Death with dignity: The cons of physician assisted suicide

Aja Backstrom, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Though many people could argue that Brittany Maynard did the right thing by choosing to end her life, I, along with others, disagree. First of all, the Death with Dignity decision is based on a person’s quality of life, and that isn’t for doctors to decide. Secondly, there are many other ways to handle the pain and depression of a terminal illness. Lastly, for those of you who are religious, it may go against your beliefs as a religious person.
In a Nov. 12 article titled “What Scares Me About the ‘Death With Dignity’ Debate” Anne Penniston Grunsted wrote about her views on Maynard’s decision. She has a son with Down Syndrome, and she makes the argument that choosing death according to “quality of life” is an insult to anyone with a mental disability.
I agree. Who decides “quality of life?” Do the doctors have the right to choose whether or not their patients’ lives are worth living? I just couldn’t help but think of those living with severe depression and many other terrible mental illnesses. Many of them have given up on themselves and the quality of their life may be worse than someone living happily with a terminal illness or permanent mental or physical disability. For every single person it’s going to be under different circumstances, so how could someone make a law or decision speaking for someone else?
Physician-assisted suicide shouldn’t be put into practice because there are many other ways to handle the situations. Many people argue that Brittany Maynard was suffering and was going to die from her terminal illness regardless, so why prolong the pain? However, doctors have the right to give patients suffering from terminal illness carefully-selected medications that are prescribed specifically for patients in their circumstances. Maynard could have lived out her terminal illness for as long as possible on medication that could take away any depression, pain and other horrible side effects associated with terminal illness.
There’s also a religious viewpoint to this. If you are Christian, you may have been raised with the Ten Commandments. Don’t kill, don’t steal, and don’t commit adultery are basic rules that guide society’s humane actions. But should there be an asterisk at the end of “don’t kill,” including “with the exception physician-assisted suicide” in fine print? No.
Though many people are proclaiming Maynard to be a hero, a brave human being who is so strong, I don’t agree with that. She chose the worst way to deal with her pain, leaving her family and husband full of pain and “what ifs. “