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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Artificial Life Or Death - 1253 words
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Artificial Life or Death Euthanasia has been a hotly debated about topic for the past couple ofdecades, but has recently been thrust into the limelight by many controversialcourt and hospital decisions. Euthanasia is defined as the 'mercy killing' of a person who is braindead, terminally ill or otherwise at death's door. This usually, but notnecessarily, affects people who are are separated from death only by machines.Whether you personally believe 'mercy killing' is a viable solution in ahopeless situation or not the proponents for both sides provide arguments thatcan be quite convincing. Supporters of euthanasia say that it is such animprobability for a miraculous recovery and a return to a normal life that it isnot worth putting the patient through all the suffering and agony thatprolonging their life would cause or the fortune of hospital bills that youwould pay. The opposition feels that it is not right for people to abandon othermembers of the human race because there is always a chance, even though it is asmall one, that they will regain all functons and return to a normal life.
There are many cases in which euthanasia is acceptable. Brain death isone situation which merits euthanasia. It is also one of the more common caseswhere euthanasia is requested. Brain death is when all brain activities cease. The lines are fairly well drawn in the law about patients who aresuffering but are still compotent, but when the law is asked to determine thefate of a lingering, comatose, incompotent patient the lines begin to blur
Inmany cases the courts turned to the patient's family, but what if there are notany or they disagree? In such cases who decides? In a controversial decision aMassachusetts court allowed that it would invoke its own 'substitute judgement'on behalf of a mentally ill woman. In a second case mentioned in the January 7issue of Newsweek, a Minnesota Surpreme court turned to three hospital ethicscommittees to review a dying loner's case, followed their collected wisdom andordered him off the respirator so that he could have a dignified death. 'It isthe first time ethics committees played a significant role in the court' says Dr.Ronald E. Cranford. Still the easiest way to know and respect the patient'swishes is through a simple piece of paper called a living will.
(18) It was stated, in the Bible, by the same preacher in Ecclesiastes whosaid there is a time to be born and a time to die also said there is 'A time tosearch and a time to give up' (Ecclesiastes 3:6) We need the honesty to admit death and the courage to discontinue lifeextending measures, because of the extreme amount of funds that go intosupporting a brain dead, comatose, or terminally ill patient for any amount oftime. Although brain dead and comatose patients do not feel pain terminally illpatients do, so is it not better to stop the pain that prolonging life wouldcause? It also seems to me that the brain dead patient lying in the hospitalbed coupled to machines is unlike the person that you knew and loved. In U.S.A.Today a situation was written about that promotes this way of thinking, it says'Typical is the inert body of an eighty two year old woman, victim of a massivecoronary, lying day after day hooked up to tubes and wires with no prospect ofreturning to consciousness, much less to last week's vitality which her daughterremembers as she says, 'That is not my mother lying there'.' (34) Many think that 'We should be very careful in terms of our technologicalmiricals that we do not impose life on people who, in fact, are suffering beyondour ability to help.' In Christianity Today January, 1990 there is a statement that I think isthe epitome of all that advocates of euthanasia say and believe, 'In todayssociety, where technological advances have given us the power to prolong thequantity of life long beyond what many believe is life with any dignity ordegree of quality, pulling the plug or removing the tube should not beconsidered a sin of commission, murder, or suicide ; but a humbleacknowledgement of our finitude.' (6) Should we ever give up on our friends and family, isn't there always achance of normal life? 'After an accident that seems to wipe out all or most ofits victim's vital functions, it is often impossible to read the future. Theperson might someday surprise us, wake up, and walk.' (Christianity Today Jan1990 p.6) Is it not better to attempt to keep them alive and they still die anatural death than to not try and give up all hope on our loved ones? TheCruzan case is one example where a comatose girl named Nancy needed a loving,praying, and caring family. She did not need a family that would just give up onher and let her slip into the eternal sleep of death.
Is it fair that people that barely new the patient are the ones tochoose the patient's fate. Like the time a Minnesota Surpreme Court turned toethic committees, followed what they said and killed a dying man. (Newsweek Jan.7,1985 p.18) I do not see how people who never even met the patient before hewas condemned to die are knowlegeable of the patient's wishes or realy even whatthe family desires. (18) The Holbrook case is one example where a man was miraculously revivedafter being in a coma for eight years after he was hit on the head with a pieceof firewood. Effie Holbrook said that she never gave up hope on her son. Herprayers were answered February 25, 1991 When Conly Holbrook, called her name.Holbrook then told his mother the names of the two people he said hit him. Afterthe assault, he was in a coma for three months before they had to remove part ofhis skull to relieve pressure on his brain. He had been in a comatose state eversince.
Living Wills are growing in popularity since the numbers of 'mercykillings' have grown. A living will is a declaration of the desire for a naturaldeath. It is a means of retaining control over what happens at the end of yourlife, even when you are no longer able to express your wishes. To many people, the fear of a lingering death is worse than the fear ofdying, and a Living Will permits you to make certain choices when there is notdoubt that you are compotent. North Carolina and many other states have adoptedLiving Will laws.
North Carolina has recognized them since 1977. G.S. 90-321provides that if an idividual has declared in the proper manner a desire thathis or her life not be prolonged by extraodinary means, and if attendingphysician determines the individual's condition is terminal and incurable and isconfirmed by another physician, then extraodinary means may legally be withheldor discontinued. When you sign a Living Will the decision does not have to be a permanentone. You may revoke a Living Will at any time by destruction of original andall copies or by communication of your intention to evoke the will. The line between whether euthanasia is acceptable or not is quite fineand we all need to be careful when it comes to the point of euthansia. You musthave your priorities straight before you make a final decision on your, orsomeone elses, fate. Would you want to be killed? Would you want your wifekilled after a car wreck or would you rather allow her or you to go on living bylife support? Euthanasia is so touchy that most people would never, and shouldnever want, to have to make this decision between life and death.
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