Gloria Taylor Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

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Another issue that is present with the current requirements to apply for physician-assisted death is that individuals are able to be in a negative state of mind when they request this assistance. Golden & Zoanni (2010) state that “people with disabilities frequently go through initial despondency and suicidal feelings but later adapt well and find great satisfaction in their lives” (p.21). The initial phase of distress that may accompany the onset of a disability or illness is often related to the sudden life changes an individual must withstand. Since our society is so rooted in the belief that “the lives of those with disabilities are inherently bad, unfulfilled or partial, and lack dignity” (Behuniak, 2011, p.27) many individuals who want …show more content…
Gloria Taylor was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and after a mere four days of being diagnosed by her neurologist, she had already begun to formulate a plan to get assistance in ending her life (CBC News, 2012). After petitioning the Supreme Court of British Colombia to allow her to die with the assistance of a physician for one year, Gloria Taylor became the first Canadian to be granted an exemption from the law that prohibited individuals from receiving physician-assisted death. However, while evaluating the decision to allow Taylor to acquire physician-assisted death, the Supreme Court of British Colombia failed to assess the mental condition of the …show more content…
Due to the severity of the outcome associated with physician-assisted death, it should be standard for courts to conduct a psychiatric evaluation of the litigant challenging the law to ensure that they are not in a negative mental state. Radtke (2005) stated in his paper that “people with illness and disability are statistically more likely to have feelings of suicide, especially in the early period after the onset of a significant disability because of psychological issues, such as feeling like a burden on family and fear about future loss of function as associated with increases in disability” (p.58). With that being said it is important for courts to recognize that many individuals who are petitioning for the right to physician-assisted suicide may be experiencing some degree of psychological distress that is associated with their wish end their lives and that they should be awarded psychological counselling during the time of their psychological hardship.
Before her passing, Taylor mentioned to CBC News (2012) “it was a really rude awakening. I sat in the parking lot for over an hour, just numb. I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t even cry” (para.13). This passage said by the late Gloria Taylor speaks volumes

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