There are three different ways that assisted suicide can occur. The first way is called Euthanasia, which is the direct act of someone to give the patient a lethal dose of medication with or without the patients consent. The second way is Assisted Suicide, which is supplying a patient with medication that would cause their death upon their request. While pulling the plug is classified as removing food tubes, turning off life support, which does not allow the patient to recover. http://www.brfwitness.org/?p=701
Euthanasia is illegal in all fifty states, while assisted suicide is only legal in Oregon, Washington, and Montana. Although the first two are for the most part illegal in the U.S. The process of withholding food and fluids and allowing a person to die is legal throughout the country. If a person decides that they want to undergo assisted suicide they would have to go out of country. Switzerland has people from around the world visit for assisted suicide. http://www.wrtl.org/assistedsuicide/fastfacts.aspx
Now that you know some basic facts, are these laws good? Should Euthanasia and assisted suicide be legal? In my opinion in cases of extreme brain damage, comas, or very limited abilities they should be legal. I have talked about this on occasion with my father. My grandfather has been sick for the past couple years now. He is slowly dying and they don’t think he will make it much longer. He can’t leave the house and spends all day either in his bed or in a chair in the living room. We both agree that if we were in that situation, where there is no chance to recover, that we would not want to live anymore.
Here is an example of a case where the patient recovered while the family and the spouse were in a lawsuit about pulling the plug. A 36 year old Ramirez suffered a traumatic brain injury during a car accident that put him into a coma. After 9 days doctors informed his wife that he would never recover so she chose to remove his feeding and water tubes. After her decision, his family made a legal appeal to have them put back and won. Ramirez was able to recover from the coma after the tubes were put back in. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=3325418&page=1
In a different case Terri Schiavo, a woman that suffered a brain injury that led to a vegetative state, was the person in disbute in a lawsuit between her husband and her family. This case led to her water and feeding tubes to be taken out which led to her death. The difference in this case than the Ramirez case is that his wife had them remove the tubes only 9 days after the accident. Schiavo had her tubes removed 15 years after her incident occured. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=3325418&page=1
Should there be a mandatory period of time before pulling the plug can be an option? If assisted suicide were to become legal should the person have to go through a period of time to fully consider what he is doing? I think that the 9 day instance is way to short to make this kind of decision. The person was just injured and emotions are still high. You should have to wait a couple years at least. This gives a person time to fully consider their options and also to see if the person is recovering at all. Then if the person has not shown signs of recovery pulling the plug can be a valid decision.