Right to Die Laws

Much has been written about Oregon’s Death with Dignity act that makes assisted suicide legal. Now the advocates for the same have been proposing to introduce the act in other states as well and in particular, Washington. However, there is a strong case for helping terminally ill patients spend the remainder of their life with care provided by the medical fraternity and with support from the state and insurance companies. As Rheba De Tornany says in her column, spending time with loved ones even if they do not have much time to live is an emotionally satisfying experience. And care for these patients is made possible by hospice nursing and advanced technologies that are available commonly, ironically, due to the efforts of the assisted suicide activists. Watching a loved one in pain is difficult and heart-wrenching. But, what is more, enriching is seeing them end their life peacefully with dignity is something that would be closer to the heart. The moral questions raised by the right-to-die laws are a direct result of developments in modern technology. From the earliest times, the primary goal of doctors has been to cure the sick and comfort the dying. However, modern technology has now allowed them to prolong life beyond the body’s natural ability to maintain itself. Machines can artificially breathe for a person. intravenous feeding can artificially supply sustenance. Indeed, technology can keep a patient’s body completely alive even when its brain is dead. A major problem arises in situations such as these when the patient’s desires are not known. it is then up to others to decide how long artificial life-sustaining procedures should be administered. Next of kin are nearly always the ones to whom this emotionally difficult decision falls, and the complexity of right-to-die laws reveals just how legally complicated the decision can be as well. (JRank.org, 2010)