But... What about Pain?
Pain can be a major reason for desiring death; therefore, a patient's family does well to demand good pain treatment for their loved one from a physician who is a specialist in pain management if at all possible. Few people need to die in extreme pain.
In controlling extreme, terminal pain the dosage of morphine, for example, which is required can be close to lethal. If that line is crossed in good faith that is one issue, but the possibility creates a situation where euthanasia can be performed insidiously but willfully and effectively. Because of the potential abuses and henceforth the legal implications, this puts physicians in a difficult position for which they need protection.
Another important aspect of pain management is the concern which some have over addiction to pain medication. Such a concern seems a little ridiculous if the patient is terminal or if the pain is completely immobilizing. Guidelines for physicians in these areas are vital, but at the same time they need enough flexibility and protection to function effectively. We can stop most pain. If we do not treat pain effectively, we give good ammunition to the proponents of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
If you are not satisfied with the level of pain management that you or your loved one is receiving, seek a second or third opinion, check out new techniques of pain relief, and look up information on the Internet, but be sure to limit your research to well known institutions and reputable sites.
(SOURCE: Before I Die by Elizabeth Ruth Skoglund, available from LFL)