To Be or Not To Be: Whose choice Is It?

November 23, 2010
By Jglicks BRONZE, Scottsdale, Arizona
Jglicks BRONZE, Scottsdale, Arizona
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Mrs. Boyes’ wails were heard throughout the hospital as her son touched her hand. She was so incredibly ill that any physical contact caused her such excruciating pain that no amount of medicine could relieve it. After her continuous requests for death, Dr. Cox finally gave her a lethal injection of potassium chloride providing her with the peaceful death she deserved. This doctor could be prosecuted in every state except Oregon for this simple act of mercy. Euthanasia is the answer for many people and it should be legalized.

If a patient is fatally ill and in unbearable pain, or in a totally vegetative state and living solely off machines, they should have the option of ending their life. Every person should have the right of choosing death over spending their last months in agony or just waiting to die. If someone could not communicate, move, or enjoy life at all, they have no quality of life. Why would they want to continue living it? If a person wishes to die, their wishes should be respected.

Euthanasia is the perfect example of a victimless crime; if someone wishes to end their life, it is their life alone. Think about it: in the average person’s lifetime, euthanasia has been performed on hundreds of people but not once did it ever affect them. So if it makes no impact on their life, why oppose it?

Everyone has rights. The right to vote, freedom of speech, right to bear arms. What usually does not come to mind is the right of life. Although the right to live and the right to die contradict each other, they are also the same thing. Just like the right to vote: if a person wants to vote, they absolutely have that right. If they do not, they can choose not to. Every person has the right of life, but they also have the right to not live.

All morals aside, legalizing euthanasia would save a lot of money. Last year, Medicare spent $55 billion on the last two months of patients’ lives alone. That is more than the budget for the Department of Education. Up to 20 to 30 percent of that money may have been spent on procedures that made no impact at all. In other words, more money has been spent on medical treatments for dying people than on education. It can cost up to $10,000 per day for one patient in the intensive care unit. Some patients have been in the ICU for up to six months; that is nearly $2 million dollars for a single person. "This is the way so many Americans die. Something like 18 to 20 percent of Americans spend their last days in an ICU,” Ira Byock, a doctor at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center says. "And, you know, it's extremely expensive. It's uncomfortable. Many times they have to be sedated so that they don't reflexively pull out a tube, or sometimes their hands are restrained. This is not the way most people would want to spend their last days of life. And yet this has become almost the medical last rites for people as they die." In short, being a patient in the ICU is expensive and uncomfortable. A lethal injection costs $35 and would relieve all suffering. Instead of spending $2 million on a patient who may not want to be alive, it could be spent on curing the disease that ails that person. Even if just 25 people opt for death, it could make a huge splash in the medical world.

On the other hand, many people believe euthanasia is a slippery slope towards a teenager having a bad hair day and requesting a lethal injection. Some think that reducing healthcare costs and lessening the financial burden on family members will become the main reasoning for death. With well-written, specific laws, these problems would never take place. Another belief is that euthanasia is immoral and doctors are defying their oath to “do no harm”. I think that letting someone suffer and wait to die in a miserable fashion is just the opposite. A doctor is not doing a patient harm by respecting their wish to die. Looking on as someone endures severe discomfort is not my idea of morality.

In short, legalizing euthanasia is the best option. People in a permanently vegetative state or incredible pain have no quality of life, and the majority of them do not want to be alive. Everyone has the right to live and the right to die. We are going against everything we stand for as a country by forcing people to live when they want to be dead. What really blows my mind is how many people are against euthanasia when it has never affected them. If it is not a problem for you, do not interfere. These are basic rules kindergarteners learn at recess; why is it so hard for adults to comply? Both financially and medically, euthanasia would be extremely beneficial. The patients who die will save millions of dollars that can go towards the cure of terminal illnesses. If the cure is found, the death of these patients ultimately prevents the deaths of so many more. In the end, one life lost. But how many saved?

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This article has 1 comment.

on Dec. 6 2010 at 1:31 pm
BrainsANDBeauty PLATINUM, Donnellson, Iowa
29 articles 3 photos 52 comments

Favorite Quote:
I knew that guy when he was a caterpillar, you know, before he 'came out'

This is extremely well written, and I agree with these ideas, but if I didn't this would probably persuade me otherwise.  Thank you so much for writing about such a touchy subject!

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