Physician Assisted Suicide

by Maureen Ngigi

[Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) is a heavy and emotional topic, because people refuse to give up on their loved ones and choosing this option for is just too painful. PAS is an option that allows a physician to prescribe medication that ends up killing the patient but with their knowledge. It is a way for patients with terminal illnesses to pass away on their own terms.

I believe that however hard the choice of PAS is, family members should think about what the ill member wants and not what they want. Also  for those with terminal illness this is a way for them to go out while keeping their dignity and beautiful memories with their family members rather than life support machines sticking out of them.

One of the kindest teachers I have ever had,recently lost a loved one to cancer. I asked if she was willing to talk about it and her opinion on PAS and with a heavy heart she agreed to talk to me. I asked her about the daily medication her loved one had to endure just to keep them alive and why she never introduced them to the idea of PAS which is legal in some states in the U.S.: Oregon, Vermont, California, and Washington. In tears she said she never considered that what her loved one was going through to stay alive was more painful to them than having a peaceful death. She said,“If only I took one look at my mother’s tears every time she couldn’t breathe and had to be rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night, or her sadness everytime we went for consultation and the news wasn’t good, if only I listened to her when she said dying is way cheaper and would bring me so much joy than all this hospital visits.”

PAS is a choice people with terminal illnesses should be allowed to have because it is their life and they may be tired of suffering and would rather stay with their families without being sick for a month, than pass away while going for check-ups, orientations, being admitted or constant surgeries to get rid of a tumor that keeps growing back. I think it is fair for patients to go out on their own terms and not because an illness decided to take them from their loved ones without probable cause. Family members should be able to sit down with the patient and listen to them on their decision and be understanding about it because if the family isn’t supportive that may cause more pain that they already feel leaving their family members. They should see the pain in the patient and understand that this is the best option for them.

I understand that it’s normal for people to go against the idea of PAS but that is because they don’t see the benefits that are not only for the person but for their family, too. The person gets peace but the family gets to save money, they get to remember the family members without tubes and constant medication, they also get to cherish each and every moment with the patient before their time of death.

However being pro-PAS I believe it should only be offered to only patients with terminal illnesses who see no other escape from the pain and agony.