Physician-assisted death (PAD), physician-assisted suicide, death with dignity, and voluntary euthanasia all refer to the practice where physicians provide potentially lethal medication to a terminally ill, suffering patient at his or her request that he or she can take at the time of his or her choosing to end their life. Physician-assisted suicide is only legal in eight jurisdictions in the United States of America. If a terminally ill patient is suffering and wants to pass away peacefully and pain-free, then they should have the right to do so wherever they might be in the United States.
Physician-assisted suicide is completely legal in several other countries but in American, it is only legal in eight states out of fifty. These eight states are Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Montana. In seven of these eight states it is a state law mandated, but in one of them (Montana) it is only legal if it is mandated by a court ruling. Although some other states are considering death with dignity (physician-assisted suicide). These states include Arizona, Michigan, Connecticut, Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Indiana, New Mexico, Iowa, New York, Kansas, North Carolina, Maine, Rhode Island, Maryland, Utah, Massachusetts, and Virginia. The other twenty-four states not mentioned are not even considering to legalize physician-assisted suicide.
A terminal illness is an incurable disease that cannot be treated and result in the death of the patient that has the disease. Some examples of these diseases are AIDS, terminal cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, dementia, heart disease, liver disease and many more. Imagine having a disease that comes with uncontrollable pain that will only get worst until you die such as terminal stomach cancer. Tracy Snelling was only 49 years old when she was diagnosed with stomach cancer, as one might expect it caused a great deal of pain for Tracy. Suffering from unrelenting nausea, excruciating constipation, and vomiting every few hours. She had to be hooked to a syringe driver which “drip-fed a cocktail of morphine and anti-sickness drugs 24 hours a day”– neither of which gave effective relief.
Because the United States at the time did not allow Tracy to self-determination in death (physician-assisted suicide) that only left her with one option which was to travel to Switzerland and apply for Dignitas. Dignitas is a Swiss non-profit members’ society providing assisted/accompanied suicide to those members of the organization who suffer from terminal illness and/or severe physical and/or mental illnesses, supported by qualified Swiss doctors. Although it was too late Tracy was too ill to make the two trips necessary to Switzerland. From here on out Tracy only got worse. She couldn’t eat. When she drank she vomited, she couldn’t walk but a few steps before becoming breathless, she developed a blood clot and suffered from constant pain, nausea, and constipation despite any drugs she had been administered.