Debatable: Terminally-ill patients should be able to die with dignity

Angie Bravo, Staff writer

Assisted suicide is the act of terminating one’s own life through the intake of lethal substance with help provided by a physician. Death with Dignity laws allow those that meet certain criteria to end their life in California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. However, these laws should be extended throughout the U.S. for physical and emotional reasons.

One that is in aggravating pain, to a point in which people would decide they should end their own life should not have to keep enduring their torture of living.”

— Angie Bravo

For example, in January 2014 Brittany Maynard discovered she had brain cancer. Numerous procedures had been performed to remove the cancerous tumor but despite all efforts, the cancer returned with a greater magnitude: it was predicted she would not live more than six months. Residing in California — which had not had legalized laws on assisted suicide yet — moved to Oregon to use the Death with Dignity law that was in place. After having survived a stroke, Maynard decided to end her life on November 1, 2014, before her strokes could get worse: Maynard could have lived up to a point where would no longer be able to move or speak but she chose to die with dignity as anyone should be given the choice to do.

Furthermore, when one thinks of assisted suicide we only take the patient into consideration but the family members and friends suffer as well seeing their loved ones get worse through the days. Ethan Remmel died in 2011 voluntarily, for example, so he would not reach a point in which he could not interact with his kids. Remmel had terminal colon cancer and in order to spare pain to himself and his family, he peacefully ended his life with sedatives.

When thinking of assisted suicide we must remember that the direct patients are not the only ones in pain; Family members and friends do not desire to see their loved ones and thereby for the emotional well-being of everyone when going through a tough situation, assisted suicide laws should be enacted through the U.S.

One prominent counter-argument against having nationwide assisted suicide laws is that it is believed to be unethical for a physician to participate in the death of others given that doctors must abide by the Hippocratic Oath. The oath states various factors a physician must follow, one of which states, “to treat the ill to the best of one’s ability.” Thus the oath is used against assisted suicide but in the realm of deadly medicine, chemotherapy keeps being used despite its negative health effects. Thereby, the oath presents inconsistencies and cannot be used a way to impede people’s right to die peacefully.

Just as people can choose to have others live, the patients themselves should be able to choose to die so they may no longer suffer physically and emotionally. Death is mercy upon those that want to go with dignity and thus they must be given the option to die when they choose.