Assisted suicide: a human right that is not being observed

Hazel McCallion Senior Public School
Mississauga, Ontario

By Jessica W. (Grade 8)

Susan Hess from Vancouver has multiple myeloma. It's a rare bone marrow cancer which destroys blood, bones, the immune system and the kidneys. The worst of it is the disintegration of the skeleton. The act of sitting up can fracture the vertebrae. People suffering that much should not be forced to stay alive if they know they are going to die anyway. Asking for a doctor's assistance in suicide would be the only sensible thing to do.

If a person is in pain from a terminal illness, that person should not have to suffer at all. What is the point in going through misery with no hope in sight? Is it fair to let people suffer right up until the end? With doctor-assisted suicide, the patient is offered a safe way out. However, if the physician is unable to aid these people, they will take it into their own hands and do even more damage.

Denying human rights is illegal. We have a freedom of choice, so if someone chooses assisted suicide, we should respect that person's choice and go along with it. Who are we to say no?

We must also consider the financial aspects and repercussions of trying to keep a dying person alive with medication or medical procedures. Hospitals can't be afford to waste money on drugs or machinery if a patient doesn't want it and will die anyway. Even if we did just stop giving medication, it would not do any good. This is why assisted suicide is the best choice. In the (New England Journal of Medicine) (1975), James Rachel wrote, "To begin with a situation, a patient is dying of incurable cancer of the throat and is in terrible pain which can no longer be satisfactorily alleviated. He does not want to go on living for the next few days since the pain is unbearable. So he asks the doctor for an end to it. But if I simply withhold treatment, it may take the patient longer to die than if a lethal injection is given."

There have been considerations that some people would use assisted suicide unnecessarily for silly reasons. However, most people who ask for assistance in death have suffered a fair amount of pain before even considering it.

Other people would say that we should not take other people's lives away from them. We have the right to live. Well, let them hear this: We as human beings also have the right to die; the right to die with dignity.

It is clear that, by allowing assisted suicide, we can offer people who are in pain a safe and easy way to die. Fifty-three year-old Austin Basticle sought the assistance of Doctor Kevorkian because he wanted to end his suffering. On a tape he recorded on the day of his death, he said, "Today is the day of my release, the release from my suffering, the release from the torment of my body."

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