Euthanasia: The End to Suffering
Terminally ill patients should be entitled to end their suffering with a quick, painless death if they choose to do so. The United States Constitution guarantees all Americans the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Forcing someone to languish in agonizing physical and emotional pain, with mounting medical bills, is hardly a life one would choose; it contradicts liberty, and defies any definition of happiness. Euthanasia, or physician-assisted suicide, is a compassionate option to those with no hope of recovery.
I hope to live a long and healthy life, then die peacefully in my 90s while still in good health. Unfortunately, the statistical realities of death do not guarantee such a scenario to any of us. Many people end up being stricken with devastating illnesses, unanticipated health disorders, or tragic injuries. Since the beginning of recorded history, societies have grappled with how to compassionately take care of individuals enduring afflictions. The question consistently surfaces, are we morally justified in taking lethal measures as a means of putting the terminally ill out of their misery? In recent times this has been connected with the philosophies of “the right to die” and “death with dignity.”
Critically ill patients deserve the choice to be released from tortuous conditions, and the legal system has a moral duty to honor their request. A phrase from the modern Hippocratic Oath states, “I will remember that there is an art to medicine as understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife, or the chemist’s drug… If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life.” (Lasagna 1964). This revered physician’s promise affords medical professionals an opportunity to compassionately serve all the needs and desires of their patients. In the legally protected doctor-patient relationship, there must be assurances to protect all involved from...