Why Physician-Assisted Death Should Be Legal in America

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Countless emotions run through a person's mind when they find out that they won't have much longer to live. Some people without any hesitation will take on the fight with treatment to cure their illness while others would instead take dying in their own hands and embark on a journey for the right to die. This brings me to my thoughts, why should physician assisted death be legal?

Brittany Maynard is one person who chose the latter of the two. At 29 years old she had found out she had brain cancer after suffering from debilitating headaches. After finding out she was going to die she embarked on her journey for her right to die.

Because the topic is easily manipulated, and misconstrued patients believe that doctors and family members may use that to their advantage and abuse their power of attorney/head of estate. Why is this a problem? Because, there is no said guideline after the prescription is given to the patient how and when it can be used. Laws do not consent to the death but of the prescription for the drug.

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For example, a person can have second thoughts about death with dignity or someone who is over the patient's welfare can abuse this power and decide when the patient should die. Florida legislature in 1967 shutdown Dr. Walter W. Sackett bill for the right-to-die argued these points as to why they opposed the bill. Some would then say that Dr. Sackett wasn't like your average physician once stating that “tobacco was okay to consume but frowned upon the consumption of milk”. He also reported that 9-week old babies could have a 'bacon and scrambled egg breakfast.' Ideas such as these are why many oppose.

However, what about people like Brittany Maynard and others who wanted to take control of their terminal illness and not die in what they feel would be an unpleasant death. 29-year-old Brittany Maynard who was diagnosed with grade 2 astrocytoma, a form of brain cancer, had gone through a partial craniotomy and partial resection of her temporal lobe. On April 2014, her diagnosis was then upgraded to a grade 4 astrocytoma, commonly known as glioblastoma, with a prognosis of six months to live. She soon moved to Oregon from her California home to take advantage of the state's Death with Dignity Law; she decided that it was the best option for her and her family. Once there she partnered with Compassion and Choices to help bring awareness to the right to die. The organization used different legal measures and political strageties to make death with dignity accessible in all states across the nation legal strategies.

People like Dan Diaz the husband of Brittany Maynard is still fighting for the right-to-die for terminally ill people. The ruling happened after a Riverside County California judge overturned the law due to a legislative technicality.

The cons is that in a society people find that being physically or mentally incapable is a disservice to the individual furthering the feeling of inadequacy for that individual. This issue of dignity is usually the common reason why some individuals feel that they have lost their human dignity. This insulting thought perspective that society has towards the disabled is why some believe they have lost their dignity. People with disabilities have to endure the psycho-social stigma which is why some turn to and feel they have enough justification for physician-assisted suicide. “You also run into the issue of physicians misjudging the quality of life of the patient which results in the patient going to extreme measures to have to seek freedom from the terminal or debilitating illness. Moreover, with the Physician-Assisted Suicide law, you run into the issue of elderly coercion the prevalence of elderly abuse has been one factor that raises concerns about the risk that older people with health impairments may be coerced into choosing assisted suicide. Disability abuse is similarly prevalent but less well known.

The pros of P.A.S. are patients have an opportunity to die with dignity, rather than dying without physical or mental capacities. Healthcare burden that is usually placed on the family is significantly reduced. Patients can arrange for final good-byes with loved ones in a setting that provides comfort and if needed counseling”. Also, if the patient planned for in advance, organs can be harvested and donated to someone in need of a life-saving transplant. Which brings me to how it could affect your family. Most people think that death with dignity is the best option for them to spare the family from high medical bills and the emotional strain of seeing them in distress or pain during their final's days or months of living. It gives the relief of knowing that the patient and the family has a choice in the way the life of the loved one is lived. In conclusion, I disagree with the P.A.S. law because I still strongly believe that the patients should not feel that ending one’s life is the only option. I would rather society take on the conversation about how to make everyone feel equal in the world and how levels of capacities should not define the treatment of that individual.  

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