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Assisted Suicides: the Terminally Ill

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Running head: Assisted Suicides

Assisted Suicides:
The Terminally Ill
Brenda Anyanwu
Paul D. Camp Community College

Medical Law and Ethics, MDA 207
Mrs. Joe Martino
July 22, 2009

In a recent study it had been reported that older American had increased from 58,000 in 1950 to an estimated number of 11.0 million by 2012. Our past history have shown that our country laws on assisted suicides are continually be more and more rejected of nearly all efforts to permit it. This country has engaged in intensified debates about the legality, morality and practicality of patient being assisted suicides from healthcare providers, and if people have the duty to die and take his or her life before death occurs. With media covered views about if a terminally ill people have this right, it questions our Nation’s Constitutional rights and the patients Fourteenth Amendment rights. On medical ethics view it draws a sharp line between passive euthanasia and active euthanasia.
Assisted Suicides: The Terminally Ill

Today, the baby boom generations that are growing older are experiencing terminal diseases. Most of them do not want to suffer from being on ventilator machines, tested with experimental drugs, depression, being a financial burden, losing their body functions; and medical treatment that help them sustain life. These patients do not wish to put their families through the emotional rollercoaster of suffering and they do not wish to be physical or mental burdens. Therefore, most of them consider assisted suicide. When a health care provider supplies hopelessly ill patients the means to commit suicide, which is called assisted suicide. Since the 1970s, assisted suicide has been in our local news, discussed in classrooms, and in our nation’s capitol to legalize assisted suicide. Widely known for its many supporters who think that it should be legalized, doctors are prescribing lethal doses of drugs to patients that choose to die. Oregon State had illegalized assisted suicide with the Death with Dignity Act in November of 1994. During a survey, of Oregon doctors in 1996 published in a New England Journal of Medicine, 60% of people felt that terminally ill patients should be assisted to die and 7% admitted that they help these patients die. Another part of this study was the concern that the poor, elderly, and mentally incompetent patients would be forced into assisted suicide. In April of 1997, Congress passed the Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act, which prohibits federal funded health programs form participation in assisted suicides. The reason for this decision was to protect the vulnerable groups like the disable, the elderly, and the poor from any type of neglects, mistakes or abuse. Finding them to experience being pressured by family members or health care professionals to accept assisted suicides, rather then continue long-term care at a hospital, at home, or in a nursing facility. For this reason, is to keep control and avoid any dependency. Most terminally ill patients who are on ventilator machines feel like it is too overwhelming to keep them sustained. In these types of situations these patients suffers with depression, uncontrollable pain, and mental disorders, which contributes to their illness. There are guidelines to stop ventilators from working until a discussion is made. A patient who considers suicide does not want the hassle of experimental drugs, like chemotherapy, narcotics, morphine, radiation, antibiotics or even surgeries. The idea of getting assistance with feeding, bathing, and dressing them in their home or the nursing homes, they do not wish to live that way. Patients with life threatening diseases are more likely to receive inadequate drugs to ease their pain and just prolong their death. They will most likely request assist suicide, than dying an agonizing death. Terminally ill patients become despondent over the idea of becoming financially and emotionally burden to their families. Choosing assisted suicide may be an easy way out to help their families. The Patient Self Determination Act of 1990 in effect has forced some of them to give specific written instructions not to minister any medical treatment. Thinking this could relieve some of the tremendous amount of responsibility off low income families, who have to care for their loved one. In April of 1997, Congress passed the Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act, which prohibits federal funded health programs form participation in assisted suicides. The reason for this decision was to protect the vulnerable groups like the disable, the elderly, and the poor from any type of neglects, mistakes or abuse. These responsibilities may cause them to experience being pressured by family members or health care professionals to accept assisted suicides, rather then continue long-term care at a hospital, at home, or in a nursing facility. For this reason, is to keep control and avoid any dependency. Medical professionals are looking at other alternative to help the terminal ill patients. They are finding ways to improve care for those who are terminally ill and facing near the end of their life. One of these alternatives is Palliative care in which a life threatening patients would receive treatments to relieve symptoms, but not hasten or postpone death. Its over all process is to preserve life until patient dies naturally. More and medical school teaching programs, like end of life care, and death and dying to their students. This will give each student a chance to like their patients to focus on comfort care or supportive care that would relief their suffering and prevention managed of symptoms than the prolongation. Finally, with it on growing debates to disapproved or approved, the most important thing is the terminally ill patient and their need not to suffer in agony.

Assisted Suicide. (2002, August 9). Issues & Controversies On File. Retrieved July 22. 2009, from Issues & Controversies database.

Center, T.H. (1987) Guidelines On The Termination Of Life Sustaining Treatment And The Care Of The Dying, Briarcliff Manor, New York: Indiana University Press.

How Widespread Is Assisted Suicide? (Sidebar). (1997, November 21). Issues & Controversies On File. Retrieved July 22, 2009, from Issues & Controversies database.

Supreme Court’s 1997 Ruling on Assisted Suicide (Sidebar). (2005, November 4). Issues & controversies On File. Retrieved July 22, 2009, from Issues & Controversies database.

Worsnop, R. L. (1997, September 5). Caring for the Dying. CQ Researcher, 7, 769-792. Retrieved July 22, 2009, from CQ Researcher Online, Cqresearcher/cqresrre1997090500.

Worsnop, R. L. (1992, February 21). Assisted Suicide. CQ Researcher, 2, 145-168. Retrieved July 22 2009, from CQ Researcher Online,

Yount, Lisa. (2007). Right To Die And Euthanasia. New York: Facts On File, Inc.

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