Assisted death policies have always been a controversial issue between people.
Many argue between rather people should have the freedom to choose when to die.
California has recently become the fifth US State to allow terminally ill patients to legally
end their lives with a doctor’s supervision in October 6th, starting the possibility of other
countries also allowing assisted death.
Then what is assisted dying? Assisted dying is the assisted suicide for the
terminally ill only. It is currently allowed in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg,
where they permit euthanasia and assisted suicide. Switzerland permits assisted
suicide if the person assisting the patients act unselfishly, in order to block the family
members from abusing the policy for inheritance. Canada is also willing to join this
parade from February 2016.
The reasons for their choices differ from each country. In the Netherlands, they
were legalized by the defense of the act of prosecuting doctors who had already
provided euthanasia to their patients. In Colombia and Canada, they were also lead by
the court, as their people claimed that it was opposing to human rights for the
government to act against their choice of life or death.
However, the procedure for assisted death is complicated and closely involves
laws and conditions. In order to receive assisted dying, the patient must be facing
constantly unbearable pain, resulting from an incurable disorder. The suffering is not
limited to the physical pain as it can include possible loss of personal dignity, personal
deterioration or a trauma such as the fear of suffocation. The patients receiving the
death must also be well informed about this beforehand, and has to make a voluntary
request. The age also matters, as assisted death has an age limitation with the
exception of Belgium and the Netherlands. Only patients over the age of 18 is permitted
and even in the Netherlands, the patients must have a guardian who consents their
choices. The choice is then checked again by a second doctor (who has been trained to
undertake such consultations). After their consents are sent to court, the assisted death
can finally be fully allowed.
These choices are made quite frequently, but had stayed quite stable in those
countries that allow euthanasia or assisted death. They took 2.8% in the Netherlands,
0.21% in France and the UK, and also 4.6% in Belgium, where the rate is seen to be
increasing over time.
We are not yet sure about whether assisted dying would become a global trend
yet. However, it would be a choice to relieve the patients of their continuous pain. Would
you agree to their choices?
— Nancy Kwon Y10 Mulchat —