The Price of Life

Death is an extremely sensitive, depressing, and emotionally challenging subject to tackle but as an outsider looking in, the economical arguments are essential to discussion in order to show the true benefits of euthanasia. Ultimately, patients who are terminally ill often feel that they become a financial burden on their loved ones as they stated that next to pain and suffering this is the second most important reason people wish to partake in euthanasia. I am no math expert but figuratively paying for lethal medication versus years and years of medicare is completely contrasting in the amount of money to spend.

According to, provides four essential economic benefits of euthanasia.

  1. Lessen hospital bills- as mentioned above, euthanasia can immensely cut costs with less time and care in the hospital.
  2. cost containment- low budget in the health care industry and thealthcre.jpghe present day economic situation will force many hospitals to make budget cuts, which will lead to less funding for hospital beds and nursing staff.
  3. Reduction in financial burden-In the current economic climate, the majority of families may not have sufficient financial means to get medical care, thus leading to drainage of their limited resources.
  4. Lastly, more focus on other patients- the medical care that is given to terminally ill patients can instead be redirected to patients with possible recovery.

This argument is even justified by a renowned economist, Robert Leeson. He is a published arobert-leeson-2010uthor in a number of the world’s leading journals and is ranked the world’s 17th top economist. He stated that more than a quarter of Medicare’s annual budget is spent on end-of-life care, ultimately draining societal resources for that which has little measurable benefit. “Moreover, in a society with limited resources, taxpayer money can be spent only once, and given the lack of tangible benefit that end-of-life care truly provides, resources ought instead to be allocated to more worthy cases, such as better infant mortality outcomes.” With these clear arguments, he proposes two educated proposal’s for the government.

  1. Leeson believes that “the government make a determination that a good portion of the medical care afforded to the ill or elderly is simply unworthy of funding. He is suggesting that the government should be in charge of deciding which lives have enough value to justify funding for care or comfort measures.”
  2. He also believes the government’s ultimate role is to help its citizens see that choosing death over life is the ration decision and that they need to provide incentives.

Ultimately, these findings all prove the importance in legalizing euthanasia not only for the terminally ill patient but also for economic and medicare purposes. Through a utilitarian perspective, with less money and resources spent on those impeding death through extensive painful treatments or prolonged hospital stays, we are ultimately taking away from those who are fighting and can achieve survival.

The economic benefits in coalition to allievating pain and doom those who are suffering exemplify the exact reason euthanasia and physicican assisted suicide must be legal. 

“The harsh reality that surrounds terminally ill individuals is that they are unable to contribute financially to society, and from an economic standpoint their presence is all cost and no benefit. In an unprecedented worldwide suffering economy, the continued existence of an individual suffering from a deteriorating quality of life puts incredible financial pressure on the public.”-Jayne Cooke

Let’s Be Honest Here…

Think about all the things people do on a daily basis that is illegal but done anyway. For example, speeding on the highway, we all rush sometimes, its illegal but its done by probably the majority of you all reading. An even better example is a more highly controversial topic, buying and smoking marijuana. It is legal in a few state but it is prevalent in almost every. Euthanasia can be seen as a similar situation as it is only legal in 5 of the 50 states, but even law abiding citizens such as doctors and patients commit illegal actions in order to do what is truly best in the given situation.

So the main argument here is very pragmatic in the sense that it is already such a widespread practice, thereforCriminal_1.jpge, in regulating it properly it will not only give justice to the terminally ill but more important it will stop inflicting the label of criminals upon them and their doctors. Often doctors believe that it is their duty to help their patients with whatever they want to do in order to respect their wishes and end their suffering. Often in order to avoid prosecution Doctors need to be extremely careful with their language and actual assistance with the patient. Often doctors will prescribe their terminally ill patients with narcotics, such as pain killers, which in turn allows them to choose to purposely overdose.

This uncomfortable middle-grown can be exemplified through a case of a husband and wife, Hope Arnold and J.D Falk. J.D was diagnosed with stomach cancer and was unable to find a doctor to help him and ultimately was discharged to gobffae311b.jpg home on hospice. Her wife ran into one of his doctors on the way out and he passed her a bottle of liquid morphine and said “you might need it.” Although he
did not take it and passed away a few days later naturally, the article mentions the point of intent. It states “People don’t talk about it, but it happens. Just over 3 percent of U.S. doctors said they have written a prescription for life-ending medication. Almost 5 percent of doctors reported giving a patient a lethal injection. Those practices are undercover. They are covert.” These actions are needed but should not need to be so heavily concealed.

The most important example of this argument, however, revolves around the famous figure of euthanasia, is Dr. Jack Kevorkian. He is a renowned medical pathologist, with the nickname Mr. Death, who had assisted in over 100 terminally ill patients in their death. He created the “Thanatron” which was made up of 3 bottles of fatal drugs. He 70771866_130766612337made headlines soon after as he assisted the suicide of Janet Adkins, through an attached IV out of his Volkswagen van. Kevorkian was prosecuted a total of four times in Michigan and was acquitted in three of the cases, he stated that “he wanted to be imprisoned in order to shed light on the hypocrisy and corruption of society.” He continued his practice and ultimately in 1999 he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. After serving 8 years, he was released for good behavior and upon his release he immediately began speaking out about assisted suicide. In June of 2011, Kevorkian died of heart failure, but his legacy most definitely lives on.

Through these examples, it is clear that regardless of its legality, euthanasia is still widely practiced amongst the doctors of all states in America. Instead of convicting these harmless doctors and patients, why not allow them make their own decisions in the public light instead of forcing them to partake in illegal activity for ultimate justice?

Pain Argument: Why Suffer?

The argument of human rights and making our own decisions is extremely powerful in legalizing euthanasia. Yet on an even more practical level, why should someone suffer for nothing? Any individual would never want to experience extreme amounts of pain everyday, all day, therefore, why should someone who can not control this pain nor their fate have to endure that? The stereotypical idea of passing away is in a calm and peaceful environment surrounded by close friends and family. But in the world of a terminally ill patient, that is certainly not the case. Experiencing unbearable pain everyday with no hope of survival or “light at the end of the tunnel” only makes the slow process of dying more painful and unendurable for the this person.

Many could refute that these patients can merely take pain cropped-image.jpgkilling medication to help endure the pain, but many of these case are incurable or so far gone that no amount of medicine can numb the pain of their ultimate death. An example for the consequences of the inability to utilize physician- assisted suicide, is through a locked-in syndrome victim named Tony Nicklinson. After a massive stroke, Tony became completely paralyzed that brought on his locked-in syndrome which essentially means he can only control the muscles in his eyes. He evidently described his life as “pure torture” and a “living nightmare” which could continue for another 20 years or more.” Yet, the court ruled against his request for euthanasia, which in turn allowed him to take matters into his own hands. He began starving himself in efforts to die and stated that “I am saddened that the law wants to condemn me to a life of increasing indignity and misery.” After a week without nutrients, Tony died of pneumonia. This clearly shows why euthanasia should be legalized as it shows that these patients would rather die of starvation then have to endure long years of ultimate death.

Tony is not the only one with this mindset as many others also took a stand to end their pain. One of the most iconic cases of this issue is of a girl named Brittany Maynard who was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer and stated that “because my tumor is so large, doctors prescribed full brain radiation. I read about the side effects: The hair on my scalp w141028162907-03-britanny-maynard-1028-story-top.pngould have been singed off. My scalp would be left covered with first-degree burns. My quality of life, as I knew it, would be gone.” Due to her young age of 29, her body could most likely fight the cancer for a longer time but “she suffered “increasingly frequent and longer seizures, severe head and neck pain, and stroke-like symptoms.” She ended her own life on November 1, 2014.

Clearly, through these cases these terminally ill patients main reason they would like to take their own life is due to the fact that can not bare the pain and suffer through an illness that is ultimately incurable. These illnesses immobilize and completely ruin these humans lives to the point that they can not bare. How can others dictate how long you have to sit through pain and watch yourself slowly deteriorate into someone you don’t recognize yourself? The answer is simple. They should not be able to.


Affirmative View

Physician-assisted suicide is the undertaking of assisting those who are terminally ill with their death in order to end their torture and affliction. This process is done through lethal substances given by their physician to those who have been given the prognosis of six months or less to live. This is currently legal in five U.S states including Oregon, Vermont, California, Montana and Washington.
euthanasia.jpgThere are many arguments surrounding the support for physician assisted suicide, yet one of the most important one’s is the idea “autonomy argument.” This is the idea that every patient has a right to choose when to die and the overall support for self-government in decision making. If humans have rights through different constructed documents, like the Declaration of Independence, why should there rights be any different in a medical situation? According to Jukka Vareleius of Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy,”in making our own choices we are being agents, we are using our rational capacities, we are controlling our own lives, we are having a sense of living our own lives, we are creating and forming ourselves, we are giving our lives meaning, purpose.” She touches on the main point in this argument which is the idea that no one should be allowed to take one’s rights from another, and by telling a terminally ill patient when and how they are going to die is completely unjust. No one should have control of such an important decision in a person’s life other than themselves.

In the legal states, the process to partake in assisted-suicide completely grants the deserved rights to the terminally ill patient and allows THEM to take control of their own body. First they must make a formal oral request and file a written request form signed by two witnesses in which only one may be a relative of the patient. Once the request is permitted they are given the medication and are free to take it wherever they would like. This process exemplifies the instilled rights of a human being as these terminally ill patients are given the opportunity to make their own decision to end their lives peacefully instead of suffering through a long and painful wait to ultimately die out of their control.

Essentially, our human rights imply the right to die as exemplified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” Clearly, these rights can correlate to the argument of autonomy and the individual decision to physician assisted suicide. Death is a private matter and if there is no implications or damage to others, then other people and the state should have no right to interfere with these situations.

Euthanasia not only ends the horrific suffering of a terminally ill patient but more importantly it allows them to take life into their own hands and truly die dignified.