The practice of euthanasia has posed a question of morality and ethicality which has been a major topic of controversy for centuries. It raises the issue of whether a terminally ill person should suffer torturing and lingering pain before death, or if they should be given the choice of peaceful and painless death. The euthanasia controversy is part of a larger issue concerning the right to die and staunch defenders of personal liberty argue that all of us are morally entitled to end our lives when we see fit (Euthanasia 1).
Early practices of euthanasia have been traced back to the ancient Roman and Greek Empires. In their beliefs the ancient Greeks and Romans did not consider life needed to be preserved at any cost and were, in consequence, tolerant of suicide in cases where no relief could be offered to the dying or, where a person no longer cared for his life (Voluntary Euthanasia 2).
The word euthanasia derived from the Greek words eu thanatos which means gentle and easy death.
In society, euthanasia can be viewed in two different forms; passive and active. Passive euthanasia involves a terminally ill person to do nothing to prevent his or her death and allowing himself or herself to die. On the contrary, active euthanasia involves a request by the dying patient or that persons legal representative to have a physician inject a lethal dose of a drug to kill the person. Active euthanasia is the more controversial of the two and is currently illegal in the United States. The attempt to legalize euthanasia has lead to the right to die movement which states that such laws violate the peoples privacy and rights. This movement was led by Dr.
... family (Courier). Opposers of euthanasia feel that a person should not have the right to end their life. They think that the patient ... is active euthanasia, which means that a physician or other medical personnel takes a deliberate action that will include death such as: ... request from an AIDS patient. Instead of helping the patient die the physician refused and put him on morphine, steroids, and ...
Jack Kevorkian who believes people have a right to avoid a lingering, miserable death by ending their own lives with help from a physician who can ensure that they die peacefully (Jack Kevorkian 1).
Dr. Jack Kevorkian respected requests from the patient and illustrated rebellion against such laws which strip people of the right to choose their own fate. The state of Oregon protects the laws of active euthanasia and provides a choice with the Oregons Death with Dignity Act, which allows prescriptions of lethal doses of a drug to be self – administered by the patient under strict circumstances and procedures. Making active euthanasia in the United States illegal sparked debates of whether it violates our Human Rights Act and has also gained worldwide attention in countries including the Netherlands and Australia. The majority of society supports the idea behind the question; which comes first, rights or needs? (Kohl 46) and argue that our rights our crucial to the quality of life. Active euthanasia has been a controversial issue in the United States and was made illegal throughout the nation except in the state of Oregon.
The state of Oregon passed an Oregon Death with Dignity Law in 1997 and became the first and only state to legalize physician assisted suicide (PAS).
This law provided permission for physicians to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to terminally ill patients who requested such medicine. The lethal dose allowed the terminally ill patient to decide his own time to die and embedded him with the right to choose of what he wants from his life. Some family members of the patients who volunteered to use PAS discussed the patients desire to avoid a prolonged death where he/she lost control of mind and body, with four family members specifically noting the patients fear of ending life comatose on a respirator, despite having advance medical directives (Oregons DeathYear 5).
The functional perspective is a perspective theory based on the following hypotheses. First, a society is made up of several institution which works together to promote the integration, balance, stability and consensus building within the said society, thus, the society’s main aim is to maintain social order. The society, as a system is made up of different parts each of which has a ...
The Oregon Death with Dignity Law has very strict requirements and a special procedure to qualify for the prescribed lethal dosage. The laws specific safeguards include three main requirements which ensure that the patient is protected and is in control of the process (Safeguards of the Law 1).
Before any consideration for the prescription from the physician, the Oregon law requires the patient to be at least an adult (18 years of age or older), be an established resident in Oregon, and finally must be diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within 6 months (Safeguards of the Law 1).
Certain Right to Die organizations are battling a fight to keep the peoples rights in our possession and not the governments, A new freedom is being demanded today: the freedom to choose death. More and more people are now realizing that the right to die with dignity, so long denied to countless people, is a basic human right that should be available to those hopelessly ill patients who request it (Russell 17).
In addition, the state of Oregon covers every aspect of the patients rights and makes sure that the safeguards are fulfilled in the following procedures: The patient must make two oral requests to their physician, separated by at least 15 days. The patient must provide a written request to their physician witnessed by two individuals who are not family members or primary caregivers. A patient must rescind his or her request at any time.
The diagnosis and prognosis must be confirmed by the prescribing physician and a consulting physician. The prescribing physician and a consulting physician must concur that the patient is capable (defined as able to make and communicate health care decisions).
If either physician determines that the patients judgment is impaired, the patient must be referred for a psychological examination. The prescribing physician must inform the patient of alternatives including palliative care, hospice and pain management options. The prescribing physician must request that the patient notify their next of kin of the prescription request. (1) Finally, the full process of such procedures has to be reported to the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) in order to complete approval for the lethal medication. Such a law in Oregon will begin a nationwide movement in hopes to spread knowledge about peoples rights and hopefully progress to legalize active euthanasia throughout the country. Similarly, the case of Diane Pretty exhibited the denial of her rights.
The issue of physician-assisted suicide has come to be one of the most controversial legal issues in recent history. In my opinion I think that the law is designed to lay out guidelines for the social conduct of individuals in society. Yet, within this definition there are extremes on both ends of the spectrum in which the law encompasses. The question of whether or not physicians can legally ...
Diane Pretty is a 43 year old woman who is terminally ill ….