There are an alarming number of people that are living in constant, unrelenting, severe and in many cases unnecessary pain. The advances in medicine and technology have been prolonging people's lives for decades. People with terminal illnesses included. It is imperative that individuals have the ability to peacefully end their lives when faced with a life-ending illness. Legalizing physician assisted suicide gives a person faced with a debilitating terminal illness the right to end their suffering by taking a prescribed lethal dose of medication. We have the right to refuse treatment but without out the right to end our pain, refusing treatment would be extremely painful. This debate has led to Living Wills, Power of Attorneys for Health Care, and Do Not Resuscitate orders.
In the 1970's, a man was severely burned in an explosion who pleaded for the ability to end his life. His pleas were denied. Due to the new advances in medical technology he was kept alive. If the accident had taken place just a couple of years earlier the victim would have succumbed to his injuries. Ten years later he was asked if he would have wanted a different outcome. He still would rather have died than suffer as he did, (Ekland-Olson & Aseltine 1). Around the same time a young woman was lying in a persistent vegetative state. Her parents wanted the life support removed. After a court battle, along with religious doctrines, the New Jersey court sided with the parents and the life support was removed. Unbeknownst to all she lived for nine years without the respirator breathing for her, (Ekland-Olson & Aseltine 1). .
Hospice or palliative care is an option available to patients that are at the end of their lives; but for many the medications are not effective. For many years physicians have allowed and even helped patients to die, (Ekland-Olson & Aseltine 17). Now with the advancement in pain relieving drugs many agree that we should medicate to alleviate the pain instead of opting for death.