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Euthanasia : Assisted Suicide for the Terminally Ill in the United States Gabrielle Mason.

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Presentation on theme: "Euthanasia : Assisted Suicide for the Terminally Ill in the United States Gabrielle Mason."— Presentation transcript:

1 Euthanasia : Assisted Suicide for the Terminally Ill in the United States Gabrielle Mason

2 What is Euthanasia?  Euthanasia is the process of helping someone who is in constant pain to die in a painless matter to end their suffering.  Euthanasia is known as “mercy killing.”  There are many classifications of euthanasia recognized.

3 Classifications of Euthanasia:  Active euthanasia : something is deliberately done to cause death(injecting a patient with a lethal dose).  Passive euthanasia : treatment is withheld to rush death (halting medications or disconnecting food and water supply).  Voluntary euthanasia : a patient gives their consent and wishes for death.  Involuntary euthanasia : a patient had no request for death.  Non-voluntary euthanasia : a patient is unable to make the choice for themselves so a guardian makes the choice.

4 Assisted Suicide:  Assisted suicide is a form of euthanasia that does not require direct killing.  Assisted suicide occurs when a person provides a lethal drug to cause death but the patient performs the last act that will take their life.  Assisted suicide is known as a hybrid of active and passive voluntary euthanasia.

5 Laws regarding assisted suicide in the United States:  Assisted suicide is legal in:  Oregon (1997)  Washington ( November 4, 2008)  Vermont (May 2013)  Assisted suicide is only permitted under certain conditions:  A person has to be terminal  The lethal drugs have to be administered by a doctor  Two doctors have to give consensus  There must be two verbal and one written application in the presence of a witness  In a 2009 court case, Montana established there are not set laws that permit assisted suicide.  Assisted Suicide is strictly permitted in the remaining forty six states.

6 States that legalized assisted suicide:

7 Arguments FOR assisted suicide:  For a terminally-ill person, deciding if you want to die or not is a personal choice. The doctors or government should not have the power to decide if you should live or not.  A terminally ill patient should have the right to die with dignity and denying a person death is a violation of that person’s rights.  Since the government gave doctors the right to create life by growing human beings artificially in labs, then they should also be able to end lives when the person desires it.  Allowing assisted suicide for those who are terminal and request to die will provide for patients in need of organs.

8 Arguments AGAINST assisted suicide:  Doctors have the responsibility to keep their patients alive since they swore on the Hippocratic Oath (“ I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to that effect”).  Many terminal patients are dealing with depression and the desire for death could just be the depression kicking in.  Family members can persuade terminal patients to lead toward assisted suicide in hopes of inheritance after the death.  Patients are misdiagnosed and could make an irreversible decision to die based on the wrong information.

9 Jack Kevorkian:  Jack Kevorkian was a euthanasia advocate who believed assisted suicide was humane and should be legal all through out the United States.  Jack Kevorkian helped over 130 terminal patients die through assisted suicide staring in the late 1980s with his “Mercitron.”  About 97% of the patients who contacted Jack Kevorkian were turned down because they were not terminally- ill, they were just depressed or had a mild sickness and were looking for an easy way out.  Jack Kevorkian believed there should not be a cost to die and didn’t charge any of his patients.

10 MERCITRONMERCITRON  The “Mercitron” had 3 tubes:  the first tube contained a saline drip  then thiopental would be injected which would put the patient into a heavy sleep  last potassium chloride would be injected to stop the patients heart  When the patient was ready to die they simply pulled a switch and the lethal substance was released into their blood stream leaving it in the patients own hands to end their life.

11 The wrong approach:  Jack Kevorkian realized toward the end of his life he took the wrong approach to legalize assisted suicide.  Rather than going out and actually preforming assisted suicide, he should have focused more on verbally bringing public awareness to the United States.  Even though Jack Kevorkian expressed regret toward his approach to legalize assisted suicide, he did not regret helping over 130 people to die.

12 Society's View on Jack Kevorkian:  Most of society looked at Jack Kevorkian as an example of what goes wrong when there are no laws permitting assisted suicide as well as a threat to the public.  The media made Jack Kevorkian look like a crazy murderer, when that was not his intention at all.  Jack Kevorkian believed he was assisting terminal patients to die in order to end their suffering and allow them to die with dignity.  It was not until 2010 with the release of the HBO film, “You Don’t Know Jack” that people started to understand the reason behinds Jack Kevorkian's madness. 


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