Nancy Cruzan was an ordinary twenty year old woman who lost everything in a car accident. Nancy became terminally ill. She was brain dead although her heart was pumping as if she was an Olympic star. Yet, she could not talk, eat or think. She was miserable. With no purpose in life her guardians fought for her right to die and got it…………. eight long years later. What if Nancy was your sister? Would you let her suffer eight horrendous years? While researching I found shocking discoveries about the right to die. Terminally ill people suffer for years and are seldom allowed to end life on their own terms. Unfortunately, terminally ill patients and their families have to fight for the freedom of choice which should be an unalienable right. Vegetable, vegetation state, and terminally ill are three different terms that means a person is brain dead. Individuals in this state have no control over themselves. They get fed through a tube while on life support. Nancy Cruzan`s case was in the 1990s when the government was just realizing they were going to have to take a step to help the terminally ill. Nancy`s family had to take her case to court because she did not have a will that stated her wishes under such circumstances. After the court’s first hearing the case became public. Outsiders barged into what used to be a private matter. Random people made their lives even worse by judging their decision and calling them murders. On top of the public’s response they had to deal with the guilt of getting Nancy her right to die. It was a remarkable day when Nancy’s family got her right to die. The battle was finally over. Many people think that the families of the terminally ill patients are the only people suffering but the doctors have to deal with the guilt as well. It takes a huge toll on doctors. Every doctor takes the Hippocratic oath which states that they will do everything in their power to keep patients healthy. If the patient`s family goes to court they trust their doctor to be completely honest with the circumstance even if it means giving the patient their right to die. The doctors are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Doctors have to deal with their personal emotion while they are trying to help the patient recover. The fate of a terminally ill patient is eminent death. The question remains how long the family and doctors are willing to keep him or her alive. It is very disappointing to see how some people do not get their right to die. They can’t escape their misery. It is as if that person’s physical self here without any cognitive abilities which make the person a vegetable. Human cannot and should not be forced to live like a vegetable. As Newton said “I think therefore I am”(Collected 1). The worst part is they do not suffer alone. Their family stands by them until they leave this world. It is inspiring to see how families fight even with all the agony they are put through. The fourteenth amendment helps people secure the right to die for their family members it states, “No state shall make laws which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens in theirs.” (Cruzan 1). The most depressing part is how the person cannot make their decision themselves. We should practice empathy when it comes to matters like this. Obviously if any one of us was in similar situation we would want to a choice. When asked by the press about his feeling towards this case Nancy`s father said “hundreds and thousands of people can rest free knowing that when death beckons upon them they can meet face to face with dignity. Nancy is not one of those people.”(Cruzan 22). People on life support will never be able to meet face to face with dignity. Those people lost their dignity the moment they were put on life support. In my opinion, death is not just an end it is a new beginning. Fortunately, after long and tumultuous fights most people transition into a better place. Everyday there are more and more people who fight for their right to die and right for their loved ones to live normally. No one should judge someone’s right to die. Who are we to judge their right? Imagine you were a friend of a terminally ill patient wouldn’t you want their future to be in their families and doctors hands? How would you feel if someone was choosing your future?
February 9, 2012
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