Reasearch pap er


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Reasearch pap er

  1. 1. Kevin Kruse<br />English 2950<br />Dr. Anderson Quinn<br />11 April 2011<br />Physician Aided Suicide: The Wrong Solution<br />In today’s medical world a heated debate rages on between the proponents and opponents of PAS, also known as physician aided suicide or euthanasia. One side argues people should not have to suffer if they wish not to. The other says when is it, if at all morally correct for one to take their own life? Some argue with political reasons saying euthanasia could be used as health care cost containment, some argue where the line should be drawn in regards to who has the right to die and who doesn’t, and others argue that with modern medicine pain can be managed and virtually eliminated. It is unjust and wrong for a person to take their own life. This is because in today’s world that drastic of a step shouldn’t be necessary with modern technology and medical advances. I feel that medicine can be used to manage pain, it is ethically and morally incorrect, and it could be over used for health care cost containment. <br />When people are not fully informed of their options when suffering from a terminal illness where death is inevitable and a there is no cure they make a hasty decision and quickly side with the proponents of PAS. Its human nature to fear death and the possible pain and suffering that goes along with it. It’s a hard time in a person’s life and many become depressed and loose the will to live causing them to want to take the easy way out. In fact in a poll taken in 1997 70% of Americans wished to have the option of PAS when they were uniformed. In this situation ignorance is not bliss. The same poll revealed that when Americans were fully informed of their options 5-to-1 chose the option of comfort care and a natural death as opposed to a physician aided death. This type of care is called palliative care, in which a person comforts the terminally ill when a cure is not possible through the use of modern drugs and medication. Most people are also unaware that it is legal for a doctor to give you pain medication that may unintentionally hasten a person’s death. Notice the word unintentionally, a doctor isn’t trying to kill but it is obligated to provide a patient with whatever is necessary for them to feel less pain and more comfort. A prime example is the use of medical marijuana. While that is a whole other debate on its own it’s a perfect example of a doctor providing a patient with the drugs or medication needed to provide comfort and release from pain. There are also many agencies and organizations striving to improve pain management tactics. Such organizations include State Cancer Pain Initiatives, the American Pain Society, the Oncology Nursing Society, and the National Association of Oncology Social Workers. These groups are pushing for and supporting the advancement in modern medicine and training individuals to better treat and care for those who and incurable diseases. K.M. Foley was quoted by saying, “In the United States today, not enough health professionals, patients, families, and government policymakers understand that the proper use of existing drugs and neurosurgical, anesthetic, and psychological approaches can relieve pain and make life worth living. Some people may believe that suicide is the only way to avoid a painful death. Severe, chronic pain can result in helplessness and hopelessness - two mental states that can lead to suicide. Controlling pain can help ease these mental states and change the belief that a premature death - a painless "final exit" is the solution. For example, patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who had requested suicide dismissed this as an alternative once satisfactory pain control was established” (Foley 1991).<br />Another reason I believe euthanasia to be unjust is because morally it is wrong for a human being to his or her own life because death is a natural occurrence. Also how is it morally and ethically correct for a doctor whose main objective to help people to practice active or passive euthanasia? Active euthanasia is when a doctor knowingly gives a substance to a patient with intent of ending that patients life because the physician has decide to in a sense put the patient out of his or hers misery. Some would categorize this as murder because the doctor is responsible for taking another humans life. Passive euthanasia is when a doctor doesn’t take steps to speed up a person’s death but lets the disease take its course. Some argue that morally passive euthanasia is more correct but I disagree. James Rachels hit the nail on the head by saying, “It is not exactly correct to say that in passive euthanasia the doctor does nothing, for he does one thing…. he lets the patient die” (Rachels). Then the question what is the real big difference between passive and active euthanasia must be asked. In the end a physician is responsible for the death of another person whether it be if the death was accelerated in some way or if they just let the disease take its course and let the patient die. <br />A third reason as to why euthanasia shouldn’t be allowed is that it could become over used and a means to contain healthcare spending. People may ask how our government or insurance companies could become so heartless and do such a thing but even though money is said not to be everything, in today’s society and the increasing national debt, it becomes a much larger factor. If euthanasia becomes legalized it could lead to things such as longer waits for much needed surgeries or funds not being made for home care for the sick and elderly. The government could make cuts in the budget making those things much harder to get or impossible to obtain, resulting in those people possibly choosing to have a PAS as opposed to letting their life end naturally. Also who is to say the government could possibly refuse a surgery and consider it passive euthanasia because they intend to let the disease take its course on the patient? Yes, you are supposed to have a choice in in whether or not you wish to be euthanized but people are apt to give into to a physician pressuring them to do such a thing. Especially in the emotionally distraught and depressed state they are in due to their illness. In the state of Oregon, the only U.S. state where euthanasia is legal, once the bill was passed 18 months later health care budgets for the poor were cut making it harder for those residents to receive medication or treatment needed to deal with their illness and to be comfortable. Wesley J. Smith said, “drugs used in assisted suicide cost only about $40, but that it could take $40,000 to treat a patient properly so that they don't want the "choice" of assisted suicide” (Smith). This is exactly why the use of PAS as healthcare cost containment could become a huge problem if euthanasia was legalized. People who could be kept alive and comfortable while dealing with their illness with the aid of modern medicine could be stripped of what precious little time they have left. Time that could be used to get their private affairs in order, enjoy time with loved ones, and fulfill any last wishes they had. Also the poor and less privileged people in the United States often do not have any sort of medical insurance. Which means for doctors it is financially risky to provide medications and prescriptions to these patients. If euthanasia was legalized doctors could decide that for them financially it would be better for a patient to die rather than treat them. They may try to sway them in favor of choosing a physician assisted suicide. In short nothing in this world is perfect and countless people let greed corrupt them. So who is to say doctors across the country wouldn’t try to sway the decisions of patients to do what puts more money in their pockets? <br />Proponents to euthanasia do not see the point for someone to suffer greatly. They argue that the laws preventing PAS is like a government mandate for people to suffer. As Americans we are not a death excepting society but one that fears it. When a life is near its end it is only natural for one to become weary of the troubles and fear the suffering. Especially those diagnosed with illnesses such as cancer. A patient who is terminally ill with cancer has a long hard road before the end. Many would often lose all will to live wishing to pass because they have become helpless to the point where they can’t survive without medical treatment or the help of others. These are hard times and I don’t see that one would be thinking in their right mind to make such a decision. Ones thoughts would be murky and their judgment clouded. They would be thinking solely about themselves but may have a change of heart if reminded about those around them who love them. Also those who see government restrictions as mandated suffering aren’t arguing against laws that restrict the selling of tainted food claiming it to be government mandated starvation. It’s ludicrous. Laws are made for a reason and more times than not they are made to prevent bad things from happening, such as making it acceptable for someone to take their own life. Who has the right to even decide who has the right to live or die? What if laws are taken advantage of and people abuse the right or find loop holes to take their own life regardless if they are “deserving” or not? The law is unjust and could be used as a scapegoat for those wishing to die due to depression or guilt and not an illness. It could be abused so that those who don’t need it can use it to have a so called “dignified” death and one that is accepted by society. If ever passed the law would be flawed and far from perfect. At the moment are government has enough on its plate and doesn’t need to deal with something foolish that hasn’t been accepted in our society for hundreds of years. <br />That is why euthanasia or also known as physician aided suicide is unjust and shouldn’t be practiced in modern medicine. Yes, people fear suffering and sometimes feel that it would be best to take the easy way out, but with modern medicine and better education in the alternative options people would discover that they can live comfortably and die naturally. <br />Works Cited <br />"Arguments Against Euthanasia." Euthanasia Suicide Mercy-killing Right-to-die Physician Assisted Suicide Living Wills Research. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <br />"Euthanasia, Is It Morally Permissible?" Truth Philosophy Essays. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <br />"Euthanasia, Pain Management, and Polls." Pregnant Pause. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <br />"Pain and Euthanasia: The Need for Alternatives." Pain & Policy Studies Group Homepage. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <br />"Top 10 Pros and Cons - Euthanasia -" Euthanasia -- Should Euthanasia Be Legal? Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <br />