Posted May 22nd, 2014 by Jesse
in -N-Out Burger
May 22nd, 2014
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is an essay I wrote for school on euthanasia
Jack Kevorkian assisted in the deaths of at least one hundred thirty patients. He was performing euthanasia, an act where a terminally ill patient or a patient with an incurable disease/disorder can take medicine that will kill them painlessly within minutes. You can euthanize or put down a pet, but in most countries, human euthanasia is illegal. Jack Kevorkian was convicted of second-degree murder and served eight years in prison, and he was released on condition that he would never participate in an act involving euthanasia. The state of Michigan revoked his medical license and he was no longer permitted to practice medicine or work with patients ever again. Were any of these punishments justified? Should assisting suicide need a punishment at all?
The main reason why euthanasia is illegal in the United States is because of something called the Hippocratic Oath. The Hippocratic Oath is an oath taken by doctors that promises they will do everything in their power to keep a patient alive. Physician-assisted suicide violates the Hippocratic Oath (“I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel”), which is one of the major reasons why people are against it. Because of the Hippocratic Oath, doctors have to try to revive a dead patient, regardless of the effects. The patient could suffer brain damage or worse, but because of the Hippocratic Oath, it doesn’t matter. This oath denies rights that people have, for example: the US Supreme Court ruled that ‘a competent person has a constitutionally protected right to refuse any medical treatment’. But the Hippocratic Oath makes it so that a patient can’t do that, making euthanasia out of the question.
Here’s why this argument isn’t a good one: the Hippocratic Oath also says not to perform abortions, but that part was recently taken out. Why can’t we take out the part about euthanasia? And anyways, the Hippocratic Oath has nothing to do with laws, it’s just a thing that physicians and doctors say out of tradition; there’s no punishment for breaking it (if it was, say, the Constitution, that might be a different story). Some medical students don’t even swear to an oath, though most do.
Another reason why euthanasia should be legalized in the United States is that it’s a person’s choice. For example, if you were going to die no matter what, wouldn’t you want to do it when you’re asleep? Euthanasia is always painless (the word originates from the Greek word for ‘good death’). Usually, you just have an injection or you sip a drink that will make you go into a coma after two/three minutes. It’s a lot better than dying in a hospital bed.
One of the big arguments against euthanasia is that it is irreversible. In other words, once a patient is dead, usually there’s no way to know if they could have made a recovery and lived the rest of their life completely cure. But in all nations where euthanasia is legal, it’s almost only for the terminally ill, or the people who are going to die either way.
In eighty-six percent of cases, euthanasia shortens life by only a few hours or a week at most; people usually take it right before the date when they were going to die naturally. So euthanasia doesn’t shorten life by much.
Euthanasia is illegal in every state in the United States, and physician-assisted suicide is legal in only four (the difference between the two being which person administers the medicine; the doctor or the patient), even though eighty-six percent of people support it on the terminally ill and those who are on life support. I think that we are slowly working towards a country where euthanasia is legal everywhere and you can choose for yourself how you die.
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