less concerned with what doctor’s want than with what patients want. I think doctors sometimes have a too-narrow idea of what their own obligations are. They feel they have an obligation to extend life even when it can’t be extended significantly. And even if you have that situation, then it seems to me they have two obligations. One is to support the autonomy, the self-determination of their patients. And the other is to relieve suffering. If you can’t extend life significantly, then you must relieve suffering.” In today’s society, people are living longer and longer than ever before which makes the questions that come along with the topic of end-of-life much harder to think about with families. (Death with Dignity National Center, 2014.)
  • 6. DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 6 Doctor’s Role in Assisted Dying An Oregon citizen, Peggy Sutherland, was ready to end her life when it came to the pain that came along with her lung cancer. Sutherland, “needed so much morphine to help with her pain that it could actually cause her to go unconscious,” her daughter, Julie, claimed. Sutherland decided to use Oregon’s Death with Dignity laws. On the fifteenth day, the doctor and her husband met her at the pharmacy and they all went back home with her until her heart stopped beating, “she didn’t want to wait any longer.” Doctors’ role in the law is to prescribe the medicine along with the other qualifications that are stated previously, but not all doctors are on board with the Death with Dignity law and choose to not have anything to do with it. Doctor Lisa Lehmann, director of the Center for Bioethics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston as well a professor at Harvard Medical School says, “Prescribing a lethal medication with the explicit intent of ending life is really at odds with the role of the physician as a healer.” (compassionandchoices.org). According to the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care in 2008, more than two-thirds of American doctors object to physician-assisted suicide. Lehmann also adds, “I believe patients should have control over the timing of death if they desire. And I suggest rethinking the role of physicians in the process so we can respect patient choices without doing something at odds with the integrity of physicians.” Although, Barbara Coombs Lee, president of the Denver nonprofit Compassion and Choices disagrees with Lehman and quotes that, “Patients deserve to have their physician accompany them there and not walk away. Anything that improves access to assisted dying is a step forward, but I think shepherding patients through their final days is a huge part of a physician’s responsibility.” (Compassion & Choices, 2012).
  • 7. DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 7 The Story of Brittany Maynard Before Maynard decided to use the Death with Dignity law to end her life, she was a volunteer with the Compassion and Choices organization where she was an advocate for end-of- life choices. For Brittany, it all started on New Year’s Day, headaches that caused her to not be able to participate in her daily activities and little did she know that these headaches would change her life. An aggressive brain cancer, glioblastoma, had taken over Maynard’s body and was spiraling out of control. There was no cure for this cancer, and no treatments that could keep her from dying. Brittany Maynard had less than six months to live and she had only been married to her husband for just over a year. She was twenty-nine years old when the diagnosis came and she and her husband wanted to start a family of their own. The cancer shot down all their opportunities, causing Brittany to spend consecutive days in the hospital. Just nine days after the cancer diagnosis, Maynard underwent surgery, a partial craniotomy and a partial resection of her temporal lobe. These surgeries were to help the tumor to stop growing. April came around and Brittany and her family heard the worst news they could every think of…the tumor came back. It came back bigger and more aggressive than ever causing the doctors to give her a prognosis of only six months of life to live. The doctors wanted to try full brain radiation due to the tumor being overwhelmingly large in size. The side effects included that Brittany’s hair on her scalp would “singe off,” and “be covered with first-degree burns.” The quality of life as Brittany Maynard knew it as, was over. Months went by and after extensive research, Brittany and her family came to a conclusion that nothing was going to save her life. There were no treatments left, only ones that would end any time left she had to live. One thought of Maynard’s was to pass away in hospice care at home where she lived in San Francisco, but she learned that with palliative medication, she would eventually develop morphine-resistant pain. This would cause
  • 8. DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 8 other side effects like personality changes and even cognitive, verbal and motor loss. This answer to her belief, was the definition of suffering and she didn’t want her family to see her “suffer,” until she passed away. After researching about Death with Dignity, Maynard made her decision that she will use the law to end her life if the “dying process becomes unbearable.” She had all the qualifications to use the law except she did not live in a state that approved of it. Since she decided it was ultimately the best option for her and her family, they moved from California to Oregon because Oregon is one of the states where the Death with Dignity law is authorized. Maynard had to find all new doctors, establish a residency in Portland, Oregon, find a home, get a new Driver’s License, change her voter’s registration and find people who would be in charge of her and her husband’s animals. Her husband, Dan Diaz, had to take a leave of absence from his job during this process. Once all was in place, Maynard got her hands on the medication that will end her life when she decides to ingest it. She held onto the medicine for a while, for she does not want to die, she is “not suicidal,” but she is dying and “wants to do it on her own terms.” Brittany Maynard didn’t want to change anyone’s opinion on whether or not they should choose to use the law if they are in the position to do so, she simply just wanted people to know that no one has the right to tell her, or anyone that they don’t deserve their own choice. Through using the law, she wanted people to know that no one deserves to suffer for periods of time in any amount of pain whether is physical, mental and/ or emotional. She claimed that even though she has the medication in hand, there is a chance that she may choose not to take it, it’s simply a “sense of relief,” to just have it in her possession because it takes away the senses she had of pain, fear and uncertainty that she otherwise would have if she didn’t have the prescription. Maynard claims that now she is at peace with enjoying the remainder of time she has left to spend time with her loved ones, doing things she’s always wanted to do. Maynard’s
  • 9. DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 9 one goal was to celebrate her husband’s birthday with him, on October 26, 2014 and then choose to end her life on a day soon after the celebration, “unless her condition improves dramatically.” Brittany Maynard decided to ingest the prescribed barbiturates on November, 1st 2014 to end her life. Just as she wanted, Maynard passed away in her bedroom on the second floor with her mother, stepfather, husband and her best friend right by her side. She dreamed of dying peacefully and said, “I can't imagine trying to rob anyone else of that choice.” Before her passing she stated, “I hope for the sake of my fellow American citizens that I'll never meet that this option is available to you. If you ever find yourself walking a mile in my shoes, I hope that you would at least be given the same choice and that no one tries to take it from you.” (Life News, 2014). Conclusion Terminally ill patients face a huge predicament in how to live their last days of life while living on the edge of almost torture and pain. While some are willing to brave nature and face a slow death, others really wish for faster and less painful methods to die. Physicians may assist such persons to end their lives by administering life ending medication to these patients. There are many ethical reasons that are opposed to any physician assisted suicides. Similarly, there are several ethical reasons that support this procedure. “Some of these ethical reasons include liberty interest, dignity in death, cost benefit analysis and proper legislation to guide the already prevalent practices.” (Death with Dignity National Center). Additionally courts have not expressly decided that it is illegal simply providing guideline on the matter. In conclusion, legalizing Physician assisted suicide will go far in maintaining the dignity of the patient and other ethical aspect as discussed in this paper. References
  • 10. DEATH WITH DIGNITY Lutz 10 Boyce, J. (2012, July 16). Compassion & Choices: The evolving state of physician-assisted suicide. Retrieved from https://www.compassionandchoices.org/tag/death-withdignity- act/page/2/ Death with Dignity National Center. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.deathwithdignity.org/access-acts Kelly, D., Magill, G., & Ten Have H. (2013). Contemporary catholic health care ethics (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. Life News. (2014). Suicide Prevention or Suicide Assistance: The tragic story of brittany maynard. Retrieved from http://www.lifenews.com/2014/11/11/suicide-prevention-or- suicide-assistance-the-tragic-story-of-brittany-maynard/