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Euthanasia Essay, Research Paper
A. ? Whose life is it, anyway?? These were the words of the late Sue Rodrigues, a
high-profile, terminally-ill resident of British Columbia, Canada, who suffered
from ALS (Lou Gehrig?s Disease). She was helped to commit suicide by a
physician in violation of Canadian Law.
B. Most people in North America die what may be called a bad death. One study
found that ? More often than not, patients died in pain, their desires concerning
treatment neglected, after spending 10 days or more in the intensive care unit. ?
C. I believe that because so many people are dying so painfully, there are more reasons
or physician-assisted suicide to be legal than not.
A. Physician-Assisted Suicide is:
1. a form of euthanasia in which a doctor gives access to a person the means to kill him
B. A Physician is:
1. a doctor
C. Steps in the process and methods of Physician-Assisted Suicide
1. There are three ways:
a. One method is Dr. Jack Kevorkian?s ?Suicide Machine. In this process,
the patient must first activate it by pushing a button. Then, three solutions
are injected in order; first, a harmless saline, then, a sleep-inducing
ative, and finally the lethal drug.
b. Another is with the face mask. The patient wears the face mask and
then carbon monoxide is pumped through which poisons the patient.
c. The third is plastic bag suffocation.
D. Physician-Assisted Suicide is necessary :
1. to give people who don?t want to live, a peaceful way to die
2. not only for the terminally ill, but also the chronically ill, elderly, depressed, or
E. Preventing Physician-Assisted Suicide from being legal is :
1. many different things including the beliefs a religion has about it although
some do think it is O.K.
2. the answering arguments from those who are opposed. In these, similar
answers to ?…in Holland, 63 % of all deaths with the withdrawing of life support
were executed without consent,?.
F. Physician-Assisted Suicide is legal in:
3. the Netherlands
4. the state of Oregon
a. Oregon is the only US state where any form of euthanasia is legal. This
is because of Oregon?s ? Death with Dignity Act ? which became effective
on October 27, 1997.
G. People wish to have Physician-Assisted Suicide legal because:
1. ? There are three reasons why euthanasia should be legal: it is a question of
dignity, it is the solution for a person that will die soon, & it is the choice of the
2. ?Jack: Well have you ever thought about the fact that some people don?t want
that [their pain managed in hospices]? What if they don?t want to be drugged so
much that they are unconscious for a long time until they die? If they think that
they would rather die with dignity, then euthanasia should be allowed. Another
thing is, what if they don?t have a medical care plan for such treatment??. That
was from a mock argument that shows why euthanasia is such a controversial
H. Pro and Con Statistics
1. 57 % pro
38 % con
2. 53.7 % pro
38.3 % con
8.0 % don?t know
I. Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide:
1. has been attempted before but I have found no record of this at all
J. Tools used in the process are:
1. Dr. Jack Kevorkian?s ?Suicide Machine?, self-administered carbon
monoxide mask, and a plastic bag
2. chemicals used in the ?Suicide Machine? such as sleep-inducing sedatives,
salines, and lethal drugs and in the face mask suffocation, carbon monoxide
K. The amount of people killed by Physician-Assisted Suicide is:
1. in the Netherlands
a. 400 of the cases were physician-assisted
b. 2300 of the cases were when doctors killed upon request
c. 1040 of the cases doctors had actively killed without the patients
knowledge or consent ( murder)
d. 4941 of the cases doctors had injected lethal doses of morphine without
the patients explicit consent
A. Physician-Assisted Suicide must be legalized for humane purposes because too
many people die in pain
B. So, let?s make it so Physician-Assisted Suicide can become legal to end
suffering from painful illnesses.
? Whose life is it, anyway?? (Robinson 1). These were the words of Sue Rodrigues, a
high-profile resident of British Columbia, Canada. She was terminally-ill and suffered from
ALS also known as Lou Gehrig?s Disease. She was helped to commit suicide by a physician
even though it was in violation of Canadian Law. Did you know that most people in North
America die what can be called a bad death? This was proved by a study in the following.
? More often than not, patients died in pain, their desires concerning treatment neglected, after
spending 10 days or more in the intensive care unit.?(Robinson 2). Should society let people
suffer so painfully? My answer is no. I believe that if we legalized physician-assisted suicide it
will allow the terminally-ill to die without suffering or, as you might wish to call it, a death with
Physician-Assisted Suicide is a form of euthanasia in which a doctor gives a person
access to a method to kill him or herself. In the process, the doctor would give the patient
materials to carry out one of the three different methods to die through physician-assisted
suicide. The first of the three methods was created by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a Michigan physician
who was found guilty of 2nd degree murder in a mercy killing in 1998 where he injected
controlled substances into an ALS, or Lou Gehrig?s Disease, patient. It is known as ?The
Suicide Machine?. In this method, the patient must first activate the process by pushing a
button. Then, three solutions are injected in this order: First, a harmless saline, following that,
is a sleep-inducing sedative, and finally, a lethal drug. In the second method, a face mask is
placed over the patient?s mouth and carbon monoxide is applied, thus poisoning the patient. The
third method is the plastic bag suffocation in which a plastic bag is sealed over the patient?s face
which causes him or her to suffocate. In these processes, certain tools and chemicals are used,
such as Kevorkian?s ?Suicide Machine?, self-administered carbon monoxide masks, and plastic
bags, and chemicals such as sleep-inducing sedatives, salines, lethal drugs, and in the face mask
suffocation, carbon monoxide.
It is necessary for Physician-Assisted Suicide to be legal for many reasons. It would
allow those who do not want to live, a peaceful, honorable way to die. If legalized, it would not
only be for the terminally ill, but also for the chronically ill, elderly, depressed, or disabled
people who would have a reason to want to die. ?According to a poll conducted by CNN & USA
Today in June of 1997, 57 % of those polled were in favor of the legalization of physician
-assisted suicide, and a mere 35 % were opposed.? (Robinson 9). ?A second poll, conducted by
the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in British Columbia, Canada, 53.7 % of those polled were in
favor, 38.3 % were opposed, and the 8.0 % left, didn?t know or refused to answer.? (Euthanasia
Prevention Coalition 1). This shows that more than half of both the populations of the United
States and Canada were in favor of the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. The
legalization of physician-assisted suicide has been attempted before, but no written documentary
of this has been recovered by me. Although not all of these attempts were successful, some
where. ?Physician-Assisted Suicide is legal in Columbia, Japan, the Netherlands, and the state
of Oregon? (Robinson 4). As of March of 1999, Oregon is the only US state where any form of
euthanasia is legal. This is because of Oregon?s ? Death with Dignity Act ? which became
effective on October 27, 1997.
There are three reasons why physician-assisted suicide should be legal. First of all, it is a
question of dignity, of whether or not the patient who wishes to die has the quality or state of
being worthy of esteem or respect. Secondly, it is the solution for a person that will die soon and
probably more painfully also. Lastly, it is the choice of the patient and not anyone else, so they
won?t be forced into it by anyone. The following excerpt is of a mock argument between
someone who is in favor of the legalization of physician-assisted suicide and someone who is
against it. It states reasons why physician-assisted suicide should be legalized.
?Jack : Well have you ever thought about the fact that some people don?t want that [their pain
managed in hospices]? What if they don?t want to be drugged so much that they are unconscious
for a long time until they die? If they think that they would rather die with dignity, then
physician-assisted suicide/euthanasia should be allowed. Another thing is, what if they don?t
have a medical care plan for such treatment?? (Legalizing Euthanasia 1). This excerpt proves
why the legalization of physician-assisted suicide is such a controversial issue.
In the same mock argument as before, another excerpt shows why euthanasia/physician-
assisted suicide aren?t legal. In this excerpt, Jill, who is opposed to the legalization of physician-
assisted suicide, gives reasons why euthanasia/physician-assisted suicide are still illegal. ?Jill :
Well, their [those opposed] argument is backed up…I mean, in Holland, 63 % of all deaths with
the withdrawing of life support were executed without consent,?(Legalizing Euthanasia 1). She
says this refering to the legalization of active euthanasia in Oregon. She believes that it will
evolve into involuntary euthanasia. A secondary reason why physician-assisted suicide isn?t legal
is because some religions believe that it is anti-religious. Athough some religions do not believe
it is anti-religious, it is still a hindrance in the legalization of physician-assisted suicide.
Each year, tens of thousands of people die from physician-assisted suicide and
euthanasia. The following data is from the 1991 Remmelink Report, the first, official
government study of the practice of euthanasia in the Netherlands. ?In 400 of the cases, the
deaths were physician-assisted. In 2,300 of the cases, doctors killed upon request. In 1,040 of
the cases, doctors had actively killed without the patients knowledge or consent (murder).
In 4,941 of the cases, doctors had injected lethal doses of morphine without the patients explicit
consent.? (The Remmelink Report 1). This data is evidence of the amount of cases per year.
This shows how popular deaths caused by euthanasia are.
At this point, even though physician-assisted suicide is still illegal almost everywhere, it
still is proved to be ethical through the polls conducted and other information found. I still
believe that physician-assisted suicide should be legalized for humane purposes because of the
many reasons stated throughout my research paper. So, let?s make it so that physician-assisted
suicide can become legal to end at least a portion of the suffering from painful illnesses.
Bachman, Jerald G. ?Attitudes of Michigan Physicians & the Public Toward Legalizing
Physician-Assisted Suicide & Voluntary Euthanasia. ?The New England Journal of
Medicine.? 1 Feb. 1996 .
Death. World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia. Vers. 1997.
El-Haggan, Rasha. Home Page. 1997
Euthanasia. World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia. Vers. 1997.
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. ?1997 BC Euthanasia Poll.? .
Gay, Kathlyn. The Right To Die. Brookfield, Connecticut: The Millbrook Press, 1993.
International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force. Home Page. 2 Mar. 2000
?Legalization of Euthanasia.? .
Legalizing Euthanasia. .
Place, Michael E. ?Why We Should Not Legalize Euthanasia.? Health Progress. March 1993
Raymond, Marie-Eve. Home Page. 5 May 1998
Remmelink Report, The. 1990-1991. .
Robinson, Bruce A. ReligiousTolerance.org Home Page.1 Jan. 2000
?Saga of Dr. Jack, The.? About.com. 21 Mar. 2000
?Self-Deliverance: New Technology.? ERGO! . 1 Dec. 1999.
Simon, Melissa. Home Page .
Walker, Richard. A Right To Die?. New York, New York: Franklin Watts, 1996.
Weiss, Ann E. Bioethics: Dilemmas in Modern Medicine. Hillside, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc.
?When Death is Our Physician.? Ultimate, Pro-Life Resource List. Dec. 1999
Yount, Lisa. Issues in Biomedical Ethics. San Diego, California: Lucent
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