Recently, and was returned home for burial.

Recently, and was returned home for burial.

Recently, a patient with throat cancer was transferred to Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Halifax from Moncton Hospital. Queen Elizabeth II Hospital is a cancer specialty hospital.

Six weeks after the transfer, the patient died and was returned home for burial. The family was shocked to find a doctor, who worked in the intensive care unit, was charged with first degree murder of a patient who was diagnosed with throat cancer. In Oregon, physician- assisted suicide was passed into law. The law, the death with dignity act, was passed three years ago by a two- percent margin. It allows people over the age of 18 to obtain lethal doses of drugs if they have six months or less to live. “They unleashed a force in this in nation too powerful to control”, says Carrie Gordon, bioethics analyst for focus on the family in Colorado Springs.

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There has grown a new fear in American society today and that is the fear of the hospital. This fear has grown with in the past thirty to forty years. The role of hospitals has changed from a shelter of the sick and the poor to a place where high- tech machinery tends to frighten and scare many.

This seems to be another factor that has fueled the fire for euthanasia. II. Is Aging a Problem?Answering this question with a simple yes or no statement would not do it justice. In 1985, the percentage of the American population over 65 was 11%. It has been projected that in fewer than fifty years the figure could jump to 20%. Also, it was documented that number of people over 85 will triple and the number of people to reach 100 years of age will grow four folds . From 1981 to 1986, the suicide rate elderly Americans increased 25% .

As we all know, the elderly tend to have more financial stability than the younger generations. In recent years the amount of funding dedicated to Medicare and other healthcare supplements has been cut back. This will cause a serious problem as the population ages heading into the next millennium and it seems that the federal government does not or could not care. “Our society needs to learn to debate the issues around the situation,” says Joanne Lynn M.D.

So, with this in mind it would seem that there will be many more states to adopt the “Right to choose” laws to save money. As costs rise, so will the suicide rate among the elderly because many will feel like a burden upon their family. Is this way we want our society to become, or has it become that way already given the statistics of suicide rates?The Church is faced with this very problem. Can the church proclaim it’s view on death effectively in an age where human life is not valued? Will the teachings of the Church overcome this great obstacle?III.

Positions for Physician- Assisted suicide Some people say we should allow people to chose when it is their time to die because it is their life. Some say we treat our animals more humanely when it comes to the terminally ill. The question is why should we allow this type of rhetoric to be practiced or passed into law. Some authors have published ideas that need to be viewed.One of these authors is Antony Flew who wrote an essay entitled “The Principle of Euthanasia”. The first idea he presents is patients with incurable and painful diseases.

He points out laws that allow people to suffer and have others watch the patient’s bear their pain is a law of cruelty. Secondly, he states the claim that any law that allows patients to suffer until “death by natural cause is degrading. These points are followed not by an all out assault proclaiming lawmakers should allow euthanasia as a tool to cure the common cold, but he believes this “treatment” should be administered to patients who request it in a sane, conscience state of mind . IV. Fear in the Medical fieldWith the recent passing of the law in Oregon, doctors have grown fearful “that a shroud of secrecy will cloak this practice so that it will be impossible to expose abuses or reverse course” .

When the law was passed about three years ago, it passed by a 2% margin (51 to 49%, respectably). When the law was again voted on in 1997, it passed by 20%. This could mean physician like “Dr. Death” (Jack Kevorkian) might have found a home to practice. V.

Doctors who employ the church’s ministryMany in our society see physician -assisted suicide as the only way to advert a painful and disgraceful death, but there are doctors who have found a way to live out the church’s ministry and satisfy the patients needs as the end of life nears. In order for the doctor’s to employ their religious values to patients, they have turned to other doctor’s or drugs to see their patients through their toughest and hopeless battle. These doctors have had great success with their programs.One of these doctors is Dr. Edmund Pellegrino . Some of his patients have asked him to assist their suicide, but he refuses and gives them an alternative.

Their alternative is rather unique and new in medicine. First, he will give them drugs to relieve the pain, which all doctors due any way. Then, he will bring in a pastoral counselor to help deal with their clinical depression and the family is also counseled. He has found that patients and families have resolved differences and bonded together in the patient’s dying days.

Many have thanked him for not responding to their request to commit suicide.VI. The Attack on the Church Through out this ordeal, the Catholic Church has been attacked either through the belief of the “Right to Choose”, or they have been singled out as a target group. They have been hit with much anti- religious rhetoric that pounded a way at the beliefs of the Catholic faith community. Bishop Kenneth Steiner said, “They the right to choose groups tried to divide us brother against sister, child against parent, younger against older, one faith community against another”.The Church is trying to avoid the slippery slope theory.

If physician -assisted suicide begins with the killing of the terminally ill, were will it end. There is more to protect than the sanctity of human life that is at its end. There are people who are mental and physical challenged.

Will their aliments certify as a reasonable means to end their life through physician -assisted suicide? Many people talk of allowing physician -assisted suicide to become law in this country, but people forget that depression may become part of the mentally and physically handicapped. Could depression become a reason to have an assisted suicide preformed ? This is where this topic could become a violent crash between morals and an individuals right to choose the matter of one’s death.There are other people in this society who are usually not seen as people, but can be included in this category.

The people that are not usually included are babies and children. There are other forms of physician -assisted suicide other than “pulling the plug”. If a baby has birth defects that can be fixed with surgery, should they be left to die? These are some of issues that the church is dealing with today in facing this extremely volatile.I. What is the Church’s View?”Thou shall not kill” is the fifth commandment of God, but to say that this commandment is sufficient enough is far from true.

The Bible, itself, is riddled with stories involving death, but only to end in a new beginning. The Christian community has always accepted death, but has rejected suicide. The Church believes there is a clear difference between suicide and death.

Death, in the Catholic Church, is seen as a new beginning . It is seen as a new communion with God. Death has also been seen as a saving grace that Jesus Christ performed so that all humans, of all walks of life can share in God’s paradise after death.

The acceptance of death is also seen in the Eucharistic celebration in the words, actions, and scripture presented to the faith community. The crucifix is the center of faith for Christians and symbolizes the acceptance of suffering for a greater good. This greater good is the salvation of the human race. On the other hand, suicide has been labeled as a selfish way to end suffering as well as one’s life. Jesus Christ accepted death and endured suffering to free humankind from sin, while suicide is seen as freeing one’s self from suffered and accepting sin. Suicide is seen as degrading the human body and defacing the image and likeness of God.The Church has portrayed death a natural occurrence, while modern medicine has made into something that is ugly and repulsive.

The Catholic Church has said that life is a gift and was given, by God, to use up until the time of death. Modern medicine has tried to defy the boundaries of life with machinery and drugs.IX. ConclusionThe Catholic Church is trying to prevent people from abandoning a life that is still worth living and in the church’s eyes no matter the condition.

It seems as though social conditions have changed the way people think. With the emergence of AIDS, people have changed their minds about health care. Can the Church still proclaim the word regarding death as a new beginning in the Kingdom of heaven with God, or has society become so individualized that religious beliefs have no place?With the change in society, lawmakers seem to play into the hype of this ever-changing world. Are lawmakers playing the good Christian and going to mass on Sunday and ignoring their faith the rest of the week to ensure a re- election? The Church needs to use its political power to overcome these types of problems. Also, spiritual guidance the faith community would help their cause greatly.

The needs to get out into the community and search for the problems that exist instead of just praying about them. If the Church did these things there would be no need worry about physician- assisted suicide or things of the nature because the faith would be strong in the people’s hearts.

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