Assisted Suicide shoud be legal in Virginia
Over the weekend I watched a documentary titled "How to Die in Oregon". This documentary told the stories of several Oregonians diagnosed with terminal diseases, nearing the ends of their lives. Cody Curtis was one of these people. Cody was a mother of two beautiful children and a wife of nearly 30 years. She loved hiking, cooking, gardening as well as spending time with her family. At the age of only 52 she was diagnosed with cancer of the bile duct which runs through your liver. She underwent an operation that removed 60% of her liver. One year later the cancer returned and metastasized to her liver, lungs and lymph nodes.
Cody faced unbearable shoots of pain throughout her body. She became weaker by the days. She soon looked pregnant from the nearly 4 liters of fluid sitting in her belly. She had a drawer filled to the top in medications which did nothing for her pain. She did what she knew was the right decision for her, and that is ask her doctor about the Death with Dignity option. She was prescribed a lethal dose of Secanol. Cody said herself "I"ll know when life"s not worth living any more. It"s really nice to have a way out, to die in comfort and with dignity. I don"t want to die bed-ridden and weighing seventy pounds. I want the children to remember me as I am now, in peace and not in pain. .No one should have to die in a hospital all tangled up with tubes and wires and needles and in the kind of fear." Cody did not immediately use the medication, she waited because she would know when the time was right, but it was a comfort to have it at her side. She had it for nearly a year, outliving her less than 6 months to live expectancy. She was planning to spend another Christmas with her family, however near the beginning of December 2009 the pain became too much for Cody and she could not continue on anymore. She picked a date and on December 7, 2009 Cody drank a Secanol mixture. Within 5 minutes Cody was in a peaceful sleep and within 15 minutes she was pronounced dead.
Cody had the opportunity to die surrounded by her closest friends and family. They sang songs together and were able to joke around in the moments leading to her death. Cody was able to choose a peaceful happy death to an inevitable ending in her near future.
I firmly believe that death with dignity should be legal in the state of Virginia and I have three main reasons as to why.
My first point is that with this act, patients will be able to die with dignity, free from pain and a possible long, suffering death. According to the Oregon DWDA Report of 2013, nearly 98% of all patients who chose DWD were able to die at home at a time they found was right for them.
Being able to die with dignity is important. Especially for family and loved ones. Imagine if Cody had been your mom, your aunt, or your friend. Would you prefer to see her suffering, only knowing each day it will get worse not only for her, but also for you to watch. Or would you support her decision to decide when she knows life isn"t worth living. Carl Wellman, professor of philosophy says "One"s life is a biography experienced as a drama with a beginning, middle and end such that the intrinsic value of each part is determined much more by one"s awareness of its significance for the whole than by its felt pleasantness or painfulness. " He goes on to say that the friends or family are "condemned to live on with distressful memories of the death of their loved one". Wouldn"t you support a peaceful, graceful death for your loved one?
My second point is that physicians should assume their roles in relieving the sick from suffering. Once medical treatment is exhausted, other options need to be considered. Dr. Quill a specialist in palliative care says "Although palliative care is highly effective, some patients still experience severe suffering toward the end despite our best efforts. The vast majority of patients will not require last resort options if they receive excellent palliative care, but some will. Clarity about what options are available requires that we work together to provide the best possible response to the worst possible circumstances."
It follows from this that dignity is a function of someone"s personal qualities and that a death with dignity is a personal achievement; it is not something that can be conferred by others, such as health care professionals. By contrast, indignities are affronts to personal dignity. They are things that prevent or impede someone from living with dignity, mainly because they prevent him from taking an active, reasoned part in his own life. Health care professionals have a twin role here; the first is not to impose such indignities, the second is to minimize them, wherever possible
My third point is that DWD is the humane thing to do. If your family pet has a medical condition rendering them in pain, you make the moral and ethical decision to end their suffering. You don"t let them sit in the vet, hooked up to ventilators and tubes. They"ve lived the best parts of their lives, and just as other terminally ill men and women they are ready to pass on. No one wants to be artificially kept alive, with your soul trapped in your body as it wastes away each day. We want to die in peace. Dr. Singer says "If I"m in pain, severe pain, and the doctors can do nothing, the pain persists and there"s nothing to take the pain away, I don"t think it"s fair to let me suffer like that, or anybody." No one wants to become a vegetable, drugged up and forced to stay alive longer than necessary.
As a solution I propose that Virginia adopt a death with dignity act. Under the act the eligible adult would need to be diagnosed with a terminal illness and given under 6 months to live. They will be evaluated by one two physicians and one psychiatrist. Palliative care is first an option. If they choose DWD a representative from Compassion with Choices will come to their home to help with the final arrangements where they first ask them if they know they have the right to change their mind. And finally if they know what the medication will do to them.
Strict rules will be put in place regarding who it is available to, as in Oregon that will minimize abuse and harm to the weak, or mentally incapacitated. In Oregon, the patient must make two oral requests separated by 15 days. They must then provide written request to his/her physician signed in the presence of two witnesses. The prescribing physician and a consulting physician must confirm the diagnosis and prognosis as well as determine if the patient is capable. The physician will also inform the patient of feasible alternatives.
This will give people the legal right they deserve, giving them a safe, legal operation instead of illegal underground means.
We have the choice to remove life sustaining care. We have the choice to not seek treatment. But why don"t we have the choice as to when we know the time is right for us to die. Having a dignified, compassionate way to help loved ones pass should be an inalienable right. I"m not saying this is a must for everyone, and I"m not saying anyone needs to be forced to do this, but I have compassion and respect for those courageous enough to choose this. Cody didn"t want to die. If any of these people had the option they would choose to be healthy and happy, but I respect their courage and bravery to stand up and decide what was best for them.
I thank my opponent for proposing this topic.
lalaurenx3 forfeited this round.
It is unfortunate that my opponent forfeited this round. I will extend all my arguments in hope they will respond next round.
lalaurenx3 forfeited this round.
I was looking forward to this debate too. I wished it went differently.
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||0||1|