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Human Euthanasia: How Much Does the it REALLY Cost to Euthanize?

In an attempt to research human euthanasia, I scoured the Internet looking for facts. I wanted one piece of scientific data that could possibly prove that human euthanasia has a place in the medical profession. Unfortunately, everything I found was an opinion – sometimes masked as a fact.

There are two opposing views regarding human euthanasia:

· It’s unfortunate, but the humane choice and humans have a right to choose.

· It’s wrong.

I don’t know that a clear choice regarding legislation can be made, because there is an inability to take our opinions out of it.

So, I do not have scientific evidence, but I can tell you that human euthanasia feels wrong to me. I can logically see both sides of the argument. Terminally ill patients should not have to suffer, but why not hold out hope for a cure? I am scared of what comes after human euthanasia, I am apprehensive about putting a price on human life (health care cost containment), and I am concerned for how doctors will cope with such contradictory responsibilities. These aspects of the argument prevent me from accepting human euthanasia as a “medical treatment.”

Though the “slippery slope” is often brushed aside as a weak argument because it does not actually happen, I am unable to alleviate my concern for what the next step would be. According to the International Task Force, there are currently opportunities for NOT terminally ill patients to get help with their suicides, with the only criteria being an “unbearable illness.” (International Task Force: FAQ, 2004). Couldn’t Tourette’s syndrome be considered unbearable? Dementia? Paralysis? As well as stage four cancer? Who draws the line between unfortunate and unbearable?

I also do not like the prospect that a parent could potentially choose human euthanasia for their sick child. (This is a likely scenario if human euthanasia becomes legal, because parents almost always make medical decisions for their children and legal human euthanasia would be considered “medical treatment.”) The slippery slope theory is a point of disquiet for me when I consider the idea of legalizing human euthanasia.

Some opine that the next step with human euthanasia is “health care cost containment.” With health care issues in the forefront of the Administration’s mind, I wonder if cost containment goes hand-in-hand? Will my grandmother be “put down” because she cannot be a productive member of society?

In addition to my fears of what is down the road from human euthanasia, I worry about the added stress to the medical profession. It is a contradiction that a doctor would swear an oath to help, save, and protect life but at the same time have the option to take life. (Pregnant Pause, 2000). Do teachers have the right to abuse our children? Would a CEO ever work to decrease profits? What if, instead of protecting us, police officers went on citizen killing sprees? It seems impossible to me that a doctor could both heal and intentionally kill on the same day.

I do not have any personal experience with this issue to draw upon. I do not have statistics or medical research to back up my opinion. I just know that whenever I think of a doctor helping a patient die, my stomach churns.

Definitions

Euthanasia: Euthanasia is the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit.

Voluntary euthanasia: When the person who is killed has requested to be killed.

Non-voluntary: When the person who is killed made no request and gave no consent.

Involuntary euthanasia: When the person who is killed made an expressed wish to the contrary.

Assisted suicide: Someone provides an individual with the information, guidance, and means to take his or her own life with the intention that they will be used for this purpose. When it is a doctor who helps another person to kill themselves it is called "physician assisted suicide."

Euthanasia By Action: Intentionally causing a person's death by performing an action such as by giving a lethal injection.

Euthanasia By Omission: Intentionally causing death by not providing necessary and ordinary (usual and customary) care or food and water.

http://www.nrlc.org/medethics/

© 2009 Leslie Broussard

Comments 32 comments

dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

I've heard of a story where an elderly widow wanted very much to leave her life savings to her children and grandchildren, yet had gotten sick to where she was on life support. Long story short, all of the money she planned on leaving to her children and grandchildren went to paying for her medical expenses for the next six-months and so exhausted all the money she had. She coincidentally died when her money ran out and so had nothing to leave to the surviving members of her family who had nothing. Makes you wonder, huh?

Thank you Leslie, for sharing this. I hope many of us can learn more about this fascinating and controversial issue.


Scott.Life 7 years ago

What a hard subject to fathom. Should we allow those we love to wither and linger? My father has expressed clearly after my mother's death that he does not wish to live off machines. He has said that when it's his time to flip the switch and let him go, his time being defined in his own words as when he can no longer breath on his own or respond to us.


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 7 years ago Author

Dohn,

Thank you for visiting my hub.

That is a sad story you share. It is odd that she died when her money ran out...But maybe that was God's way of keeping the family from fighting over money. LOL

Thank you for leaving a comment. I hope to gain some insight on the subject also.

Blessings,

Leslie


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 7 years ago Author

Scott,

I think the most important lesson we can learn from this issue is to have something IN WRITING regarding what you want. Without a legal paper clearly defining your wishes, either your family or the government is going to make the choice for you.

Thank you again for always reading my work. I appreciate your input!

Blessings,

Leslie


readytoescape profile image

readytoescape 7 years ago from Central Florida

Broussardleslie

I applaud you for composing such a well thought out hub on a very difficult subject. Your points against are powerfully salient and thought provoking. You very strongly put forth the opportunities for abuse, even if any law were to allow such personal choice. The slippery slope concept is a very real apparition hiding in the weeds of Government sponsored healthcare, political social justice and corporate bottom line.

Such a “choice’ can only be a personal one, and should be one made only by the individual affected, without the pressures that could be applied via the transgressions as outlined above.

Euthanasia is occurring today in a very quiet, unlegislated fashion through Hospice intervention. Albeit, many consider the “assisted process” to late too preserve dignity and personal choice. Again I offer a rousing well done.


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 7 years ago Author

Thank you, ready to escape, for visiting my hub.

I appreciate your ability to express what I was unable - it is a personal choice and can only be made by the individual.

Hopefully, I will get to writing that Will, so there will be no intervention for me!

Thank you for your well thought-out comment.

Blessings,

Leslie


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 7 years ago from Bismarck, ND

Well written. I personally believe it is wrong. I don't think it should be up to us when we die, I think that should be left up to our Creator. And like you said, we are heading down a slippery slope if it becomes legalized.


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 7 years ago Author

Cari Jean,

I know that people often want to brush aside the slippery slope, because "it never actually happens," but I'm just not interested in taking the chance. Both of my parents are disabled, and could be labeled as "unproductive members of society." However, they are still my parents and I love them dearly. I would hate to think what could potentially happen if euthanasia were to become legal. Or what about all the kids who have been diagnosed with autism? It's just a scary thought to think of what harm humans could do if given the right. I agree, let's leave it all up to the Creator. He is so much smarter than I :)

Thank you for reading my hub.

Leslie


Hannah 7 years ago

Today, Euthanasia is only legal in the netherlands. They have a fool proof process that prevents malpractice. For instance, the terminal patient must be coherent, in unbearable pain with no prospect of improvement, they must seek consultation with another doctor to confirm their conditions, they cannot make the decision when under the influence of others, psychological illness, or drugs,and the death must be carried out in a "fashionable" manner. (They also set an age limit). These guidelines make it impossible to perform the procedure on an unwilling being. There are also a number of criminal offenses the doctor will face if they do not obey the law.

We have to option of passive Euthanasia, or withdrawing medical treatment with the deliberate intenetion of causing the patients death. Why shouldn't they also have to option of killing themselves in a pain free way?

Put your personal morals aside and let them decide what is right for them. We have to freedom of doing as we please as long as it does not inflict harm on others, this should include active euthanasia.

Did I mention, it costs $129,000 to keep a terminal patient alive for a year(this includes food, emotional support, meds., dialysis etc)? Insurance only pays for about $50,000 dollars leaving the patient to come up with the rest. Euthanasia only costs 34 to 45 dollars. Resorting to Euthanasia would not only end their suffering but it would improve government funded programs such as medicaid by eradicating expensive, terminal patients.

I could go on, and on, and on...

Hannah


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 7 years ago Author

Thank you for adding your opinion, Hannah.

I wasn't quite sure what "passive euthanasia" is, so I looked around a little bit. It appears to be the patient's choice to withhold medical treatment (i.e. chemotherapy). Thank you for adding that piece to the discussion.

You said, "Euthanasia only costs 34 to 45 dollars." One of my problems with this entire issue is putting a dollar sign on human life. When we start trying to balance the cost of keeping people alive, we lose the ability to value their lives.

Thank you again for visiting my hub. I hope that someday, somehow someone will find a fair compromise on this issue.

Blessings,

Leslie


AdeleCosgroveBray profile image

AdeleCosgroveBray 6 years ago from Wirral, Cheshire, England.

Thank you for sharing your ideas about assisted death.

In your hub, you expressed a concern about a patient opting for an assisted death when, if only they'd hung on longer, a cure may have come along. This is an understandable reaction, and medical science has made many useful breakthroughs and will continue to do so exponentially.

However, actual workable cures for some terminal illnesses may be a decade or more away. Almost no currently terminally ill person could possibly survive long enough to benefit from as-yet undeveloped technologies. Meanwhile their quality of life (as defined by each individual) is intolerable to them.

In my own Hub about asssisted death, I offer two possible solutions to this dilema - DNA archiving and cryonics.


chefaija profile image

chefaija 6 years ago

My father was terminally ill and suffered for seven months and all he wanted was to die in peace. I know he would have choose this and no matter how much I didn't agree if this was legal I would have let him die how he wanted because when you love someone it is a personal choice. He suffered in pain and died an agonizing death


Stephen  6 years ago

to the person who wrote up to our creator

We did not ask to have an illness, so why should we give pain and suffering to loved ones as we would rather die, the pain and suffering would die after a few months so let the ill die if they choose to


heather 6 years ago

I think that it is right for allowing people to die when they want, particulary if they are in pain!

It is not our choice to prolong someones life if they do not wish to live it, if they are in agony then surely it would be a gift to be allowed to escape that pain.

I am sure that if I am in that situatuion and i was in exteme agony I hope that my family would make the choice to end my life because I know that they would not want me to be in agony.


Christine 6 years ago

You, did person have just been diagnosed with Lou gehrigs disease and you have suffered years now. You are not allowed to DRAW THE LINE, the state draws the line fo you. Now do you see how wrong THAT is? You are not able to put yourself into another's pair of boots; that you have proven with your comments. That is where it gets really sad and very scary. The intent is to cease the suffering, to be full of mercy. Open your mind to your OWN suffering, lie in bed for just a few months and then, rewrite your opinion. Kill and murder are ugly words, this is not the words we are using here. Thank you for opening you mind and heart. Always and tenderly


Jhon 6 years ago

I am doing a report for a project o euthansia. I need sugestions.


Tekia 6 years ago

Now that I know both of your parents are disabled, this argument is so stupid and biased. You're extremely selfish.

If your parents, that you love so much, wish to die, you're going to say 'no' because you don't want them to?

I was actually intrigued until I read that, wow.

I iterate, you are selfish.


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 6 years ago Author

Tekia,

I'm not sure how my parents' disabilities make me selfish?

My mom has rheumatoid arthritis and my dad has a broken neck and back, but is not paralyzed. Neither of them have disabilities that are life threatening. They are inconvenienced by their circumstances.

My point in mentioning their current status is only to point out that some people might think they are a "drain on society" because they receive social security disbursements. Some other people might think they "live in agony day in and day out and should be relieved of such pain by being euthanized."

My parents have no desire to be euthanized. And my mentioning them is only an attempt to call to attention the grey areas involved in legalizing human euthanasia and the importance of determining who determines eligibility.

How am I being selfish in trying to protect my parents from death forced by health care cost containment?


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 6 years ago Author

Shakes:

Thank you for reading my hub. I agree with you. When my body is ready, I'd like to go. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


Brittany Morgan  6 years ago

Although I feel you made valid arguments I highly doubt legalizing euthanasia would mean doctors could go around killing people who they deemed a non functioning member of society whenever they wanted. First of all it would always require a patient or family members consent. There would be so many strict laws in place it would be virtually impossible for doctors to do such things. Look at Oregon and Washington who have both legalized assisted suicide and the laws they have in place just for that and you can only imagine the laws that would be enacted for euthanasia.

I would also like to state that I am somewhat tired of people using religion as an argument. Yes, it is against god but so are many other things. Abortion is against god and even though I do not agree with it I respect the separation of church and state and recognize that it is someones right to do as they please with their body. The same should hold true when it comes to ending their life. If you are a religious person and do not agree with it than you simply do not partake in it. However, realize that you are also playing god when you take medications to prolong life, or are on life support, ect. How does this differ? Just because it is extending rather than ending does not change the fact that you are "playing god". We play god not only in this sense and in abortion but also with the death penalty in which people are killed against their will. If this is legal why is one not allowed to kill themselves willingly? If one can kill another being that is growing inside them before they are born, why can one not kill themselves before their death. The god argument is transparent. Ultimately, I believe it is everyone's right to determine the amount of sufferig they must and can endure in their lifetime. It should not be up to fellow society members to decide that they must endure and live in pain because of differing viewpoints. If you are religious and are against it than you simply do not partake, however others should not have to suffer against their will because of your beliefs.

I would also like to add that you mentioning your parents does not make you selfish and is not a biased argument, I believe it is an irrelevant and flawed one but not a selfish and bias one. In all actuality it has nothing to do with bias at all, bias is not favoring one opinion over the other it is actually failing to present your reader with both sides of the argument. So you using your parents as an example is irrelevant.

I would also like to apologize for any typos, I am on my phone.


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 6 years ago Author

Brittany:

Thank you for your thorough comment on my Hub. I appreciate your views and am glad you took the time and effort to share them.

My point in writing the piece (and most of my pieces) was never to start a debate, but to hopefully encourage people to think.

With you, I feel as I have succeeded.

Many many blessings,

Leslie Broussard


JLClose profile image

JLClose 5 years ago from OreGONE

I applaud you for writing about such a controversial issue! I hope that someday I will have the balls to write something like this. :0)


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 5 years ago Author

JL:

I tend to be polarizing. I was working towards being less so by writing about hot topic issues. It was an interesting exercise, that I highly recommend :)

Good luck in your work,

Leslie


Wendy 5 years ago

I have a mother with Alzheimers. She has a life of an infant. She wears diapers, sleeps all day, and is spoon fed like a baby. She is not aware of her surroundings, hasn't talked or recognized anyone for 10 years, yet her body still lives.

She told all of us kids if she was ever a vegetable to pull the plug. She didn't want to be on life support, ever. Tell me though, what do you do when there is no plug to pull, drugs to withhold, no breathing tubes? She is a vegetable. All we can do is pray for her life to end. Can you imagine the feeling you get when you are hoping your mother will die? Horrible daughter! But I love her so much, if I thought I wouldn't go to jail, I would put a pillow over her head to fulfill her wish. It's what she asked us to do, but because of the current laws, we are as helpless as she is. There needs to be some kind of a choice out there to help her.


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 5 years ago Author

Wendy:

Unfortunately, I don't have an answer for you. I wish there was something in the middle. I wish there was an awesome compromise. I'm so sorry for your position. My best friend dealt with similar with her grandfather. It was truly heartbreaking, draining, frustrating, etc...Maybe someday soon someone will find the perfect solution. I pray all the best for you and your family.

Leslie


New 2011 Mom profile image

New 2011 Mom 4 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

Thank you so much for writing this. I am doing a paper on this, and this really helps me out. It's also very well written and very interesting.


terminally ill 4 years ago

I've read over all of the comments made here and I'm disappointed and angered by some of the views and excuses people have to offer about this topic.

Yes euthanasia is a hard topic to face and there are many risks involved with it, on the other had, with strict laws and control factors put in place it can be done humanely and without extreme anxiety for both loved ones and the casualty of the illness.

I've read over everyone's views and comments on this page and am disappointed and angered by some of them. Religion tells us that " thou shall not kill" but yet abortions are being done everyday by the thousands, people who commit horrible acts of violence are put to death by the hand of humans,and pain and suffering are inflicted in come countries. Why is it that we are more likely to feel compassion towards an animal who has been in our family for 5 min compared to a spouse or loved one and end their suffering.. just bc they are not human? they still have a soul, a personality, they have been by our side, loving us unconditionally, probably treated us way better than some family members.. and we have no problem snuffing out their life if they become sick.

Now picture being 25 yrs old and being diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer. Imagine having 6 surgeries to try and remove all the cancer but every time they open u up it causes the cancer to spread... Imagine having a husband and 3 small children at home.. Picture yourself laying in bed, body aching all the time like you ave a horrible flu, fevered, chilled, picture not being able to eat, sharp pain piercing your stomach, and ripping through your body like someone was gutting you with a knife!Imagine having your 3 kids laying in bed with you crying because they want you to go outside and play with them.. because they are watching your body perish more and more every day. Imagine listening to your husband kneeling at your bedside praying for your relief.. praying for mercy, while he thinks you're sleeping. Picture having bed sores that are oozing with puss and black drainage, picture your husband and your children having to change your colostomy bag and diapers beacause you are too weak to get out of bed.

Well I am now 30 and have just been told that my cancer has now spread to my lymph nodes. I have been battleing with cancer now for 5 years, I've watched my family and loved ones suffer through my illness, I've watched my kids withdraw for the world and take on my health as their responsibility.. I have watched my husband become an emotional wreck.. he's lost at least 60 lbs just from stress... and My body hurts so bad that typing this is actually physically exhausting me. I wish that in canada, we had euthanasia. I'm slowly dying from starvation cause I cant eat or drink without extreme pain or vomiting, I feel like someone had taken a sludge hammer to my entire body.. and most of all, I cant stomach watching my family suffer any longer, I cant bear to watch my husbands and my childrend heart break more and more everyday.. I cant stand seeing the pain in their eyes, and it rips me apart to see the endless pain and suffering in their eyes. If I had the right to consent to my own death, I Would sign it in a heartbeat.. not just for my sake, but for he sake of my family and their happiness.

thank you


Nicole 4 years ago

@Terminally ill....wow...I am speechless...you are just beautiful...truly....I have never seen you or heard your voice, but I am honored. You are so brave and strong to me...I don't even know what to say...I probably sound Like an idiot or immature or something...it seems like your family loves you a lot...you are so strong it's amazing...you have left a mark on a total stranger as myself. Thank you. Never forget who you are...someone worth treasured....that is how I think of you.


Jessica 4 years ago

I really liked this article. I am writing a research paper on euthanasia, and this helped strengthen my thesis and opinion of the topic. I am totally against it as the Bible says "Do not kill." While researching I have found some pretty graphic things on the internet. Thanks for tellling it how it is cleanly.


Nia 4 years ago

Its simple. Make it legal for those over 18. Keep kids out of it for now. It absolutely should be legal as it is in other countries. Even a state or two in USA has it legal under certain circumstances, they just call it something else. What do you think docs do when they up the morphine on patients well above tolerable level. Yeah, we already do it for some... we should do it for all. For alot who suffere, mental or physical illness, if they KNEW they had a way out if they wanted it, that would be painless to them, maybe they MIGHT be able to carry on another day thinking that they didn't have to choose that option. It would be a stress reliever actually. I believe a 6 month documented period would suffice - if at the end of that time a person still wanted out, regardless of why, they should be let out. There is no slippery slope or a god to condemn us... all manmade theories. Be real. Be here. Be now. You put your dog/cat to sleep to stop cruel suffering... shouldn't your human companion mean as much to you? So far, society says no.


Audrey 23 months ago

Dr Helen came out to our home Friday June 15th, to help our Great Dane, Angus pass very peacfully. He was 8 years old and had gone qkciuly into kidney failure. Helen was soft spoken and very gentle during the procedure and made my husband and I feel very comfortable and explained what to expect. She allowed our other small dog,Peanut Butter to smell her whole face and head as she was kneeling on the floor. Peanut then positioned himseIf between my husband and me during the visit. I wish I had known about home euthenatia before with our previous dogs. Helen was great! Thank You


Irene 23 months ago

I had left a message to/about Dr. Helen Secor's visit to our home October 8th, but not hanvig Facebook and not knowing the first thing about Twitter, following up on e-mails, etc., I haven't been aware if Dr. Helen received the message or not. Is there somewhere I should be checking on your web page, or is it not possible to post every e-mail (I am SO pleased to see how your name is getting out there and how many lives you are touching). I am just hoping that Dr. Helen got the e-mail as I definitely want her to know how much her visit meant. Thank-you!

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    Sources

    Rita L. Marker and Kathi Hamlon. Frequently Asked Questions. International Task Force. May 16, 2006 <http://www.internationaltaskforce.org/faq.htm>.

    AMA: Anti-Euthanasia, Pro-Pain Control. Pregnant Pause. May 16, 2006. http://www.pregnantpause.org/euth/amagomez.htm

    http://www.nrlc.org/medethics/

    For those who are curious, here is an opposing point of view:

    http://www.dangerouscreation.com/2008/09/euthanasia-and-abortion-profound-hypocri/

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