“When of Euthanasia as a way out,

“When they all seem to know at once. Sweet muse left me all alone. There’s only dead weight left. Euthanasia could be the gift.” These are the lyrics of the song Digits by the rock band Jimmy Eat World. The song conveys a person who has lost their inspiration and will of living. They feel as if there is nothing left to live for, nor anything to gain. Inspiration and reason is what drives humans to get up every morning, smile proudly and make the best out of their day. To bake a cake for the new neighbors, be industrious at work or arrive home to greet your family with an affable greeting. Whether it be for personal gain, mutualism or altruism, humans have a reason to live. However what happens when said inspiration and reason to live is lost? What happens when nothing but pain or “deadweight” is upon you? What happens when one feels so miserable that euthanasia becomes their only wish? In the song it speaks of Euthanasia as a way out, more specifically a gift. These words would usually instigate an argument as to whether assisted suicide is right or wrong. Physician aid in dying (PAD), or assisted suicide, is illegal in most of of the United States with exception of a handful of states. Euthanasia should be legalized for it has more pros than cons such as giving terminally ill patients the option of dying with dignity, brings an end to their unbearable and/or incurable illness and has financial advantages.”If I cannot give consent to my own death, whose body is this? Who owns my life (Rodriguez)?” Sue Rodriguez, age 43, was a real estate agent in canada when she was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a fatal and incurable nerve which slowly shuts down muscular functions in the body. This would include loss of muscle functioning to the point where she has no muscle control throughout her body making her unable to move, cramp and twitch, as well as cause atrophy. Rodriguez, after evaluating her situation, concluded that she did not want to experience a slow and painful death as her body deteriorates.  she took matters into her own hands and fought her way relentlessly up to the Supreme Court in an attempt to legalize euthanasia in Canada. Euthanasia was illegal in Canada at the time, 1991, as it was in the United States as well during this time period. Rodriguez fought vigorously claiming that the ban on assisted suicide was an infriction to her liberty and security as a person. After months on end, the court ruled against her stating that the ban on euthanasia, prohibiting her from being aided in assisted suicide to end her merciless struggle, did not infringe her rights as a citizen. Her attempt was unsuccessful as she lost by a 5-to-4 ruling in the supreme court, rather close to making a significant change for thousands of people on a national scale. “… Mrs. Rodriguez’s high profile struggle, and now her death, may have altered the political landscape (Farnsworth).” She became the face of euthanasia in Canada and even contributed to the recollecting of a survey stating that 77% of the public supported euthanasia. She put an end to her life at her home from assisted suicide disregarding the law and leaving a letter pleading for the government to legalize euthanasia in Canada and hopes her efforts were not in vain. (Farnsworth).America is attached to traditional ideas regarding a person’s life, claiming every person is worth kept living no matter the cost. The case of Sue Rodriguez proves to what extent those who are terminally ill are willing to go in order to end their suffering. There are numerous individuals, mostly terminally ill, that wish to put an end to their suffering once and for all claiming they have the right to commit suicide in order to do so. Those that are chained to an incurable disease have nearly no chance in life as they are expected to result dead in a short period of time, unless a drastic and miraculous change occurs. This is what American binds to. The set positive motion and faith that in many cases makes people unreasonable. Certain times the odds are towering in their favor like a mountain, yet they attempt to move it even though it’s pointless. Every person’s time comes one way or another. It is up to that person to decide when they go out. Many would agree that if there is a dramatically low chance or no chance at all of survival, that they should have the right to be euthanized. A person should have control over their life and how to live it especially when they are the ones experiencing the pain, not others. They should be given the chance to die with dignity.Not allowing people in severe medical condition to choose their outcome needs to change. “It has been suggested that death is death by suicide can be a part of natural course of severe illness (Varelius 635).” Euthanasia is starting to be seen as the natural and final step of life for those that are terminally ill, mainly in countries in which it is legal.  Not only that but it’s becoming more acceptable as others view what it’s like for those that want it. Peter Ketelslegers, age 33, from Brussels, Belgium, gets a series of unbearable headaches for which there is no cure for. “It’s like a knife being stuck in my head.” he explains “The pressure can’t go anywhere. It spreads through my whole head. I hit it to get rid of the pain.” The pain is so intense he violently hits his head, runs into walls and even wants to scratch his eyes out. “If they have to chop my arm off to stop the pain” he explains “I will chop both my arms off.” These headaches happen various times a day and can last up to 3 hours. “Peter suffered cluster headaches, which have left him unable to work and look after his family. Ultimately, he feels, unable to live (Mason and Weitenberg).” It may be viewed as extreme as he is married and a father of two yet still desires to be euthanized. (Mason and Weitenberg).There are times when terminally ill patients, amongst others, suffer physically or psychologically to the point where they do not want to go on and they should be aided when doing so. There are various reasons for seeking being euthanized ranging from becoming tired of living off of medication or connected to machines, feeling like a burden for those around them, as many need constant care, and of course having incurable and unbearable pains. “The right to refuse treatment flows from a right to inviolability… (Briscoe).” Euthanasia must first be offered and approved by the patient making it voluntary euthanasia, however involuntary euthanasia is conducted without the patient’s consent but by someone else’s, usually a close family member or relative. There are two types of euthanasia, passive and active. Passive occurs when life-supporting equipment is withdrawn and active when a harmful substance is induced into the patient’s body. There are various methods used to euthanize a human patient including drugs, injections, starvation and dehydration, gases, plastic bags and the “peaceful pill”. One drug method consists of high doses of Nembutal which slows down the nervous system and drifts the patient into a peaceful death. Another method involves using barbiturates which cause hypnotic sleeping effects. Overdosing on barbiturates are used to euthanize patients by having it injected into the artery making the patient seize into a permanent slumber. No form of euthanasia is 100% painless. Removal of food and fluids is more painful than drugs and injections, which is why this method is avoided. Regardless the method there will be some sort of pain within the last 5 minutes, however it will be nothing compared to the unbearable  pain that brought the patient to such breaking point. (Briscoe, Tricia and Nitschke).If euthanasia became legal, then it would cut healthcare expenses billions of dollars. Once a patient becomes terminally ill, they have hit rock bottom economically in most cases. The have stopped contributing to society as they become more of a cost than a benefit economically. They require to be hospitalized and cared for which is nearly pointless as the only meaningful thing that keeps them alive is their loved ones. “…those with terminal illnesses are resource sinks for society (Sprague).” By cutting money spent on hospitalization for those who are terminally ill, that money could go to other more important areas such as the blooming number of babies that are ever so high. Legalizing euthanasia is not forcing patients to be aided in suicide but be given the option to do so. It would not only help end their pain, but cut down expenses for their family. Few may realize that hospitalization could range upwards of thousands of dollars while the “peaceful pill” could be bought for approximately thirty-five dollars cutting these expenses immensely, not to mention this would save a significant amount of capital the more people consent to being euthanized. (Sprague).Just like any decision in debate, their are challenges that go along with making euthanasia legal. One major obstacle would be religion. Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug from India was strangled with  metallic chain at the age of 25 as she was sexually assaulted. This left her in a Persistent vegetative State (PVS) making her having to be forcefully fed from a gastric tube. “Researchers have found that use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can indicate if the brain is really unresponsive to stimuli (Kanchan 1252).” In various cases some can result so ill, they can’t sense any form of external stimuli. For Shanbaug, this brought her lifelong pain which brought her to believe that euthanasia was idyllic. However there was one crucial problem: Any form of euthanasia was forbidden in India as it was against their religion. A petition of cessation for euthanasia was not filed until 2011 by Shanbaug which made passive euthanasia make a landmark, but was later ruled against making Shanbaug revert back to square one. She never gained approval, but survived the maximum number of years with PVS in the world. A similar case took place in the United States with Terri Schiavo who also suffered from PVS, but was approved to be disconnected from her feeding tube to be rested in peace due to their being no hope for her recovery. (Kanchan). In the United States Christians would argue that the Bible is highly against euthanasia as it is basically one person murdering another. This is a major obstacle as a significant amount of U.S. citizens are Christians. Another challenge would be where the line is drawn for who is allowed to be euthanized. What makes someone with cancer being euthanized any different from one with depression. The answer to these obstacles could be discussed and broken down. As it is stated in countries where euthanasia is legal, it is acceptable to be euthanized if the patient is suffering from unbearable and/or incurable illness either physical and/or psychological. This would be a strong start to establish when legalizing euthanasia.The positive impacts of euthanasia far outweigh the negative elements. A person’s life is not owned by another, they should have the choice to endure the pain or die with dignity and peacefully. Who is one person to keep another alive and suffering in cases like Ketelslegers? When the pain is insurmountable, it is best to at least offer a way out. When presented with the options of either continuing to suffer greatly for nearly no reason at all and having an inexpensive, immediate and peaceful death, the answer is next to obvious.  No person should be controlled by someone else or do as someone else says, it. Is their life and theirs only. If a person has no control of their life than what do they control? Euthanasia should become legal for terminally ill patients as it allows them to die with dignity,  end their insufferable pain and cut healthcare costs significantly. After all, everyone deserves the right to die.


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