Do You Have The Right to Die with Dignity?
Two doctors in Massachusetts are suing the state for the right to prescribe lethal medications to aid in the death of terminally ill patients, without the fear of being prosecuted for murder or manslaughter.
Reuters is reporting that a Massachusetts judge has ruled that the lawsuit may move forward.
Does someone have the right to die is not really the question is it. We could all commit suicide if we want to. The question really is does someone have the right to die with dignity, meaning they do not have to shoot themselves, jump off a building, hang themselves, take a lethal dose of pills and hope it works or whatever other way they attempt to. The dignity part comes into play if they are allowed to go to a medical doctor and are given a lethal dose of medications in which they know will work and will be painless.
There should definitely be certain criteria that must be met such as California’s criteria which is:
- You must be 18 years of age or older.
- You must be able to make and communicate health care decisions.
- You must have a terminal illness—a disease that will, determined by reasonable medical judgment, produce death within six months.
- You must make 3 voluntary requests, two oral (at least 15 days apart) and one written, which must be signed by two witnesses.
- You must sign a "final attestation" form before ingesting the drug, stating that you are fully informed of the consequences and alternatives. You can change your mind at any time and decide to NOT take the drug.
- You must be able to swallow the medication yourself. Injection is not permitted.
If all of the criteria stated above or one’s similar to them are met then why shouldn’t a doctor be able to prescribe a lethal dose of medication without the fear of being charged with murder or manslaughter.
My one concern would be: how do we control that they use the medications on only themselves and not in some type of murder plot?
One other thought, is it unethical for medical doctors to prescribe these lethal dose's of medications to assist someone in their quest to die if the criteria stated above is met. Does it goes against the Hippocratic oath all medical doctors in the United States are required to take?
If it became legal for a medical doctor in Massachusetts to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to a terminally ill patient they would join the states of Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California and Colorado and the District of Columbia according to right-to-die advocates.