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Under the Canadian Criminal Code, section 241(b) makes the aiding or abetting a person to commit suicide an offense. Under this provision of the code, an argument can be made that medical doctors who follow a patients "do not resuscitate"(DNR) order are assisting the person in ending their life. However this is not the case, a person in this instance is considered "to be master of his/her own body, and he/she may, if he/she be of sound mind, expressly prohibit the performance of life-saving surgery, or other medical treatment."1 A person who is pronounced to be brain dead, can be taken off a respirator if the patients family gives those specific instructions to the doctor, consequently killing the family member, yet the family member is never charged and convicted. These situations give an example of a person of sound mind deciding to essentially end their life, or the life of someone else by refusing to allow medical treatment, and the doctor who is in a position to treat the person does not, is in fact assisting the person to die. Why then is it illegal for a person with a terminally ill disease to request the assistance of a physician to end their life when they choose. In the 1990's euthanasia has fallen into three basic categories. The first is withholding or withdrawing treatment,(the case of the DNR order and the brain dead patient and the removal of the respirator) the second is mercy killing/ assisted suicide, and the third is physician assisted suicide. Mercy killing is when a suffering individual who is unable to request and perform the act of suicide, it is my opinion that this form of assisted suicide is illegal for the sole reason that consent cannot be given, and therefore this act should face punishment under the laws of a state. A recent example of this is the Robert Latimer case. The Saskatchewan farmer had a twelve year old daughter named Tracy. She was unable to walk, talk or feed herself and weighed less than forty pounds. She functioned at the level of a three month old and had undergone major surgery on her back, hips and legs. Her parents could not bear seeing her go through any more surgery. It was argued that Latimer killed his daughter after he could not see any other way of ending her suffering. This in my opinion should not be allowed because it was not clear that consent was given. However a competent terminally ill patient who requests a physician to assist them in the event that they cannot physically or mentally perform the act of suicide themselves is in my opinion not a crime and should not be punished. The topic of euthanasia has been debated for years in the public and in the court systems of the world. A well known case in Canadian history is Rogriguez v. British Columbia, the appellant was terminally ill, suffering from a progressive disease of the motor neurons. There is no cure for the disease and the average duration of life is about three years. Evidence indicated that the appellant would become bedridden and unable to speak or to care for herself. The disease does not usually affect the mind of the patient. Rogriguez sought a declaration to the effect that she was entitled to have assistance in committing suicide when her condition becomes no longer bearable. By that time she would be unable to commit suicide without the assistance of another person. The question of euthanasia is a question of choice and empowering people to have control over their own bodies. A terminally ill person in my opinion has the right to request the assistance of a physician to assist them in the act of ending their own life. The physician and only physicians should be given the right to assist the terminally ill patient in committing suicide. A concern of one of the judges in the Rodriguez case was that anyone given an exception to the rule, may lead to an abuse of the power, and consequently create an inequality. That is why the power to assist a person in ending their life must be given solely to physicians who deal with life and death on a daily basis. A terminally ill person can live with pain and suffering for years, which is unnecessary if the person wishes to end their life. Assisted suicide allows terminally ill people to die with dignity. There should be a recurring theme apparent this far, and that is that assisted suicide is only an option for terminally ill patients who are suffering from physical pain or the loss of mental capacity. It can not be used in any other case. A person who breaks their leg and must endure the pain of having it reset, and the months of physical therapy is not a candidate for assisted suicide even though he/she may endure prolonged pain, simply for the reason that the person is not terminally ill and they can recover. Depression is a cause of attempted suicide, however depressed people would not be allowed to request the assistance of a physician for the reason of assisting them in ending their lives because depression is a treatable disease. It is possible to go on and on about why people do not qualify for the right to physician assisted suicide, but to be eligible a person must be terminally ill, and face suffering from physical pain or the loss of mental capacity. A terminally ill patient must have clearly made a contemplated choice, prior to the of loss of mental capacity. Those who are against assisted suicide claim that it is difficult and sometimes not possible to determine if a person with diminished capacity has given consent. That is why it is important for a person who is diagnosed with a terminally ill disease to express their wishes in the form of a living will, as well as consult family members and a licensed physician. Also there should be reasonable medical procedures taken to slow the effects of the disease, the patient should not give up as soon as they are diagnosed. Life is precious and is worth a fight. It is when the fight is clearly hopeless and the agony, physical and mental, is unbearable that a final exit is an option. Physical and mental pain should be taken into consideration when the debate of assisted suicide is undertaken. Why should terminally ill people be forced to live through any number of years months or days when the inevitable outcome is death. Not all pain can be eased by the use of strong drugs. "Ventilators cause so much discomfort that many patients need drugs to keep from gagging or pulling the tubes out. Doctors often are unable to ameliorate the pain and suffering caused by illness such as AIDS and cancer. Ceaseless pain can be very frightening."2 Terminally ill patients should be given the choice to end their life prematurely rather than face one that is endured with prolonged pain or diminished ment

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