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Euthanasia Needs to be a Legal Option Essay

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Euthanasia Needs to be a Legal Option

"Warren Hauser is dying. Should the Supreme Court decide that terminally ill Americans have a constitutional right to commit suicide with a doctor's help, he would qualify. Emphysema and valvular heart disease have left him debilitated and physically dependent" (Byock). For terminally ill patients like Warren, where death is inevitable and would be less painful than living, euthanasia should be a legal option.

Euthanasia is Greek for "easy or happy death" and implies measures deliberately taken by a physician to curtail pain and suffering. This concept has been enlarged to include such action in incurable diseases, especially those in which the patient must endure torment and extreme pain and/or is terminally ill ("Euthanasia"). Euthanasia is the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for their alleged benefit. If the death is not intended, it is not an act of euthanasia, so the key word is "intentional." Assisted suicide is when a person provides an individual with the information, guidance, and means to take their own life. When a doctor helps them take their life, it is labeled physician-assisted suicide. However, there is no euthanasia if what was or sometimes was not done does not intentionally cause the death. In some cases, medical actions are labeled "passive euthanasia" since the intention of taking life is lacking. Active euthanasia is intentionally causing a person's death by performing an action such as giving lethal injection ("Euthanasia Definitions"). Passive euthanasia can be more painful because neglecting care for a terminal patient puts them through more suffering and pain than active euthanasia, which speeds up death and avoids pain and s...

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Hendin, M.D. Herbert. "Scared to Death of Dying." American Foundation for Suicide Prevention 8 Dec. 2002
Hippocrates. "The Oath." The Oath. 16 Dec. 2002
Humphry, Derek. "Prisoner of Conscience." Who's Who and What's What 10 Dec. 2002
Larue, Gerald A. "Patients Should Decide." Opposing Viewpoints. Neal Bernards. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc 1989.
Moreland, J.P. Dr. "Active and Passive Euthanasia." Stand to Reason 10 Dec 2002
"Right to End Suffering Asserted." Facts on File News Services. 8 Dec 2002
"We can try to avoid making choices by doing nothing, but even that is a decision."
-Gary Collins

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