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Living to die, or is it dying to live.

Suicide, the intentional act of killing oneself. “Britain abolished punishment for attempted suicide in 1961, and by the early 1990’s only two US states still listed suicide as a crime (Columbia Encyclopedia)”. The Japanese have long held to practice called Hara-Kiri, another form of suicide. Most religions look down on this practice because it goes against their core values. As we examine the reasoning behind suicide, can we make a decision of whether it should be legal or illegal? Is there a place for suicide in our cultures?

Statistically there is a rise in suicides, although there are vast ages that can account for these statistics the significant increase is by those of the elderly genre. Is this a sign of things to come, are we looking at a new trend of doctor assisted suicides? In most case’s this is true, yes. Can we justify the young and their cases of suicide? Since 1950’s the cases of younger genre has tripled their cases. For many reasons the younger people of the world have far too many cases that would just over run the means of my project, so at present time there is no need to continue. However, the most increased controversial cases stem from the elderly and the terminally ill. As the price of health care increase’s and retirements, decrease there is a bigger demand on health issues. Among the elderly, we are seeing more cases of cancer’s, heart attaches, dementia, and other serious issues.

There are some members of society that refer to this behavior as Doctor-assisted, suicide, and Doctor-assisted murder; in fact, the real name for this is called Euthanasia it derives from Greek word meaning ‘eu’ and ‘thanatos’, which together mean ‘a good death’. In any order that a person wants to examine this, we have to refer to it as the correct term, Euthanasia. Regardless of the name, it is still a form of suicide, the act of taking one’s own life. As long as mankind has survived we know that it is a fact of life that we all will die, there has only been a few small accounts that mankind has just walked into heaven. Therefore, for the rest of us when we are born we are already in the process of dying. Is it unfair to plan our lives and to consider all the possibilities that then remain, no. We simply understand that by refusing medical treatment we are not prolonging death but simply just accepting it. We plan death by writing wills and living wills to tell our doctors and relatives, when I die this is what I want, if I am terminal and unconscious do this. That is a plan of death in itself.

Suicide has a devastating emotional impact on surviving family members and friends. The intentional, sudden, and violent nature of the person’s death often makes others feel abandoned, helpless, and rejected (Encarta99).

These feelings stem from anger and selfishness; they can be associated by the fact that the others did not understand the depth of the pain, or the associated medical expenses.

Could euthanasia become a means of health care cost containment? Perhaps one of the most important developments in recent years is the increasing emphasis placed on health care providers to contain costs. In such a climate, euthanasia certainly could become a means of cost containment. Is euthanasia sometimes the only way to relieve excruciating pain? The natural fear people have of suffering and dying, and often imply that when cure is no longer likely, there are only two alternatives: euthanasia or unbearable pain. Is religion a key factor of right or wrong, and how religion should play a part?

None of the religious arguments against assisted dying is

Relevant to those who do not share those beliefs. And of

Course, despite these teachings, many of those who are

Religious do not oppose voluntary euthanasia either (The Voluntary Euthanasia Society).

Hans Kung once said that:

…as a Christian and a theologian I am convinced that

the all-merciful God, who has given men and women

freedom and responsibility for their lives, has also left to

dying people the responsibility for making a conscientious

decision about the manner and time of their deaths (The Voluntary Euthanasia Society).

There are things in life that are harsh and difficult to face, no matter how hard we try to over come them there is never an easy solution to the problem, of pain and suffering. Costly medical expenses and the methods we use are not cheap either! Clinically ill patients should not have their choices made for them; it is their right to die it does not affect us directly. Clinical depression is an illness that alone can destroy a person’s life, socially alone.

“The chronically ill, or the healthy but bereft – they face a lifetime of agony (Krauthammer).” Is it the scope of man to see more suffering among the “living dead” that are just waiting for their bodies to catch up to them. Are we afraid of what God will think of us? In a doctors own words, “Of course it’s ok to play god: at the hospital we do it all the time (Hinden).” So if we play god at the hospital and not fear that phase of medical science, is it really the case of religion we face. The average cost to have a cancerous legion to be removed can range into the $50,000.00 mark easily. A family that has adequate medical coverage will end up paying a $5,000.00 co-pay for their treatment, but on the other hand if we look at the poor families that has little of no coverage they could bear the cost of $30,000.00 easily, on top of that there is no guarantee that it will not return! An elderly person with dementia loses the right to take care of himself, destined to be cared for by the system with increasing medical expenses. Are we so selfish that we have forgotten that we should cry for a newborn child when it is born, and rejoice when a person dies? Not really, we simply excuse the idea by saying but it hurts to lose a loved one, not realizing the pain of the mother who lost her children to a drunk driver, or the sons mother who died as a result of breast cancer after still having numerous treatments with no hope in site. My own father died of bacteria poisoning from an Aluminum plant, he slowly was eaten up from the inside out. He was given dosage after expensive dosage of medicines, costly doctor visits only to tell him, and yes, you are dying. He begged for the pain to end and the doctors to let him die. I would have never been upset at my father for seeking ease to his pain. Terminally ill diseases and irreparable mental issues are just what they are- terminal and no means of recovery. We hear the arguments every day of how heath care expenses are on the rise and families are struggling to afford health care. Would it not make better sense to allow those individuals to carry out their wishes and ease the monetary problems of health care by allowing the more treatable cases to use this funding? Really, you would no spend $100 to make $1 would you; of course, not it is not feasible! If a plan of action is taken, strong guidelines are met and it is humane there should be no cause for alarm. We have a planed system of putting animals to sleep, murders are put to sleep in a method that is humane. It is after all a time when we are concerned for the most cautious and reasonable way to do things, so why not offer that to those who need it as a medical treatment. (By no means am I trying to justify the means of our judicial systems procedures). The burning issue that remains is what do we do now? How must we decide who is able to use this method and who is not. Well it is a case by case basis. We would certainly not allow a teenager to take his/her own life because they had a falling out with their significant other that is ridiculous, we need to focus on the elderly that have no means left to fight health issues that continue to slowly deter ate their finances and their health. An AIDS patient that is treated with AZT, but after so long the lose control of the ability to use that as a means of health care. Cancer patients who have had numerous chemotherapy treatments and surgery’s to remove growths, these are all candidates if they so choose. Clinical depression may even be justifiable according to the cases, is it necessary to continue to treat the same patients who regularly overdoses to kill themselves? England finally realized that their own laws were contradictory to their beliefs when the abolished a law stating that failed attempts at suicide was punishable by death! Are we playing God by dismissing the thoughts of suicide, or are we just hiding behind God as an excuse not to allow it. The decision to live out a terminal disease is yours to make, I find it illogical to believe that you will be forced to kill yourself if you are terminally ill. I do find it reasonable to think that it could be an option if you chose it.

In conclusion, I would like to state that whatever the case may be there is always a reasonable solution to every problem if only we would just hear every side and examine it in a rational manner. As I end this, I would only like to say that the issue at hand is the right to do with your life as you so choose. I do not want the reader to feel compassion to lose site of the argument at hand, but it is my belief and true intentions that suicide, Euthanasia, or even doctor assisted suicide should be recognized as a form to treatment. Yes it does hurt to lose a loved one close to us by this means of treatment, but I would rather know that it was done with practicality in mind and not by shame, shame of what society would think and have to do this in seclusion where no one would ever find out and not know why. I live with the pain of being “shell-shocked” from a war, and the battle of cancer right now and by no means do I want you to feel sorry for me I simply do not want you to make me suffer if I feel I do not want to. It is my choice to say when I have put up a good fight; every great fighter knows when he has been licked! Let me make my choice and deal with the consequences I wont hold you accountable. After all are living to die, or are we simply dying to live!

Works Cited

Concise Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. Version 3.5.0 Columbia: Info soft International, 1994

Encarta 99. Version Redmond: Microsoft, 1993-1998

Hendin, Herbert. Seduced by death: Doctors, Patients, and the Dutch Cure. Norton, 1996. 88

McMeniman, Linda. From Inquiry to Argument. Massachusetts: Allyn & Bacon, 1999. 170

“Religious views on assisted suicide.” The Voluntary Euthanasia Society. 11 Nov. 1999


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