The Price of Death

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One of the tumultuous puzzles in instances of Physician-Assisted Suicide is the impact bearer in the entire process. In the article- “Who May Die? California Doctors Wrestle with Assisted Suicide” posted in New York Times, Jennifer Medina touches on the effects the technique has on both the physicians and the patients. She starts by means of noting that California was the fourth state in the US to legalize Physician-Assisted Suicide. It all started when a 29-year-old American girl by the name Brittany Maynard decided to relocate to Oregon the place terminally ill patients are allowed to induce demise by use of drugs. The lady who was a college teacher by profession wanted to obtain consent for Physician-Assisted Suicide after being diagnosed with brain cancer. Jennifer is quick to point that unlike Oregon, California’s statutes are strict. The laws also contain disclaimers so that a patient is able to appreciate the end results of their decisions way before they take action. The author goes ahead to enumerate the effects this suicidal process has on the concerned patients and the doctors as well.

Jennifer appeals to ethics in her literary work. The employment of ethos is meant to attract the attention of readers and draw their feelings. Included in the article is a script from one of the patients who plans on obtaining an assisted suicide from a physician. The manner in which the letter is demarcated using subheadings makes it easy to read and comprehend. For instance, the first subsection titled “I Don’t Want to Become a Burden” gives a narrative of a 63-year-old woman by the name Kristy Allen. Despite her healthy-looking status, she has stage 4 colon cancer. The woman complains of her long suffering and expresses her desire to die. Among other reasons, she says that she does not wish to become a liability to her family. She is particularly concerned that her husband has to take care her basic needs. She says, “I don’t want to become a burden to my family. I don’t want my husband to take care of certain hygienic needs. That’s my nonnegotiable thing.” The inclusion of the patient’s passage would not have come at a better time. It is more appealing when we read the patient’s own words than when it is in reported speech. Allen’s argument is quite reasonable. Her family is also in full support of her decision. Although the family members are cognizant of the fact that they will mourn her death, they are no longer willing to see her suffer incessant pain. Allen opines, “With hospice, there are really no more tests to be done, no more treatment. It’s a relief.” She will finally be free.

The untold story of the physicians when it comes to Physician-Assisted Suicide is deafening. Their take on the entire issue is hardly taken into consideration. What exactly goes on in the minds of these doctors when they see the very lives they ought to protect come to an end? Medina reports that in a survey conducted among the doctors, a whopping 60% expressed their support for the legislation in theory. Nevertheless, half of them were unwilling to administer the medication themselves (Medina). The inclusion of these data in Jennifer’s work helps us get a clearer picture on how doctors perceive the Physician-Assisted Suicide. The author also employs logos to click our minds and make us think. Some of the physicians are uncomfortable facilitating the suicide. Dr. Shavelson says, “Being uncomfortable became a reason not to do something in medicine. We make uncomfortable decisions all the time. When somebody says, ‘I am ready to end dialysis and let myself die,’ that’s a momentous decision and it might make us uncomfortable” The issue of assisted suicide will always illicit debate whenever it is mentioned. The dilemma cuts through the option of giving human life the dignity and value it deserves and respecting the terminally ill person’s wish to die.

In conclusion, Jennifer’s literary work appeals to the audience and meets its purpose. The use of logos and ethos speaks to the value often attached to human life. The use of quantitative data to substantiate her findings makes her work even more reliable. Her decision to focus on both the patients’ and the doctors’ perspectives of Physician-Assisted Suicide makes the article credible since this represents a wholesome approach to the topic of discussion.

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