Euthanasia: Moral, Not Murder



Brianna Riedmueller, Staff Reporter

Medical students all over the United States take the Hippocratic Oath when they bridge to become doctors. Does this oath provide that physician assisted suicide, or euthanasia, should be illegal? Euthanasia is a way to help suffering people pass peacefully and it should be completely legal.

Karen Ann Quinlan, a patient who went into a coma after allegedly mixing tranquilizers with alcohol, survived biologically for nine years in a “persistent vegetative state,” even after the New Jersey Supreme Court approved the doctors to disconnect her from life-support technology. This case caused a public concern about “lives not worth living” and the possibility of voluntary euthanasia if it could be determined that the patient would not have wanted to live in that condition.

A patient is only a candidate for euthanasia in many states if they are of a sound mind, they can make the choice knowing the consequences, and they are terminally ill. They have to have a life expectancy of six months or less, and they have to request it to their physician two times orally, 15 days apart, and provide at least one written request.

As Dr. Esther B. De La Torre said in her article “The Right to Assisted Suicide,” “Terminally ill patients should be allowed to die with dignity. Choosing the right to assisted suicide would be a final exercise of autonomy for the dying. They will not be seen as people who are waiting to die, but as human beings making one final active choice in their lives.”

Patients who are going to die soon are asking to be let go to leave a happy memory for their families and they should be able to do so.

Society will “pull the plug” for patients who are comatose and have no chance of getting better. We need to do everything we can to help patients who are asking to be let go and end their suffering, just as we do for comatose patients and our beloved pets.

Terminal patients are suffering for the last months of their lives, when they could leave a good memory for their family, letting them know that they passed away peacefully. If a patient is asking to be let go and wants to end his/her life in peace, we should be able to help them.

When our pets get sick, we help put them out of their misery. Pets are put down when they have no hope and will only suffer if they’re kept alive. We have mercy on these animals, yet when it comes to humans, we let them suffer until their painful death comes over them.

Many laws in states are strict about who can exercise their right to assisted suicide. However, there are currently no laws in New Jersey about euthanasia, so the decision to let a patient carry out assisted suicide is entirely dependent on the physician and the hospital/hospice care facility they are in.

On February 7, 2019, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee released S1072, the NJ Assisted Suicide Bill, from committee.  The bill can now be voted on at any time in the full Senate. We should be pushing our legislature to legalize euthanasia in New Jersey.