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Legalizing Euthanasia: a Practical Approach

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Legalizing Euthanasia: A Practical Approach
Theressa Thacker RN
Excelsior College

Abstract We are all in the process of dying from the day we are born. The prevalence of catastrophic diseases that once killed swiftly such as pneumonia, cholera, and massive heart attacks, have been replaced by chronic and, often, degenerative diseases such as advanced cancers, diabetes, lung disease, and Alzheimer’s, leading to a slow death for most (Gardner, 2012). This places a great financial burden on the Medicare system as well as patient’s families. Atul Gawande (2010) reports that twenty five percent of all Medicare spending is for the five percent of patients who are in their final year of life, and most of that money goes for care in their last couple of months, which is of little apparent benefit (p. 3). Even more concerning is the suffering that many patients are forced to endure due to the lack of other options. Patients must have the right to make autonomous decisions regarding the end of their lives. They need to be confident that those decisions will be upheld, even if they conflict with the wishes of their families or physicians. However, patient confidence in knowing that their final wishes will be met is complicated by a lack of education and empowerment for those who face these difficult decisions (Frank & Anselmi, 2011). The purpose of this essay is to discuss the benefits to patient autonomy and the Medicare budget, by the legalization of physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia.

Legalizing Euthanasia: A Practical Approach
Imagine that your beloved pet suffered a stroke and could no longer eat, drink, walk, or care for itself the way it had been able to do previously. Would you have a feeding tube inserted into him and care for his every personal need? The answer to this question may seem obvious when discussing a pet, but what...

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