Physician Assisted Suicide
Physician assisted suicide (PAS) is when a terminally ill patient decides that instead of continuing to live with their condition, they choose to end their lives through either cutting off their life support or by taking lethal medication. This requires a doctor’s assistance, and euthanasia (the practice of PAS) is considered suicide, which is why it has been one of the biggest controversies in history.
Studies from 2017 show that almost 75% of Americans support the concept of euthanasia and is widely accepted throughout the nation. However, it is currently only legal in 7 US states and Washington DC. Euthanasia laws differ from state to state, but in general, terminally ill adults are able to choose assisted suicide as an option to end their life if they feel that their life is not worth living anymore.
The option of PAS, however, should be extended to patients across the nation.
The continuation of life and treatment for patients with a terminal illness is an expensive undertaking. Families or individuals who struggle financially are forced to continue to pay for medical bills for patients who may not even have a chance at continuing to live. This leads to a lower quality of life for everyone involved (both the terminally ill patient and the family of this patient). The option of PAS allows a patient who knows that he or she will not be able to continue supporting medication or the costs of their illness to die painlessly and at their own discretion.
Euthanasia can also help patients who want to die on their own terms. People in the euthanasia process can have time to make sure they are prepared to die, whether it be through consolation with family members or legal processes made before death. For someone with a terminal illness, the power to take PAS as an option can also be liberating. Terminal illness can take over a person’s life, and being able to make a decision in at least one aspect of their life can empower the individual making that decision.
While PAS should definitely never be forced onto an individual, the option should at least be available to those who are suffering from a terminal illness. Otherwise, the consequences of living with a terminal illness can be mentally, physically, and financially exhausting.