A Vulnerable Population

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Identification of Controversial Health-Related Issue Affecting a Vulnerable Population Across the United States, thousands of patients are diagnosed with a terminal illness and given a prognosis of less than six months to live. In 2015, it is projected by the American Cancer Society, that about 600,000 people will die from cancer (ACS, 2015). The term terminal illness refers to a disease, infection, or illness that is incurable resulting in death. Residents of California who are facing terminal diseases do not have the option to end their lives when they decide it is too painful to continue living. Treatments can cause unbearable painful and deteriorate the quality of life, and patients report they lose their sense of autonomy. In today’s …show more content…
Currently, patients facing a terminal illness spend their final days either at home, at a hospital or in hospice care. A terminally ill patient’s treatment may be based on their insurance. After treatment options have been exhausted, there are not many options left for the terminally ill. Terminally ill may either receive aggressive treatment, palliative care, or pain control. However, there is no way of knowing how a terminally ill patient’s last days will be. Consequently, many terminally ill people suffer pain and agony. Every patient’s experience with a terminally illness is different. There is no case that is the same, which can make this a complicated …show more content…
This requires them to have the assistance of a caregiver or nurse and suffer humiliations while having their personal privacy invaded. Individuals are not able to make their own decisions regarding their life anymore when they reach this point. Furthermore, hospitalization and care can be quite expensive and it does not save a person’s life. A person with a terminal illness may outlive their prognosis to live past six months, but that does not mean they will not die. Individuals with health insurance can be kept alive through medical technology that costs thousands a day (CBS News). It is profitable for hospitals and doctors to admit patients. While it costs thousands of dollars, insurance companies cannot deny treatment based upon cost (Medicare, 2012). Being kept alive through medical technology is not necessarily comfortable to patients (Pearlman, 2004). In spite of this, patients either get assistance through medical technology or live out their final days in pain. By allowing individuals to have a decision on how they want their end of life to be, it will allow patients to have control on how their final days should be. It is a case of individual’s rights to retain their autonomy. Hallenbeck (2013) reports that in Oregon, it is reported that those who seek to end their lives through medication do it, because they no longer have their autonomy (Compassion and Choices, 2013). Policy

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