Death With Dignity

Timothy Gormley, Reporter

In case you don’t know, the Death with Dignity Act allows terminally ill people to use a prescribed lethal medication that will kill them. This only applies if they’re a legal resident of a state where it is legal. You must also be an adult (18 years old) and capable to make and communicate your health care decisions.

Brian Hannan, 53, says, “I totally think it is inhumane to make someone stand such intolerable pain when there is a more comfortable way out. I don’t think that any person or even an animal should have to endure that.”

For some it may seem inconsequential, and for others, it is reality. There are lots of reasons why one should agree or disagree with the Death with Dignity Act. A fair amount of teens don’t even know what this act is.

After creating a survey for some teens at West Anchorage High School, about one out every five students didn’t know what it was. There were 100 surveys taken. Out of the 100 about 75 percent answered “yes” to the first question, which was, “do you believe adults should be allowed to take a prescribed medication to pass away?” So most of the students were pro choice on the Death with Dignity Act.

The second question on the survey was, “if you were terminally ill would you want to be able to take a prescribed medication to end your life?” Roughly 50 percent of students at West High answered “no.” Half of the people that answered “no” were because they had religious beliefs that would go against them using barbiturates to end their life.

“Life is given to us by God and we have no right to take it away by ourselves. So I think it’s wrong,” a student named Saadman Bin Abdullah said. He also said, “I would say this is suicide because the patient has the right to make the decision and if he or she follows through with it then it is obvious suicide in my opinion.”

A woman named Brittany Maynard who was diagnosed with a likely stage four glioblastoma chose to follow through with Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. She said, “for people to argue against this choice for sick people really seems evil to me.” She moved to Portland, Oregon so she could die with dignity.

Lea Ann Allen says, “if someone was really sick and close to the point of death they shouldn’t have to suffer and just be doped up with morphine. If someone has something like a brain tumor that is inoperable than they could end up not knowing anybody, not being themselves and won’t be able to maintain their faculties. I don’t think anybody should have to go through that.”

The last question in the survey asked, “do you think this would affect the glory of suicide and realization of people’s personal problems? 75 percent answered “yes.” So it seems they think Death with Dignity would take the spotlight over suicide and suicide would be less recognized.