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Las Vegas Criminal Defense

Euthanasia: Suicide Or Death With Dignity?


Across the country, only a handful of states permit someone with a terminal illness to end their own life with the help of a physician or family member.  Nevada is not one of them.  In the event a loved one is suffering through their final weeks and months in a body that is riddled with cancer or another deadly disease, to supply life-ending drugs is essentially murder.  Despite debate in the Nevada legislature year after year, no bill has yet been signed into law giving medical professionals the ability to prescribe or loved ones the ability to administer the medications that could ease the agony of a loved one wishing to ease out of this life.

Death with Dignity 

While many view modern aid-in-dying legislation in America as an immoral assist to suicide, others believe that giving terminally ill patients the right to make their own decisions about when and how they wish to die is essential to maintaining dignity and grace during the most difficult of times.  Unlike others who choose to die by suicide, these individuals would prefer to live!  Since they cannot, some believe they should be able to end their lives in a peaceful, painless way.

Euthanasia—Mercy Killing—Murder?

Patients in Nevada may refuse life-saving measures or medications with no penalties to those providing the medical services.  This form of passive voluntary euthanasia can result in significant discomfort, however, as patients slowly wither away.  For that reason, there are patients who would prefer active voluntary euthanasia—or the opportunity to receive medications such as high doses of pain killers, to speed up the dying process.  Again, although there are those who might believe such assistance is pure mercy, others view it as murder. The infamous Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who assisted over 100 patients in euthanasia, ultimately landed himself a second-degree murder conviction.  Some of the cases in which he was involved revolved around patients with depression, not terminal illness.

Penalties for Second-Degree Murder in Nevada 

A murder that occurs due to what is legally referred to as a reckless disregard for human life—second-degree murder—is a felony that could result in life behind bars, with parole eligibility after 10 years.

On the other hand, involuntary manslaughter is a charge handed down in cases where one’s risky actions led to a fatal outcome that might have been otherwise avoided.  Manslaughter penalties may result in a little as one to four years in prison, in addition to possible fines.

Defending the Defensible 

The decision to participate in euthanasia on behalf of someone who is suffering is undoubtedly a devastatingly difficult challenge.  For those who come down on the side of assisting a terminally ill patient, there is no question about the need for a vigorous, impassioned defense.  At Lobo Law, our experienced Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers are prepared to fight with everything we’ve got.  To discuss your situation, schedule a confidential consultation in our Las Vegas office today.

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