Assisted suffering. Usually this is an act
Assisted suicide or mercy killing: Are either of these life ending situations within the laws that govern this country, or more importantly, our human morals? In my opinion, and seemingly in the opinion of the majority of the bodies that govern these United States, the answer to this question is no. According to Euthanasia.
com, “34 states have statutes criminalizing assisted suicide; nine states criminalize assisted suicide through common law; and three states have no laws criminalizing assisted suicide on their books. In October 1996, the State Supreme Court of Ohio ruled that assisted suicide is not a crime.Although there is no clear law in the state of Virginia, civil sanctions will be imposed on those charged with assisted suicide in that state. The states of Oregon and Washington are the only states that permit physician assisted suicide. ” Assisted suicide is the term typically used for a physician assisted death.
In this case, the patient asks the physician for help in ending their life. They are suffering and do not want to continue a life of pain and suffering. One of the largest arguments against assisted suicide is the possibility of abuse by physicians.A fear that these deaths could one day be forced upon the elderly and ill due to lack of insurance or other factors. The Essay First and Last Do No Harm by Charles Krauthammer states, “Once given power heretofore reserved to God, some exceeded their narrow mandate and acted like God. ” (54) The Hippocratic Oath, according Encyclopedia Britannica, states: “I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel.
” This statement gives credence to doctors of all disciplines to deny patients assistance to end their own life.According to Kevin O’Rourke, OP, “If physicians and nurses become associated with killing people, then trust which is the basis of the healing contract will be eroded and slowly disintegrate. ” Mercy killing, on the other hand, is causing the death of a loved one to end their suffering. Usually this is an act which is planned out and acted upon by someone who is having difficulty watching a loved one die a slow, painful death. Their love for them is so intense that they are willing to do anything to help them find peace.
In comparison to assisted suicide, the “victim” in this case does not necessarily ask to have their life ended so abruptly. Roswell Gilbert, as stated in the essay, The Quality of Mercy Killing, was found guilty of murder after shooting his wife in the head to end her years of suffering due to the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis (52 – 55. ) He spent time planning how and when he would commit this act. O’Rourke states, one reason “why such persons should not be put to death, even to end their suffering:” is that “respect for human life makes us realize that we are stewards of life, not masters of life. Personally, I agree that we are not put on this earth with the right to take another’s life. I believe that we are put on this earth to embrace life in all ways, including being there to support the ones we love, even in their darkest days. As a Hospice volunteer, I have seen many deathly ill people, both young and old.
Their families were doing the right thing, by allowing there loved one to die a “dignified” death. Keeping them as comfortable as possible without forcing an unnatural death. We all deserve the right to die with dignity!In my opinion, both assisted suicide and mercy killings are clearly murder. That being said, I cannot state with any certainty, how I would act, if at some point in the future I was faced with such a heart wrenching decision. I would like to think, however, that I would do the right thing and be there to support them, as I would like them to be there to support me.
Works Cited “Assisted Suicide Laws by State. ” Euthanasia. com. N. p. , 2011. Web.
15 Sept. 2011. http://www.
euthanasia. com/bystate. html. “Hippocratic Oath.
” Encyclopedia Brittanica Online. N. p. , 2011.Web.
11 Sept. 2011. http://www. britannica.
com/EBchecked/topic/266652/Hippocratic-oath. Krauthammer, Charles. “First and Last, Do No Harm. ” Essays from Contemporary Culture. Ed. Katherine A. Ackley.
5th ed. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2004. 55-57.
Print. O’Rourke, OP, Kevin. “Mercy Killing and Allowing to Die. ” DomCentral. org.
N. p. , Sept.
1985. Web. 15 Sept. 2011. http://www. domcentral. org/study/kor/85090701.
htm. Rosenblatt, Roger. “The Quality of Mercy Killing.
” Essays from Contemporary Culture. Ed. Katherine A. Ackley. 5th ed.
Belmont: Wadsworth, 2004. 52–55. Print.