A Dignified Death Wish Essay Research Paper

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A Dignified Death Wish Essay, Research Paper A Dignified Death Wish In the children s story, More Or Better , a boy meets an old woman in the forest, who is selling magical beans. She offers him more or better . He chooses more and spreads it around his house. The bean plants grow so high he can t get out. He then goes back to the old woman and tells her he s changed his mind and he wants better . She gives it to him, and again he spreads it around his house. After that, he had the best vegetables ever grown. This dilemma of quality versus quantity is one which people have wrestled with for years. It is also one thing that must be considered when discussing doctor-assisted suicide. Is it better to live a long time in pain or to die when the pain becomes unbearable? Should

this be an individual decision or should society, the voters, or the law decide? Doctor assisted suicide has only been a major political and ethical issue since the mid 1970 s. In previous centuries, any terminally ill person would die in a relatively short time. Now, with the miracle of modern medicine, life can be prolonged. A person with terminal cancer can live months, even years, longer than he or she would have lived one hundred years ago. (Docker) As of now, doctor assisted suicide is illegal in most of the world. The Northern Territory of Australia was the first legislature in the world to legalize voluntary assisted suicide in May of 1995. The bill was passed by a 15-10 vote after sixteen hours of debate. The bill includes the following conditions: 1. The patient must be

over eighteen and of sound mind. 2. The patient must request death, then wait for seven days. 3. The patient must then sign a formal request certificate, then wait another forty-eight hours. 4. Two doctors with at least five years experience must diagnose the patient as terminally ill and beyond medical help during the seven days; 5. One of the doctors must have diploma level psychiatric qualifications and certify the patient is not suffering from depression related to terminal illness; 6. Both doctors must be satisfied the patient has considered the implications of assisted suicide on his or her family. 7. The two doctors can t be related either through their families or their businesses; and terminally ill is defined, as the patient will die if extraneous measures are not taken

to save his or her life. There are no guidelines in the bill about the method of suicide; however, it does allow the government to prescribe a method. All assisted suicide deaths must be reported to the coroner who is responsible for making sure all legal requirements have been fulfilled. (Last Rights World News.) Two years later on October 27, 1997 physician-assisted suicide became a legal medical option for terminally ill Oregonians. The Oregon Death with Dignity Act requires that the Oregon Health Division (OHD) monitor compliance with the law, collect information about the patients and physicians who participate in legal physician-assisted suicide, and publish an annual statistical report. (Oregon House Bill 2954) The Oregon Death with Dignity Act, a citizens’ initiative,

was first passed by Oregon voters in November 1994 by a margin of fifty-one percent in favor and forty-one percent opposed. Immediate implementation of the Act was delayed by a legal injunction. After multiple legal proceedings, including a petition that was denied by the United States Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the injunction on October 27, 1997 and physician-assisted suicide then became a legal option for terminally ill patients in Oregon. In November 1997, Measure 51 was placed on the general election ballot and asked Oregon voters to repeal the Death with Dignity Act. Voters chose to retain the Act by a margin of sixty to forty percent. Currently thirty-one states have laws explicitly banning assisted suicide, while the other nineteen ban it in