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Saturday, February 5

Euthanasia / Medicide

                Since I’ve been writing more controversial lately we might as well continue on the same footpath. Euthanasia of the terminally ill, is it right or wrong? I can’t cover every argument for both sides obviously, so I advice everyone to do some of their own research into the matter.
                First off I have to say that most people on the opposing side fall very deeply into the slippery slope fallacy: “If we start killing off people now then what’s to keep us from, in the future, killing anyone we deem worthless?!”. Laws are passed one at a time and if you view this as a slope, then the ball is already rolling. We allow people to kill themselves by over dose, jumping from a bridge, sticking their head in the oven, or whatever else they choose. We also allow the closest relative of a person stuck in a vegetable state to “pull-the-plug”, how is this really any different than letting somebody kill you as you lay dying?
                A good point that the anti-Medicide side points out is that the definition for “Terminally ill” is very broad. Jack Kevorkian described a Terminal illness as “any disease that curtails life even for one day.” I can see here where people are having issues. If we get people who rush to decisions ending up in the hospital with a severe case of Pneumonia, we may lose quite a few people who would still be alive (And, cough, paying taxes). But no, seriously, this really is an issue, and I think the best way to do it would be to change the wording if made into a law. Perhaps to something along the lines of “Only applicable for people deemed mentally capable by a psychologist and whose projected recovery is less than 10%”. That last percentage there could be changed to something different if you like: 5%, 4%, 25%, whatever.
                One argument I’ve heard says that we would end up with doctors killing people just because it is cost effective. This makes a little sense, as a health care provider may find they are better off financially with a dead uninsured person than a terminally ill uninsured person. However, what is to make people think a doctor would get away with this? If it isn’t proposed yet then surely they will require at least two or three witnesses to the signing. And I believe there should also be a waiting period of at least three days, and on the last day have the person sign again if they have not changed their mind. And what’s to keep the doctor from pressuring the patient? Well, honestly, nothing. What’s to keep my friends and family from coming over here and telling me I would be better off dead? Well, honestly, nothing.
                Following through on that last thought, what is to keep it from becoming involuntary? Well, this is a bit tricky, especially with the surprising large number of illiterates we actually have. How are they going to know what they are signing away? Well, in my idea of the way the law should be, the witnesses are to be informed of the contract in its entirety and given copies of the document being signed. A reader should be present to read the document word-for-word. I feel that as well as being mentally competent, the person must also be an American citizen. If they are an American citizen and don’t know how to speak or understand English…well…what are they doing here?
                What is to keep doctors from going around and killing people? I think euthanasia should only be delivered at a hospital, and only to people unable to leave the hospital due to their condition.
                I guess I made my stance pretty obvious, I believe in Medicide, but only under the correct circumstances. I want everyone here to watch the movie Johnny, Get Your Gun. Also, think for a second about if you were dying of skin cancer. Your body feels like it’s burning and you can feel your flesh being devoured from the inside out. You don’t want to live any more but you’re stick to a good handful if I.V.s. You are given five months to live, but will not recover. That’s five months you have to deal with this horrible feeling. Do you want to die now? Or would you rather just spend five more months in excruciating pain locked in a lonely hospital room?
 “Matthew Donnelly loved life. But Matthew Donnelly wanted to die. For the past thirty years, Matthew had conducted research on the use of X-rays. Now, skin cancer riddled his tortured body. He had lost his nose, his left hand, two fingers on his right hand, and part of his jaw. He was left blind and was slowly deteriorating. The pain was unrelenting. Doctors estimated that he had a year to live. Lying in bed with teeth clenched from the excruciating pain, he pleaded to be put out of his misery. Matthew wanted to die now. His pleas went unanswered. Then, one day, Matthew's brother Harold, unable to ignore Matthew's repeated cry, removed a .30 caliber pistol from his dresser drawer, walked to the hospital, and shot and killed his brother. Harold was tried for murder.” -
                Fair? Or Unfair? You decide.

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