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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

KORENICH: Physician-assisted suicide should be legalized nationwide

Photo by Anabelle McDonald
Physician-assisted suicide is legal in five states: California, Montana, Oregon, Colorado and Vermont.

Currently, there are five states that have legalized physician-assisted suicide: Oregon, Vermont, California, Montana and Colorado.

Physician-assisted suicide can be defined as the voluntary termination of one’s own life by the administration of a lethal substance and includes help from a physician. Some reasons people choose to end their lives this way include unbearable pain, a poor quality of life due to an illness, or incurable, lifelong disease. Euthanasia should be legalized everywhere to allow people to end their lives on their own terms.

The first time I heard about euthanasia was after reading a Chicago Tribune article on the case of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman who had brain cancer. She became an advocate for the terminally ill who wanted to end their own lives. She was living in San Francisco and had to move to Oregon in order to take advantage of the Death with Dignity Act. This is an act that allows terminally ill patients to end their lives with the help of physicians. According to a Facebook post, she passed away peacefully in her bed surrounded by family and loved ones.

Luckily, things worked out the way Maynard wanted them to, but it didn’t come without some struggles. To die peacefully, she had to uproot her whole life in San Francisco and move to Oregon. Patients shouldn’t have to move in order to do what they want in their lives and this case is a great example of how valuable euthanasia really can be.

In 2009, Medicare paid $55 million in hospital bills during the last two months of patients’ lives. Research also found that 20-30 percent of these medical expenses had no meaningful impact on those people’s lives. In comparison, drugs for physician-assisted suicide cost about $75-100. It is unfair that families are forced to spend thousands of dollars to keep a loved one alive when the patient in question would rather be dead.

The Catholic Church is one of the groups most against physician-assisted suicide. It believes that life is the most basic gift that God has given people, and although humans have stewardship over those lives, they do not have absolute dominion.

The Catholic Church teaches that as a steward of this life, people must not harm themselves or anybody else. Not only are they saying people shouldn’t choose physician-assisted suicide, but also that doctors shouldn’t administer it.

Much of the controversy regarding euthanasia comes down to the question of whether or not patients have the right to choose the time of their death, or could go on living an uncomfortable and painful life.

Everyone should be able to end their lives in the way that they choose. Patients who are in a horrible amount of pain should have the choice to end their lives and also have the choice of how people will remember them. No one wants to be remembered as being in a hospital bed for their last few months, especially when this puts a damper on the lives of the patient’s loved ones.

In places where physician-assisted suicide is not legal, people go to other measures to end their lives. It would surely cause families less trauma to know what was going to happen to their loved one, rather than to be surprised by their death.

Despite the controversy that surrounds euthanasia, it should be allowed in all states. Power should be given to the patient to decide what they want to do with their lives. This method of death not only provides a lot of relief for patients, but families as well, and is a very viable option not only for emotional reasons but monetary as well.

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  • S

    SharonJul 25, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    I am for euthanasia. It’s not a difficult decision when a person has a terminal illness… but try to consider a person with either a crippling disease or multiple immune system disorders… like myself.

    I remember when I first got Crohn’s disease and it had not yet been diagnosed. The pain was so bad… and as my body was diminishing in front of my parents who did not know how to help their 23 year old daughter, I prayed daily to end it. My doctors then (HMO docs) refused to help me.

    After 6 to 7 agonizing months, my parents took me to a hospital outside my insurance plan and found me a doctor who cared and diagnosed me. Fine… I could live with this as long as I had meds.

    2 years later I hemorrhaged and had Emergency surgery. Still dealing with pain. And thanks to the steroids and messing myself often … 25 with no hope of a boyfriend, husband or children.

    By the time I was in my 40s I was having excessive problems. I learned to live alone and with the pain. And the idea of my multiple tumors (that I still have), the hysterectomy I was getting ready for and still no kids made me more depressed. And yes I thought again of ending that life. (I tried once unsuccessfully)

    Within the year I had been diagnosed with Asthma, Lupus, Sjogrens Syndrome, Reynouds phenomenon, fibromyalgia, Sarcoidosis and a few other things I cant even think of. And I’m anaemic and I get pneumonia every other year… even with the shot.

    Now I am 57 and in constant pain from head to toe and refuse to take narcotics. I’m okay with it because I now have 2 cats and a dog and a husband who has worse problems than I do. He’s going blind and deaf, has diabetes and skin cancer on a regular basis. He constantly has stuff cut off him. So I try not to complain and make the best of it. I am also a Realtor now so I have to hide my issues and pain from people in order to get and keep a client. Not always easy, especially on days when the pain is so bad I can hardly walk.

    Like I said I’m only 57, … my husband is 79 and has me to help him. He also is a firm believer in euthanasia.

    I DREAD getting his age with all of these problems. As we prepare for his basil cell carcinoma surgery on his eyelid, we sit and discuss things like dr. Kevorkian and movies like Soilent Green and talk about how good of an idea that was. Being able to quit when you just can’t take the pain anymore. Like I said, he has me and be has a son. Me… if I lose him I may have sisters, but they have their lives and won’t be able to take care of me.

    I don’t want to go into a home or live in pain or live knowing that I can’t control my bodily functions. Not fun. And I like having fun.

    But, even if they pass laws that will allow a terminally ill patient to die with dignity, unless I add the big “C” to my long list, It still won’t help someone like me with incurable chronic diseases. Multiple.

    So… who knows… maybe if I live another 20+ years they will either have cures for me or allow euthanasia…. but I doubt both.

    For now, I won’t judge anyone who wishes to end their pain. And I am a Christian which keeps me going. Not my place to judge anyone as we all must work out our own soul salvation.

    Good luck to all of you out there dealing with issues like mine or worse. May God bless you all.

  • S

    Sue McKeownFeb 13, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    How absolutely callous that you would advocate euthanasia or assisted suicide as a way to save money on Medicare expenses on end-of-life care. The value of human lives cannot ever be quantified by the cost of their medical care. It is possible that some people receive unwanted medical care near the end of their lives. However, patients always have the right to refuse any medical treatment they deem unreasonable. And advanced directives, such as a health care power of attorney or a living will, allow a person to put their wishes in writing if s/he is not able to speak for her/himself. Sometimes patients and their family members must be more assertive about making their wishes known, it’s true. There is also palliative and hospice care to relieve pain and provide true death with dignity. Furhermore, committing suicide is not illegal. Just don’t ask medical professionals to be complicit in it.

    • E

      edwardsFeb 14, 2018 at 10:05 pm

      Psychologists and other experts do NOT call it ‘suicide’ if the patient is terminally ill.

      There are ;medical professionals’ who are willing to provide the means to end one’s life.
      It’s up to the terminal patient to decide IF he wants to do it. Many don’t.

      • S

        Sue McKeownFeb 23, 2018 at 4:26 pm

        We don’t need to endorse a societal method for premature death with medical assistance. Experts who support this don’t consider it suicide. Equally qualified experts who oppose it consider it suicide. There are plenty on both sides. In states and Canadian provinces where it is legal, many physicians, hospitals, hospices, and long-term care centers oppose it on religious and/or moral grounds and refuse to participate in it.

  • B

    Bradley WilliamsFeb 6, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Correction please:
    Thankfully like 44 otherstates no one in Montana has immunity from prosecution for assisting a suicide, no doctor, nurse, care giver or guardian
    The euthanasia monopoly has done you a disservice. The promoters of assisted suicide have worn out their thesaurus attempting to imply that it is legal in Montana. Physician assisted suicide is a homicide in Montana. Our Montana Supreme Court mmdid rule that if a doctor is charged with a homicide they might have a potential defense based on consent. By this comment the court acknowledged it is a homicide.
    The court did not address civil liabilities and vacated the lower court’s claim that it was a constitutional right.
    Unlike Oregon, no one in Montana has immunity from civil or criminal prosecution, death certificates are not legally falsified and investigations are not prohibited like in Oregon, Washington, Colorado and California. Does that sound legal to you?
    Perhaps the promoters are frustrated that even though they were the largest lobbying spender in Montana, their Oregon model legalizing assisted suicide bills have been rejected in Montana in 2011, 2013 and 2015. The predatory corporation withdrew from their bullying legislative position in 2017. They simply did not try a fourth time and we celebrate saving lives every day in Montana.

    Yes you may like the concept of assisted suicide/euthanasia but the non transparent laws in OR, WA, CA & CO brightly provide immunity for predators (corporations, strangers, caregivers, heirs, guardians…) to complete the killing all before the family knows. A simple reading of the laws confirms this to be true. I am not for that.
    Are you?

    • E

      EdwardsFeb 13, 2018 at 10:57 pm

      So they get to suffer in backwards Montana. Great!

      The Catholic Church has no business dictating to those who disagree. It has no credibility left.