Sunday, November 2, 2014

Do you think a person has the 'right' to die? (A recent case of 'euthanasia')


Euthanasia is a word taken from the ancient Greek language. 'eu' means 'good' and 'thanatos' means death. So euthanasia is the term for a 'good death' or when doctors will help a person to die if the person is suffering greatly and if the person has a terminal illness (an illness for which there is no cure). Euthanasia is also sometimes called 'mercy killing' - in this case mercy would mean you are showing kindness or compassion to the person to end his/her suffering.

In the photo above you see a woman who was diagnosed with a terminal case of brain cancer and who traveled from California to Oregon in order to 'legally' and painlessly die.  She was in extreme pain and suffered from seizures (when you can't control your body and the muscles tighten very hard over and over again).  Oregon is one of 5 US states that offer euthanasia.

This woman actually became a bit famous because she announced several weeks ago that she intended to die on November 1st.  Many people believe she made this announcement to make people aware that only 5 states offer euthanasia and that it is too cruel to allow people to die painfully. Most opponents (people who are against euthanasia) are against it for religious reasons. They believe that a person should live as long as his/her body holds out and that this is God's 'will' or choice.

Do you believe a person has the right to die if he/she has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and if that person is in horrible pain?  (If a person has the 'right' to do something this means the government should not stop a person from doing something - the person should have the ability to do something.)

Here is an interesting article about this situation:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/brittany-maynard-died-oregon-death-dignity-act-family-article-1.1996762

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

terminally ill - a bus terminal is the last stop on a bus line, so a terminal represents something final; therefore a terminal illness is an illness which represents the end of a person's life

death with dignity - dignity is a difficult word to define. If you treat a person with dignity, you treat the person well - you act in a respectful manner toward the person.  So if a person wants to die with 'dignity' this person wants to be respected as he/she dies, the person does not want people to see him/her suffer or crying etc.  Personally, I don't think this term should be used in regard to euthanasia because it implies that people who do suffer as they die do not have 'dignity', which is not true.

an advocate - someone who speaks out for something, someone who tries to convince or influence others in regard to something. So this woman was trying to convince others that euthanasia is a good thing.

renewed a national debate - she caused people in the USA to discuss this topic of euthanasia again

lethal - deadly

to delay - to put off, to wait a bit longer

a stroke - this is when blood can't get to the brain and a person often dies from it or can no longer use part of his/her body

a symptom - something that indicates a person has a disease. Symptoms of the flu are a headache, runny nose, fever etc.

abbreviate - shorten

a bucket list - there is an expression in English: to kick the bucket.  This means: to die.  So a bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you die.

in the spotlight - famous, well known, the center of attention

publicizing - using newspapers and the internet to let people know of something

prescribed by - if a doctor gives you medicine, he usually writes out a prescription

vitality - liveliness, being energetic

a controversy - an issue that causes people to disagree

to be opposed to something - against something, not in favor of s/t

an objection - if you have an objection to something you feel that thing is wrong and you say so

to contemplate - to think about

hastened - made to happen faster

invading - coming into forcefully

of sound mind - not crazy

to administer it - to give it

median age - the age right in the middle; so if we see this list of numbers 3,5,7,8,9, 7 would be the median number.

to track - to follow, to keep records of, to keep track of 

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