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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Euthanasia: a slippery slope to be approached cautiously

Seventeen years ago, attempts to legalize euthanasia in the United States began in Oregon. A domino effect shifted forward, as states such as Washington, Vermont, Montana and New Mexico established acts that allowed physician-assisted dying, while countries like Canada strictly prohibited euthanasia.

“The prohibition on physician-assisted dying infringes the right to life, liberty and security of the person in a manner that is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice,” reported the Supreme Court of Canada in The New York Times, banning euthanasia for terminally ill patients.

Contrary to Canada, some parts of the United States made euthanasia one of its citizens’ privileges.

In some states of America, the country of radical individualism, euthanasia is a right, and it is thought to be respected on the level of any other civil right. But it shouldn’t be.

However, some hold a different opinion.

“I believe that a patient or individual should have the right to determine their health care plan based on their personal beliefs and decisions,” said Melissa Howdeshell, a registered nurse at Moses Cone Health Hospital. “If a patient chooses to utilize euthanasia in the plan of care, regardless of their diagnosis, we, as health care providers, should be allowed to honor their wishes with dignity and respect.”

The American individualism and privacy have created notions of euthanasia being an optimal decision to end the suffering of themselves and those who care for them.

“Life is worth living, of course, but when it comes to a point where living is psychically unbearable, the person should be allowed a quick death,” said first-year Rashad Clark.

Radical individualism has pervaded the culture, so that suffering is no longer treated as a normal state of life, but a burden.

“If I was suffering, my family was suffering taking care of me and I could not financially pay for medical treatment, I should have the right to choose to be euthanized,” said senior Byron Hamilton.

Torn by religious, ethical and moral arguments, a few people insist that euthanasia is an unacceptable means of pain management.

“I don’t think any human has the right to take another human’s life, no matter the crime,” said sophomore Taryn McFadden.

First-year Sarah Hammood added that euthanasia might be dangerous for terminally ill patients.

“It shouldn’t be permitted because, if it was an option, people who are sick will chose that option when they are weak and vulnerable,” said Hammood.

And, others find it important to treat the terminally ill with dignity according to their faith.

“Morality of faith depends on individual’s perception,” said Sabo Ameh, a registered nurse of the Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Moses Cone Health Hospital. “No matter what it is, every human being needs to die in dignity.”

According to North Carolina’s professional standards of medical institutions and the treatment process, euthanasia or assisted suicide is not legitimate.

“If you have some type of terminal illness, we apply a palliative approach to it,” said Teresa Crite, a registered nurse and Sabo’s colleague at the Moses Cone Health Hospital. “We give them sedatives and pain medicine to make them die peacefully, but we never give them lethal doses of medicine so that they die immediately.”

Since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld several assisted suicide laws, today, the United States has hit the “social slippery slope” argument, which asserts that acceptance of one sort of euthanasia will gradually lead to other. According to the latest statistics, the U.S. has seen a 350 percent increase in physician-assisted suicide.

Thereupon, every act that supports euthanasia will expand its boundaries and cause it to become a common practice. One life taken by euthanasia will inevitably lead to a chain of related events if we do not question its side effects.

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