If someone you know told you that they were contemplating suicide, would you encourage it? The obvious answer is no, but yet there are many proponents and places that allow physician assisted suicide, which is possibly one of today’s most controversial and debatable topics
Physician assisted suicide, or euthanasia, is the act of intentionally ending lives in order to end pain and suffering. People who turn to assisted suicide often have terminal illnesses and wish to be relieved from their pain, and a physician provides the patient with a lethal dose of medication.
This is illegal in most countries in the world, and is legal in some nations and four states in America. Countries where euthanasia and or physician assisted suicide is legal include Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, and Switzerland. Switzerland is one-of-a-kind, because they allow non-physician assisted suicide. Doctors determine whether the patient is sure in his or her decision, and then volunteers for a nonprofit organization administer the lethal drug. Also, in Switzerland, and the only requirement is for the person to have the capacity to make the decision and around 25 percent of people who die by assisted suicide don’t have a terminal illness.
Washington State is among the few states in America where it is legal, as they passed the Death with Dignity Act in 2008 that legalized physician assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, or those predicted to have less than six months to live. The patients who choose assisted suicide then get pills that they can take whenever they want.
It is understandable that people who are under a great amount of pain don’t want to suffer and be a burden for their families, emotion and money wise. However, suicide is always wrong. The argument is that terminally ill people are in a lot of pain, so they deserve the right to die. This argument can also be applied to those who are depressed or disabled, and also under pain, just a different kind. If physician assisted suicide becomes more embraced and legalized, this might lead to many others requesting suicide, and what type of society would we be if we encourage people to die rather than work through their problems? An example is when two deaf Belgium twins decided to go through physician assisted suicide after learning that they were both going blind. They weren’t terminally ill, but were allowed to because they argued that the psychological pain would be too hard to bear. The twins gave up on life without seeing how being both blind and deaf could be, which comes with many challenges but can still be rewarding.
Another possible problem is doctor malpractice. Doctors could kill patients and say that they gave their consent, but the patient wouldn’t be able to testify, because they’re dead.
Also, those who have terminal cancer or other illnesses still sometimes have a chance of living. With the progression of science and medicine, there is often still a possibility, and if they decide to just end their life, they’ll never know.
In addition, physician assisted suicide would hurt the patients’ family and friends, as the only person who has to give consent is the ill one. This, alone with all types of suicide, is very traumatic to the persons’ loved ones.
As a society, we need to celebrate life, not provide ways to end it. Life is the most precious thing in this world, and should not be taken away so easily by euthanasia.