Death With Dignity

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Death With Dignity

Amal Eldesouky, Reporter

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What does life mean? Is life worth living? That is the question millions of people who are terminally ill ask themselves all the time. Being terminally ill is something that we do not think about every day, since many of us are scared to see death torturing them every moment. Being diagnosed with a disease that will limit your activities, destroy your plans, separate you from your loved ones, puts your family under certain financial status, and leave you with the choice of using Euthanasia is what many of us would define as the most painful choice. A terminal disease is a disease that cannot be cured, or adequately treated, and is reasonably expected to result in the death of the patient. This term is more commonly used for progressive diseases such as cancer or advanced heart disease.

Being ill and sick with uncontrollable pain has pushed people to go beyond what’s physically expected. The Death With Dignity Act is an act that many people have been asking for and want approved in the United States. It allows people who are in pain to end their lives with medical assistance. Many people who had family members that suffered from pain agree that this act should be approved. In addition, even many doctors who have seen the suffering of their patients approve as well. For example in 2010, a polarizing physician, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, in his interview with Anderson Cooper admitted he had given medical assistance to over 130 people to end their lives. He does not regret it, because in his view, he helped them to end their suffering. He also mentioned that its the person’s national right to do whatever they want with their bodies.

According to a Gallup poll taken in 2015, nearly 7 in 10 Americans (68%) agreed that physicians should be legally allowed to assist terminally ill patients in ending their lives. This is a level of support that has remained steady since the question was first posed in 1977. Support for the law briefly jumped to 74% in 2014, after the publicity surrounding the physician-assisted death of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, who had been diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme. A majority of physicians also now accept Death With Dignity legislation. According to a large survey of medical professionals taken in 2014, 54% of respondents favored the legislation, compared with 46% in 2010. In 1997, Oregon became the first state to pass an initiative allowing terminally ill patients to self-administer prescriptions for lethal drugs to end their lives. Today, Death With Dignity legislation has been approved in California, Washington, Vermont, Colorado, Montana (court decision), and the District of Columbia, and dozens of other states are considering similar laws.

Aside from religious beliefs, death with dignity should be a national right for all terminally ill patients that have 6 months or less to live. They are not only suffering from physical pain, but they are also suffering from mental pain as well.