APY421 Essay 3 - Sarah Jordan APY 421 December 9 2010 Essay...

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Sarah Jordan December 9, 2010 APY 421 Essay 3 Throughout the years, culture and technology has changed the definition of death and has made it difficult to define when death takes place. In the past, a person was viewed as dead when there was no heartbeat. In recent years, this definition has changed to include brain activity as an important factor in determining death. This has only brought about more questions concerning what death is or isn’t and how far one will go to preserve their own life. Death is now defined by society and politics and has become a controversial debate by many. Dying in America is a very political process. The United States government believes it has the right to say who lives and who dies. They have the power to wage war and kill hundreds of thousands if they believe it will benefit their country or help an inferior society; they may pose the death sentence on someone they deem worth of it. The government has legal power over if a person should die, how they should die, what should be done with the corpse, and so on. As much as Americans like to believe they have liberties over their own death, most do not. In recent years, death has been impossible to define. No doctor or government official can find evidence on what is truly considered dead; is someone who is unconscious but still functioning alive? Or what about someone who cannot function without medical machines, but still has brain activity? In most cases, we like to be optimistic and hope the person will recover. Doctors and court systems believe that keeping a person alive as long as possible is their first priority, forgetting about the quality of life and the decision of the person who is dying.
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As the courts’ say, there is no constitutional right to die. People feel the need to be in control of their own death or the death of their loved ones. As much as they believe they have the power to choose death over life, politics steps in and interferes. The Terri Schiavo case was a legal battle that lasted years between her husband and her parents about whether or not doctors should pull the plug. Doctors said there was no hope of recovery from the vegetative state she was in for the past fifteen years. The husband believed that she would not have wanted to live like this, and requested they remove her feeding tube and allow her to die. Terri’s parents stepped in stating that she still had some life left and fought that pulling the plug would kill their daughter. President George W. Bush also got involved, signing a legislation to keep Terri alive. After all attempts and appeals were unsuccessful though, Terri’s tubes were removed under court orders.
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