Death With Dignity

Physician assisted suicide gives terminally ill patients the chance to take their lives into their own hands.


Every life comes with an expiration date. Death is usually a scary thought, but if we can control it and wield it for our benefit, is it as terrible? Our time is precious to us, even more so if its end is in sight.

All patients wishing for assisted suicide must be of sound mind and be capable of ingesting prescribed medications without the help of a physician.

If your days were numbered, you were in pain every day, and your quality of life decreased daily, would you bother hanging around? Death with dignity is a program that enables terminally ill patients to opt for an early death. Laws allowing physician-assisted death were first passed in Oregon in 1994. Currently, treatments are available in Oregon, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Washington, Maine, Vermont, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. in some form or another.

We don’t call it murder when we put our pets to sleep. We think of it as a merciful treatment, ending their suffering and letting them go in peace. Why can we do that with the animals we love, but still think it’s wrong to aid people in the same way? Assisted suicide is only an option for those who have less than 6 months to live. According to Death with Dignity, there are many requirements that restrict this program to certain individuals. The patient must be a mentally competent adult, with a prognosis of death within six months from a terminal illness, and they must be capable of self-administering their prescription. These requirements are set in place so that this treatment is only available to those who have no other options and may wish to end their suffering sooner than their death ticket may anticipate. This is a kindness not only to those who are ill, but to their families as well. Medical News Today discusses the pros and cons to allowing this procedure, one argument in favor being that it may help shorten and ease the grieving process for loved ones. The patient should also be able to choose how they spend their remaining time; only they can know how they feel, and they should be allowed to decide if it’s worth it to keep living.

There is a certain grace hiding beneath deaths grim veil. People don’t want to be remembered as a suffering invalid, poisoned and rejected by life. They leave us their possessions, so that we might remember who they were before their illness stole them away.

There are potential problems with this, but they could easily be fixed. One such problem is that patients may feel like a burden on their family and a drain on resources which could lead to consent to a premature death they don’t really want. But a way to help avoid this is to have patients be assessed by multiple medical professionals including psychiatrists and a personal therapist if they have one. People that suffer from depression might also be more likely to choose assisted suicide, so looking at their medical history and doing background checks could help physicians pick out patients with mental health problems. And every once in a while, there is the slightest chance that someone may make a miraculous recovery. Most patients are given a statistical analysis of their likelihood of recovery, and then it just a matter of personal choice; again, only the patients themselves can know how they feel and make the decision.

Overall, this procedure is a valuable option for terminally ill people to have. It is a fast and peaceful way for those to leave this world and it grants people the ability to die with dignity. Choice. That’s the most important thing. This treatment is only offered to those who have no other options, giving them two: the option to live until they eventually die from their illness, or to accept death on their own terms when they’re ready.

Death comes to us all.  If you knew your days were numbered, how would you choose to go out?