Over the years, the practice of physician assisted suicide, affectionately know as euthanasia, has evolved into one of the biggest social issues in the United States and the World. There have been many controversies over whether or not euthanasia is justified. In some places in the United States, euthanasia is considered murder (Jussim 47). It is then treated as a murder case and murder penalties are used. There has been a whole change in euthanasia over the centuries, but it still serves the same purpose.
Euthanasia or assisted suicide in Greek means "easy death". When broken down, it means the process of one being euthanized, which means to kill without pain. The process of euthanasia has actually been practiced for thousands of years, rooting all the way back to the ancient Egyptians. They practiced euthanasia in all sorts of ways. A good example of this is when somebody was suffering from a terminal disease or a gaping, festering wound, or even when an appendage or limb was severed off they would put the victim to sleep using a natural poison called ether. Using a rod, they pulled the victims brain out through the nose, killing the victim (Jussim 53).
Euthanasia was then brought up again in the medieval times. When the person was ill with any type of disease that could not be treated, or what is called a terminal illness, a poison was put in the cup of the victim. The victim would then administer the drug himself, clearing the person who put the poison in the drink of any wrongdoing. This poison would put the person to sleep, into a coma. Then, about ten minutes later, a person with a cover over his head so he could remain anonymous, came in and stabbed the victim through the heart. The victim supposedly felt no pain (Jussim 61).
In the United States today when somebody wants to use euthanasia as a form of dying, a physician is called in to administer the drug. Physician aid-in-dying is assistance by a qualified medical practitioner in implementing a patient's considered wish to end his or her own life, usually by means of lethal injection. In the Netherlands, the practice is an injection to render the patient comatose, followed by a second injection called potassium phosphate. In cases where the patient takes the lethal drug, currently 10g of pentobarbitone, the doctor is present in 20% of the cases. However where death does not occur within 12 hours, the doctor is on hand to administer a second drug to accelerate death, rather than allowing the patient the indignity of lying in a coma for up to four days, waiting for death to occur (McCuen 81).
Objections that the legalization of the practice would be open to abuse are not sustained by close examination of data. Patients are already "eased into death" with morphine under the euphemistic doctrine of "double effect". Published figures suggest that ethical criteria in the Netherlands are similar to those already practiced in the United States. Legal safeguards for the various situations have been thoroughly prepared by legal researchers in draft legislation. Trends show that the practice will continue whether or not it is regulated by the legislation (McCuen 118).
Although the possibility of physician-assisted suicide is welcome news to many people who may be facing the prospect of an agonizing, humiliating and long drawn out disease while still having some physical capabilities, it is of little reassurance to someone who is suffering from a wasting disease. The disease will eventually omit the patients' ability to commit suicide. Also, death by oral ingestion of drugs is far less effective than by skillful injection. A doctor on hand can make necessary adjustments of dosage for the patients' weight, condition, age, and history. This, in essence, is the Dutch argument, and although drugs are often been made available for the patient to take orally by his or her own hand, if and when desired and after due consultation, a physician is generally present to offer the technical support that a patient has the right to expect (McCuen 112).
When a person is terminally ill, his family might suggest the possibility of euthanasia, when in fact, the person that is ill can only request it. When a patient requests