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Why Euthanasia? Why Doctor-Assisted Suicide? Why Now?

Why Euthanasia? Why Now? Americans wonder why the big push for legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide. After thousands of years of considering such practices sinful and illegal, why the vocal effort at changing policy? This paper will look closely at how and why the new pro-euthanasia/assisted suicide attitude is sweeping around the world. The 89 year old woman died of dehydration starvation after six days without food and fluids, despite evidence that she had repeatedly asked for water. A scene from a drought-stricken Third World country or Nazi Germany? No. Ella Bathurst died October 28, 1984 at a prestigious Midwestem hospital in the USA. Mrs. Bathurst had been living alone until she fell and fractured her hip. She was treated at the hospital and then she was transferred to a nursing home. When she developed problems in swallowing, she was transferred back to the hospital for rehydration therapy. After three days, at the insistence of Mrs. Bathurst’s daughter, the IV was discontinued and food and fluids were withheld. According to hospital records, Mrs. Bathurst was “alert and responsive” most of the time, yet she was not consulted regarding the withdrawal of food and water. (Gula) Similar cases are occurring more frequently as a traditional medical standard – the presumption to treat — is being eroded. Under common law, competent patients are able to refuse treatment, provided the decision is reasonable and based on sufficient information for informed consent. In the case of an incompetent or comatose patient, the usual method of determining treatment was for the physicians involved in the case to discuss treatment options with the family of the patient. It was presumed that the patient would want beneficial treatment and would not want to die of dehydration and starvation. Likewise, it was presumed that the family would want the best care for the patient. Physicians themselves swore to the Hippocratic Oath: “First, do no harm.” Unfortunately, this presumption in favor of treatment is being eroded in our society. Generally, through five means: the medical profession, pro-euthanasia organizations, state legislation, court opinions, and the media: 1. As an indication of where segments of the medical profession are heading, in March 1986 the judicial council of the American Medical Association (AMA) ruled that it is ethical for physicians to withhold “all means of life-prolonging treatment” from people in “irreversible” comas even if death is not imminent.

Free Euthanasia Essays: Hospice and Physician-Assisted Suicide

Hospice and Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia

One Work Cited This essay will present the views of that worldwide organization named Hospice which has seen the quiet, natural death of millions of terminally ill patients – without the use of physician-assisted suicide. It is important that the voice of the largest caregiver for the terminally ill be heard, and listened to attentively. For they have the most experience. The Hemlock Society is nothing (in scope, importance, goals)in comparison to this great Hospice Organization (HO).

Hospice professionals and caregivers have given the issue of physician-assisted suicide much thought and consideration in recent years, and adopted an organizational position on the issue as early as February of 1992. Last year, when the debate increased in intensity, the HO not only reaffirmed its earlier position, but strengthened it. The Organization’s Resolution clearly states, “That assisted suicide is not a component of hospice care; …” and “That the Hospice Organization does not support the legalization of voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide in the care of the terminally ill.”

Hospice workers, likely more than any other group of care providers, deal with the desperation that many individuals feel when they accept the fact that their illness is likely to be the cause of their death. In that process, hospice staff deal not only with the physical pain of the illness, but also the emotional pain of facing leaving one’s family, the social pain of enduring what may be considered indignities, and the spiritual pain associated with one’s cultural and personal beliefs about life after death. Through an interdisciplinary approach that is unique to hospice care, patients who elect hospice receive treatment for all their concerns. Hospice caregivers have discovered three central reasons a terminally ill person may want to discuss suicide.

One is a fear of uncontrolled pain. Another is fear of abandonment, of being left alone to die and feeling there is no one to care. The third is concern over financial pressures that may leave a family devastated by the last illness. Hospice addresses these concerns as quickly in the disease process as is possible, and hospice workers everywhere will tell the public that when these issues are under control, the desire to end one’s life becomes a non-issue. Hospice workers dedicate their professional and often their personal lives to successfully resolving those issues. The hospice community is very concerned that the legalization of

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