11-10-2009, 12:07 AM
I've felt that euthanasia for those who are terminally ill should be legal. I'm referring to people who have no chance of survival, such as with late-stage cancer. I actually remember reading a very moving article written by a physician who had a patient who declined treatment for her cancer(which would've been very rigorous and difficult since her's was discovered very late) and used assisted suicide(quite illegally of course). I've heard doctors will do it and even point you to the right books to research it, as well as knowingly prescribe pills they know will be used for suicide.
I must say though that you can't just be ill and opt for it. I think you need to be screened by a psychologist first who can get an appropriate idea of what your state of mind is. I also think there needs to be a required waiting period and even a form of counseling to allow the patient to properly review the decision. Overall, I think it needs to be informed and with proper precautions to prevent a mistake.
To take it a step further, I think doctors who offer these services should not be open to lawsuits either just because family members are disgruntled about someone choosing it. I know some people do not understand the decision not to fight and the one thing that would really prevent it from being pursued, even if legal, is the lack of protection. There needs to be federal and state protection of these doctors, who I believe need to be specially licensed to provide such services just like any other doctor, in order to prevent troubles. Obviously a lot of legal work would be involved in the decision to seek assisted suicide.
I feel though that the illness has to be terminal. You can't just have a mental illness and want to commit suicide(I'm hoping someone will jump up and argue this point, I find the issue very intriguing, especially when discussing if they are in treatment, yet still wish to die due to the implications of a mental illness); no, your life has to be drastically changed by the illness if it is going to be allowed. Basically, that means to me only illnesses resulting in certain(or close to certain) death or illnesses like dementia.
One thing about dementia and alzheimer's is I think the patient has to specify it will still lucid and its not far along or specify it in a legal document(which was created when they were of a right state of mind). I do not think family should have the right to decide when someone who has dementia should die. It is a completely individual choice to me. If that fail-safe is removed, I think its a slippery slope down to state-driven murder.
Though, if you think about it, family already has a role in it and assisted suicide does exist in a form. What about those in comas or on life support? Should we be allowed to "pull the plug" on them? Often those conditions are impossible to predict, meaning individual choice or feelings often would not have been discussed or legally documented. Should families be allowed to kill them, even though the individual may have wanted to live instead, or keep them alive when they take away tax dollars that could be used to patients that can be cured? I'm of the opinion that in these rare cases where there is no possibility of recovery that the state should step in then and require death of these individuals.
If that doesn't get someone jumping on me, I don't know what will.