Euthanasia: The Liberty to Die With Dignity The Pro-Life Alliance defines Euthanasia as: “Any action or omission intended to end the life of a patient on the grounds that his or her life is not worth living. ” (ProCon. org). So the question stands, should an individual who is terminally ill, is in unbearable pain, can no longer function independently, who feels their life is so intolerable that it is no longer worth living, and who is of sound mind, be permitted the right to end their own life?
Canada is said to be a free country, however hundreds of people are denied the right to end their suffering annually and die with dignity and self-respect on their own terms. Euthanasia should be legalized to relieve the suffering of those who are terminally ill and allow Canadians the right to choose their death, to dismiss the emotional burden left on family, friends and end the financial drain on hospitals, loved ones, and the healthcare system.
Euthanasia is an effective way to save the human resources and economic costs Canada uses on continuing the lives of men and women who would rather die. The energy of doctors and occupied hospital beds could be used on other patients whose ailments are curable. Instead we create a shortage of hospital space and lessen the general care of other patients whose lives could be saved. In the U. S. A last year, Medicare spent approximately $50 billion on doctor and hospital bills during only the last two months of patients’ lives (CBSnews. om). This goes for Canada too, billions of tax dollars go to keeping people who are terminally ill alive. The most logical way to cut these costs is to provide the option of euthanasia to those who are terminally ill and decide it is their time to die. In 1999, the senator of California, George Runner Said; Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) may attempt to reduce health care costs by refusing to pay for expensive or ‘unnecessary’ procedures. What better way to cut costs than on those people who won’t be here much longer anyway?
If this sounds farfetched, consider the following: While discussing the recently passed Oregon right-to-die law, a spokesperson for QualMed Oregon Health Plan confirmed that it would cover lethal medications ‘as a prescription’ while its ‘value option’ plan limits hospice care to $1,000. Just think of all the money that could be saved by HMOs if they spared the expense of treating AIDS patients or the disabled, many of whom could easily be classified as terminally ill… In 1994, the citizens of Oregon approved the legalization of Euthanasia and created a very successful system with certain criteria.
Under the Death with Dignity law those who sought physician-assisted suicide must: be terminally ill, have less than six months to live, make two oral and a written request to die, be informed of all other options, wait fifteen days for the act to occur and convince two physicians that your decision is voluntary and depression played no part in the judgment (jrank. org). Dr. Ira Byrok says “It costs up to $10 000 a day to maintain someone in the intensive care unit. Some patients remain here for weeks or even months. ”(CBSnews. com). In 2002 thirty-eight people died under Oregon’s Death with Dignity law so using Dr.
Byrok’s statistic that year alone Oregon could have saved millions because of euthanasia. Terminally ill patients can feel as though their illness is putting a burden on their family, friend and caregivers. While suffering in the hospital of a deadly ailment such as AIDS or Cancer the patients’ friends and loved ones are in a state of constant worry. Loved ones and friends are always concerned their dying friend or relative is suffering, distressed that there is nothing they can do to relieve the pain, and haunted by the possibility they may die at any moment.
Being given the option of euthanasia the patient may ease the mind of the people they love by having the ability to end their suffering and to die peacefully at a time in which they feel they are ready to pass. In addition to this emotional burden, many people do not have the money or do not want to live in the care of a nurse or hospital, so they must rely on family and friends to care for them. This has the additional burden of having to feed them, carry them to the washroom, clothe them and perform other daily chores to keep the dying individual alive.
The pressure of having to do these daily necessities to keep a loved one alive can be draining, have an extremely negative effect on the caregiver’s life, and make the caregiver become resentful and depressed. A study in Oregon shows that in 2002 thirty-seven percent of the people who chose euthanasia did so to relieve the burden of their friend, family and caregivers (euthanasia. com). Terminally ill people have enough to worry about and should not have to go through knowing they are burdening the people they love.
Canadians should be allowed the liberty to choose their death and end their suffering. Li Yan is a 28-year-old terminal cancer patient from China. She suffers from motor neuron disease and has lost motor function in her entire body. She can only slightly move her head and certain fingers and preforming basic bodily functions unassisted is impossible. Her mother tends to her; feeding her, dressing her, and carrying her to the toilet. Her mother is getting old and Li says “I must die before my parents otherwise I will live a miserable life after they pass-away—dirty, stinking, and sick.
The thought of such a life is unbearable…” Li wants nothing more than for Euthanasia to be legalized and if it is not she will be forced to inhumanly kill herself through a hunger strike, the only way she can die (chinadaily. com). In Li’s situation wouldn’t you want the liberty to your own body and the option to end your own life? When peoples pets are suffering, they put them down out of kindness, why is this same kindness not given to humans? As a citizen of a free country like Canada, people should be able to request Euthanasia to end their suffering and die with dignity.
They should not be forced to spend the remainder of their life away from family, in a hospital bed, unable to be an independent functioning individual. Euthanasia is viewed as morally and ethically objectionable to many due to the growing influence religion has on society. Religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam hold human life sacred and wholeheartedly oppose euthanasia in any form. However, Bob Dent, one of the first people to die under the Australian Northern Territory’s Rights of the Terminally Ill Act, adamantly thought that it was not right for people to force their beliefs on other individuals.
He said ‘”What right has anyone, because of their own religious faith to which I do not subscribe, to demand that I must behave according to their rules. ” (ethicalrights. com). Dent had a valid point; Death is a private matter, it hurts no one else, therefore others should not intervene. People who have a short time to live and are suffering should not be forced to remain alive because other people think assisted-suicide is wrong. It is your body, your life and should be your choice when and how you want to end it.
In recent years, states like Oregon, Montana, and Washington have passed laws that legalize euthanasia. Canada should follow their example and provide the terminally ill a way out. Terminally ill Canadians deserve the right to choose their death, end their suffering, reduce their financial burden on the economy, and provide their families and friends closure. Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide should be legal in Canada. Works Cited: Web newspaper articles: Tao, Jessie. “Severely Disabled Women Appeals for Euthanasia Law. ” China Daily. 6 March 2007. <http://www. chinadaily. com. cn/china/2007-03/16/content_829648. htm>. Television Programs: “The Cost of Dying: End of Life Care”. 60 Minutes. Steve Kroft. CBS News. December 3, 2010. < http://www. cbsnews. com/video/watch/? id=6754650n>. Websites: “Euthanasia”. ProCon. Org. 2011. < http://euthanasia. procon. org/>. 19 September 2011. “Euthanasia-Oregon’s Euthanasia Law”. Net Industries. 2011. < http://law. jrank. org/pages/6602/Euthanasia-Oregon-s-Euthanasia-Law. html>. 19 September 2011. Why People Killed Themselves in 2002 under Oregon’s Physician Assisted Suicide Act”. Euthanasia. com. 2002. <http://www. euthanasia. com/reasons2003. html>. 19 September 2011. “The Right to Die with Dignity-Euthanasia”. Ethical Rights. 2010. < http://www. ethicalrights. com/submissions/human-rights/83. html>. 19 September 2011. “Would Legalizing Euthanasia and Physician-assisted Suicide Save Money For Insurance Companies? ”. ProCon. Org. 2011. <http://euthanasia. procon. org/view. answers. php? questionID=000206>. September 19 2011.