Debates Over Human Euthanasia

I am confused this week by the conflicting stories in the news. Just what is human euthanasia? When is it justified? Who qualifies for it?

Much press was given to the botched execution of the Oklahoma killer where the 3-drug lethal injection protocol failed.  I had a very hard time understanding how physicians or drug companies in charge of allotting the dose of the cocktail could not get it correct?  Instructions are available over the internet. And who did they have inserting the needle that they could not determine it was in the vein?  Or did the person who gave the injection push a large amount of drugs and blow the vein?  What kind of people were in charge here?

The second item of concern was the prescription for hospice drugs giving the formula: morphine+roxonol+elderly = death.  You may add some lorazepam or Ativan to the formula if you are agitated. End of life issues surrounding the use of morphine for pain relief by hospice is either categorized as euthanasia or a license to kill.  The chat rooms are filled with stories that will make you extremely nervous about hospice.

The last story was of a 21 month old young child in Corpus Christi, TX who had no chance of recovery from a brain injury that required a risky surgery. She didn’t come back and she was in total organ failure, was left a quadriplegic, and had failing kidneys.  She had less than a 4 percent chance of living 12 months. The family agreed that it was best to remove life support.

That means, in Texas, the removal of her feeding tube and a slow and deliberate death. Nine days the family had to watch.

Euthanasia is a slippery slope but what kind of society is concerned over whether a criminal ends his life in a humane way, but would allow a small child to suffer for 9 days?  Who decides what dose of morphine a dying patient should have to ease their pain from this life to the next?

Many of our laws must change. The realization that multiple states have already had this discussion and implemented help for patients and families must be considered. What do you think?Image


  • Marilyn Sackett, MEd, RT(R), FASRT

    Marilyn Sackett is passionate about mentoring and education. She has experience establishing and teaching at the colligate level, she was a Director of Imaging for a large healthcare system in the Texas Medical Center, and she led the charge to improve radiation protection and licensure in the state of Texas, to this day she holds license #1 for radiology in the state. A former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award winner and a Fellow of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, Marilyn is a pioneer in radiology education.

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