Physician Assisted Suicide

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Physician assisted suicide has been a controversial subject for years, and still is. Why? I think its because people are focusing on the “suicide” aspect of it and automatically think it shouldn’t be done. Suicide is stigmatized and that’s why there is still such a negative reaction to physician-assisted suicide. I remember the first time I ever heard of physician-assisted suicide. I was very young and didn’t know what it meant, so I thought, “Why would anyone want to kill themself?” This is the key question. People that turn to physician assisted suicide don’t want to end their life because they just broke up with their significant other, or because they cant pay their bills on time. Physician assisted suicide is for those in chronic pain, losing bodily functions, and experiencing rapid deterioration.

Imagine this: you just received the diagnosis of a chronic, terminal disease. Your doctor tells you that you will soon start experiencing unimaginable pain that may sometimes make it unbearable to even get out of bed, and you will soon be unable to accomplish the most simplest daily activities that your used to, such as brushing your teeth, going to the bathroom on your own, taking a shower on your own, or even being able to walk. Who would want to suffer in pain, and live like this for the remainder of their life? Physician assisted suicide is an option for people like this, whom are in constant suffering and cant bare to live another day in agonizing pain.

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A perfect example of this was the story of Craig Ewert. In the documentary titled, The Suicide Tourist, Craig was a 50-year-old man suffering from a motor neuron disease or ALS. He was married, was a professor, and a father of two. I remember one of his quotes from the movie: “I’m tired of the disease, but I’m not tired of living. And I still enjoy it enough that I’d like to continue. But the thing is that I really can’t.” This disease has taken over his life, and he fears the point to where it will get worse, that’s why he decided to go through with physician assisted suicide. This documentary should serve as a great example to people who are against physician-assisted suicide or who don’t fully understand the physician assisted suicide process. They will not only see Craig’s struggle with life, but his courage, his bravery, and the support of his loving family. I believe that if people where to watch Craig’s story, they would truly understand why someone would want to go through with physician assisted suicide.

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3 thoughts on “Physician Assisted Suicide

  1. I totally agree with you on your viewpoint on physician assisted suicide. For some people with sever terminal illnesses, sometimes they are better off ending their lives instead of living miserably through the pain with no chance of recovery. Of course, I can see the ethic issue of why some may be against it, but that movie shows many points of why it should be allowed. I feel that if someone is suffering to such an extent that they’d rather not live anymore to have to go through the pain, then it should be their choice if they want to end it.

  2. I agree with you that PAS is a choice that should be available to people with a terminal illness. The problem I see with PAS is that it is so restrictive that people with certain degenerative conditions cannot take advantage of it. Those with ALS, like Craig, must make the decision to end their life while they can still articulate an informed choice and, more importantly, while they can still swallow. In most cases, these patients would not qualify for PAS in the US states that allow it — they would not be in the last 6 months of their life (or there would be no way to determine that, given the nature of their disease progression). A good friend of mine suffered with ALS for more than 3 years. At the end, he is was truly suffering and his death was terrible. I feel there should be exceptions granted for certain progressive diseases like ALS so patients can die with dignity on their own terms.

  3. I agree that The option of PAS should be an available option for someone suffering from a terminal illness. I think it begins to come down to the question of, what is really considered living? Being able to take care of yourself and make sure bills are paid on time, stuck in bed for the rest of your life but still able to maintain breathing functions or in a hospital surviving only through a ventilator. PAS will always be a controversial topic because there will be extremist on both sides with strong opinions. I like your reference to the documentary, I will have to check it out.

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