Assisted Suicide is the Right Way to Go

By: Akilah Hodge

assisted suicide


Euthanasia is is when a patient is suffering from a painful disease or in a coma. The practice is illegal in most countries. Types of Euthanasia are voluntary euthanasia which is  when the person who is killed has requested to be killed. Non-voluntary is when a person has been killed and did not request or gave no consent. Involuntary euthanasia is when people are assisted in death, because they made that wish to go through that process.

If you believe every person should have control of his or her mind and body, when thinking of death most people jump straight to conclusion about it. There are many opinions about “having the right to die in America.” Of course individuals have a right to die, the standard individualist position goes; the decision to end a terminal illness. It should be within our rights to take our own lives when the circumstances warrant it. That means we must prepared to accept laws in favor of assisted suicide.

An overwhelming majority of the public supports laws that give patients the right to decide whether they want to be kept alive through medical treatment. Seventy percent of people say there are circumstances when patients should be allowed to die, while just 22% believe that doctors and nurses should do everything they possibly can to save a life.

Its hard to determined if having the right to die should be a medical decision because it depends on what the situation is. (Families can say he or she should die or the doctors could say no he or she should not). For example, Jack Kevorkian, he is best known for publicly championing a terminal patient’s right to die medical physicianassisted suicide; he claimed to have assisted nearly 130 patients in assisted death. He was often known by the nickname “Dr. Death”, he stated that, “dying is not a crime.”

In 1999, Kevorkian was arrested and trial for his direct role in a case of voluntary euthanasia. He was convicted of seconddegree murder and sentenced eight years of a 10-to-25-year in  prison. He was released on parole on June 1, 2007, he would not offer suicide advice to any other person. Kevorkian was trial four times for assisting suicides between May 1994 to June 1997. With the assistance of Fieger, Kevorkian was acquitted three times. (The fourth trial ended in a mistrial. The trials helped Kevorkian gain public support for his cause.)

Kevorkian wrote a series of articles for Kevorkian started advertising in Detroit newspapers as a physician consultant for “death counseling”. His first public assisted suicide, of Janet Adkins, a 54-year-old woman diagnosed in 1989 with Alzheimer’s disease, took place in 1990. Charges of murder were dropped on December 13, 1990, as there were, at that time, no laws in Michigan regarding assisted suicide.r the German journal Medicine and Law that laid out his thinking on the ethics of euthanasia. However, the State of Michigan revoked Kevorkian’s medical license and made it clear that given his actions, he was no longer permitted to practice medicine or to work with patients.

Kevorkian was tried four times for assisting suicides between May 1994 to June 1997. With the assistance of Fieger, Kevorkian was acquitted three times. The fourth trial ended in a mistrial. The trials helped Kevorkian gain public support for his cause.

Kevorkian was also a  jazz musician and composer. He was also an oil painter. He sometimes painted with his own blood, and had created pictures such as one “of a child eating the flesh off a decomposing corpse.” In 2011, his paintings became the center of a legal entanglement between his sole heir and a Massachusetts museum.

` When patient or family requests for continued life-sustaining treatments conflict with doctor recommendations, different conclusions as to what is beneficial for the patient may arise. Past practices usually accepted patient or family requests based on the principle of autonomy or that the doctor’s primary responsibility is to the individual patient.

Many patients die in intensive care units after doctors forego life-prolonging interventions. Health care changes and cost containment have led to a change in the classical ethical model of the patient-doctor relationship such that concerns for societal requirements increasingly overrule those for individual patient needs. Recent legal decisions in cases with conflicts between families and health care providers and institutions over foregoing life-sustaining therapies have decided for the families against doctors and hospitals.

Doctors have defined therapies based on their own values and even withdrawn life-sustaining treatments without patient or family input. In some cases, the right to die is leading to the duty to die even against patient or surrogate wishes. Such observations indicate the need for rigorous analyses of medical decision making in this context and for ethical evaluations in health care in general.

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