The Death with Dignity Act (DWDA), which allows terminally-ill patients to request physician-assisted suicide, was first introduced in Oregon in 1997. The basic premise of the law is that terminally ill patients, with no outside help, should be able to choose the right to end their life. Since then a few more states have the DWDA or an similar law in their state; an ongoing debate is going on to make the act legal across the nation. The Death with Dignity act allows the individual’s request to die to be acknowledged by the state. Though various of groups and people have spoken against this act, Oregon, with close to two decades of experience with the law, has shown that it can work well even when faced with backlash from the public because
The Right to Die has been taking effect in many states and is rapidly spreading around the world. Patients who have life threatening conditions usually choose to die quickly with the help of their physicians. Many people question this right because of its inhumane authority. Euthanasia or assisted suicide are done by physicians to end the lives of their patients only in Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana, New Mexico and soon California that have the Right to Die so that patients don’t have to live with depression, cancer and immobility would rather die quick in peace.
Brittany Maynard chose to the “Death with Dignity” option after learning that she only had six months to live after her brain cancer became more aggressive and turned to a grade 4 glioblastoma. She moved from California to Oregon in order to legally receive a prescription of a lethal dose of barbiturates. Oregonis one of five states in the U.S that has the passed the Death with Dignity Act. Brittany chose this option because she did not want to go through radiation or live the last of her days in pain while her family watched. Brittany stated, “Because the rest of my body is young and healthy, I m likely to physically hang on for a long time even though cancer is eating my mind, and my family would have to watch that,” (page 565).
• Death with Dignity Act - Oregon Health Authority states that, “ Oregon passed a law that allows terminally ill residents to end their lives through voluntary assisted suicide of lethal medication, directly prescribed by a physician.” - To be granted the ability for assisted suicide, the individual has to be suffering from a terminal disease and have a doctor that has confirmed that they only have 6 months or less left to live. - The Death with Dignity National Center says that, “By adding a voluntary option to the continuum of end-of-life care, these laws give patients dignity, control, and peace of mind during their final days with family and loved ones.” • Examples of some of the terminal illnesses that should be allowed for assisted
This poll also found that 56 percent of Americans believe that physician assisted suicide is a morally acceptable act regardless of its legality, and only 37 percent believe it is morally wrong. Additionally, 62 percent of adults agree that a person has a moral right to suicide” (Ralph A Capone). Other states including Oregon, that have passed death-with-dignity laws include Vermont, California, Colorado and Washington. There is a death with dignity bill that is slated to go before the Maine Legislature in support of physician assisted suicide.
Death with Dignity is an organization whose mission is to “promote Death with Dignity laws based on the model Oregon Death with Dignity Act, both to provide an option for dying individuals and to stimulate nationwide improvements in the end-of-life career.” (“Home-Death”) Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s practices had a lasting impact on assisted suicide laws, still affecting us today. (“Assisted Suicide”) However, with new modern techniques, suicide should be discouraged, causing suicide and unnatural death rates to drastically decrease because “killing for WHATEVER reason CANNOT be
On November 1, 2014, just shy of her 30th birthday, a young woman named Brittany Maynard, utilized Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act to end her life. She had been diagnosed with an aggressive, terminal cancer just eleven months earlier. After having brain surgery in an attempt to stop the growth of the tumor, the tumor came back and doctors only gave her six months to live. With no cure her only option was radiation that could leave her scalp with first-degree burns and her hair singed off. Brittany and her family decided that radiation was not worth the physical and emotional pain it would cause.
The Death with Dignity Act has two arguments: those who believe we have the right to choose how and when we die, and those who believe we do not possess that right; that we should not interfere with the natural order of life. Every year, people across America are diagnosed with a terminal illness. For some people there is time: time to hope for a cure, time to fight the disease, time to pray for a miracle. For others however, there is very little or no time. For these patients, their death is rapidly approaching and for the vast majority of them, it will be a slow and agonizing experience.
In this case, and many others worldwide, physician assisted suicide is morally permissible at all ages for anyone with a terminal illness with a prognosis of 6 months. This is supported by act based utilitarianism and the idea of maximizing pleasure and reducing pain and suffering on an individual circumstance. By allowing a terminal patient to die a less painful death, in control of the situation, and with dignity, the patient will have amplified
“Death with dignity is a human right: to retain control until the very end and, if the quality of your life is too poor, to decide to end your suffering; the dignity comes from exercising the choice.” says Jason Barber, whose wife, Kathleen Barber, died in his arms. He had one question in mind when she died. What was he going to say if someone asked him how she died? Whether she went peacefully? He decided to tell people that his wife died in peace, without any pain or suffering. But that was a lie. She suffered from torturous cancer and she died with pain and discomfort, no matter how much pain killer was given to her. What solution could be offered to the suffering woman and to her loving husband? What if I told you that there is a way in which no one would have to suffer to death? A way that helps people die with dignity and, a way that provides a peaceful, smooth death? This miraculous way is called ‘euthanasia’.
We can always turn on our televisions and hear about a current controversy on all of our news channels. Near the end of 2014, we saw one story that was brought to attention to our whole country. Brittany Maynard created controversy on how sick patients should be able to choose their own death given their current situations. Moving to Oregon, Maynard would bring their Death With Dignity Act into her play, and be the face of their advocacy. Brittany Maynard was just 29 when she was first diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
There are real case incidents in which a 14 year old girl suffering from terminal cystic fibrosis is asking her country’s president for permission to end her life. She had self shot a video in which she says “I am tired of living this disease and she can authorize an injection through which I can sleep forever”. The girl's video has sparked a broader conversation about whether euthanasia should be legalized in the largely Catholic nation. According to me we should let euthanasia be legal as there is no significance in keeping them alive against their wish as we don’t know how much they are suffering. Another incident is where the woman moved to Oregon where euthanasia is legal to take advantage of Oregon’s death with Dignity Law.
In the documentary, Bill Moyers talks to three terminally ill patients, their families, and their doctors about the concerns with physician-assisted suicide (PAS). PAS allows a terminally ill patient to hasten an inevitable and unavoidable death through a lethal dose. The patients considered PAS in order to end their prolonged suffering. The legal role of advance directives in end of life issues allows a patient to specify how he wishes to be treated by a healthcare provider during a progressively weakened state. Advance directives may provide patients with freedom to choose end of life treatment, but moral and religious implications, the ethical battle between a physician’s duty to care and inner-conscious, and state laws pose threats to PAS.
Assisted suicide is a rather controversial issue in contemporary society. When a terminally ill patient formally requests to be euthanized by a board certified physician, an ethical dilemma arises. Can someone ethically end the life of another human being, even if the patient will die in less than six months? Unlike traditional suicide, euthanasia included multiple individuals including the patient, doctor, and witnesses, where each party involved has a set of legal responsibilities. In order to understand this quandary and eventually reach a conclusion, each party involved must have their responsibilities analyzed and the underlying guidelines of moral ethics must be investigated.