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A Controversial Issue The Death with Dignity Act - Essay Example

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Summary
Act is indeed a very topical aspect not only in the medical fraternity but in all facets of contemporary life. It is an issue that continues to elicit a lot of debate and controversy with several opinions emerging on both sides of the debate…
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A Controversial Issue The Death with Dignity Act
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A Controversial Issue The Death with Dignity Act

Download file to see previous pages... In any case, it requires very critical analysis before any substantive stance can be adopted. One of the fundamental issues in the Act arises out of the very fact that it concerns human life which is deemed by many to be a sacred affair. In any case, the issues emerging out of this controversy are mostly in support or in antipathy on the application of the whole Act. Controversy It has to be realized that even in areas where The Death with Dignity Act is sanctioned, its application still faces myriad challenges arising from the opponents of the whole agenda. The Act proposes that people who are mentally fit but terminally ill should be given the option of using drugs that can hasten their deaths. This should happen in cases where death appears imminent or when the patient experiences a lot of suffering courtesy of the illness. Doctors and activists are on either side of the debate on whether the Act should be applied. Religious organizations are forging their stance on this topical issue on the strong premise that life is sacred and should never be taken for granted to the extent of hastening one’s death (Or: Public Health Division, 55). While the Act grants the patients the right to be given the drugs to quicken their deaths, its enforcement still faces challenges as most doctors are not very comfortable with prescribing such drugs to the patients who need them. In this regard, it becomes very difficult for the patients to get such services. In the same way, most doctors are prohibited by their employers to prescribe such drugs and will therefore never offer services in this respect. While the law was successfully passed in Oregon in 1994, its application still lingers given the many challenges and controversy surrounding the whole issue. In the State of Washington, the law went into effect successfully in 2009 after it was passed in 2008 without any legal challenges being raised (Hillyard, 28). The major issue presently is however the need to provide education to the masses on the whole subject of the Act in order to limit much of the ongoing debate and to enable the people to fully understand how the Act operates. In this respect it would become possible to reject the law or to adopt it without much of the present controversy. As a major argument in support of this Act, it is realized that several patients normally undergo a lot of both physical and mental pain and suffering when diagnosed with terminal illnesses. In order to remedy and mitigate some of these cases, it was therefore deemed appropriate in some states that the Death with Dignity Act would thereby provide the best alternative. Basically, it is a matter of individual choice and its application is based upon the fact that the patient has to be 18 years and older and be mentally sound in the process (Public Health Division, 56). Without doubt, it seems that the Act offers patients the option of ending their lives with some level of dignity since they can actually decide when and where to actually die. Most opponents of this law have simply regarded it as a form of “assisted suicide” where a patient is lawfully given the option of taking away their life. Religious organizations especially Catholics have been very loud in opposing the law on the belief that life is very sacred and should only be taken away by God. They vehemently oppose any form of the law that might give a patient the option of deciding when to die. As such, doctors operating under such organizations are prohibited from practicing the law or referring patients to other doctors who might assist them. Most of these organizations also claim that the law might be severely abused as most people would be pressured to simply end their lives pt such a without the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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