Wield Your Statistics

They’re tools.

Statistics without direction and velocity are useless. They’re a bag of balls, or a rack of bats, blunt as a hockey puck or flabby as an under-inflated football. Pick your own silly analogy, but remember this: having them is pointless if you don’t know how to use them.

We all handle them differently.

Batting Stance
NOBODY ELSE HANDLES A BAT LIKE KEVIN YOUKILIS

Among the many approaches for handling statistics, you’ll find one that makes you comfortable, but some essentials are common to all good writers: they face forward, adopt a comfortable stance, stare down the opposition, deliver with confidence, and know how to use spin.

My number is a good number.

Readers need to be told how your number compares to the range of possible numbers. The statistic by itself means nothing until you place it into context.

Half Glass

  • A full 50%
  • As high as 50%
  • Has improved to 50%
  • Proud to announce we have achieved 50%
  • At 50%, the perfect balance

My number is a bad number.

Except for experts in the field of your endeavor, your readers are at your mercy to interpret the value of the numbers you share. They count on you to guide them to an understanding of the importance of the evidence you share.

Half Glass

  • A mere 50%
  • As low as 50%
  • Has sunk to 50%
  • Regret to admit we have achieved only 50%
  • At 50%, an awful compromise

Real-life example.

Michelle Obama on her book tour is talking frankly about infertility. The news announcer putting Obama’s miscarriage and subsequent worries into context shared these facts:

  • Approximately 10% of American women between 18 and 45 who attempt to conceive experience infertility to some degree.
  • The percentage is higher for African-American women.

I have no idea whether those numbers are higher or lower than I should have expected, and the announcer was no help. She could have USED the statistics in any of several ways to help me understand.

MichellePregnant

One of these is worthless.

Though these sentences are contradictory and entirely fictional, each serves a rhetorical purpose. Find the useless sentence and pledge to purge any like it from your work.

  1. Modern medicine and Americans’ overall health have reduced the infertility rate to 10% for American women, though sadly the rate is higher for African-Americans.
  2. Shockingly, the infertility rate for African-American women between 18 and 45 is higher than for women in many of the wealthiest African countries.
  3. The infertility rate has skyrocketed to 10% for all American women 18 to 45, even higher for African-Americans.
  4. 10% of American women between 18 and 45—more for African-Americans—who attempt to conceive experience infertility to some degree.
  5. Though African-Americans lag behind by a few points, American women who wish to become pregnant have achieved a remarkable 90% fertility rate.

Open Strong — Wisemann101

Physician-assisted suicide is a situation where the physician assists the patient to end his/her life due to an uncontrollable health condition. When a patient is suffering a chronic disease, which cannot be healed at a particular time or cannot heal completely can request a specific prescription of drugs to end his life to avoid much-prolonged pain. In the scenario, the doctor intends to hasten the dying process of the patient knowingly (Copeland, 87). Sometimes the condition is commonly referred to as euthanasia, but it is different. Some laws and regulations have been set to address the issue of whether physician-assisted suicide is valid and lawful or not. There should be some palliative care and trials in all means before assisting the patient to die. This death shortcut should be the last alternative when all sorts of palliative care have failed to bear fruits (Copeland, 87). Some people have argued that patients have a right for physician-assisted death (PAD); they imply that patients should be allowed to decide what they wish to happen to their lives. This essay analyses the causal and effect relationship that will result in the case of granting people the rights to physician-assisted suicide.

 

 

Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) as part of euthanasia is one of the oldest points of contention in medical ethics. The original Hippocratic Oath forbids it, and many religions and societal traditions have rejected it since antiquity. In physician-assisted suicide, a suffering or terminally ill patient is aided by a certified health practitioner to get access to a lethal dose that the patient then administers on themselves. If the patient is incapable of doing so, they can request the physician to administer the lethal substance to end the patient’s life. The practice of physician-assisted suicide continues to raise debate as only five American states, a handful of European Countries and Colombia permit some form of doctor-assisted suicide. Even though many governments and organizations do not formally accept physician-assisted suicide as a standard medical practice due to ethical concerns, they should adopt it because it is a show of respect to individual civil liberties as provided by the right of every individual to choose what is best for them without government or societal interference.

Robust Verbs — Wisemann101

Original Paragraph:

There is a huge problem in Vancouver with heroin addicts committing crimes to support their habits. The “free heroin for addicts” program is doing everything they can to stop the addicts. The problem is that there is a large crime rate due to the addicts. It is obvious that addicts have a hard time getting through their day to day lives. Daily activities such as jobs, interactions, and relationships are hard to maintain because of the fact that they are using. By heroin users being addicted, they will do whatever they have to do to get their hands on the drug. The types of crimes committed are those of breaking and entering as well as stealing. There are no limits to where they will go to retrieve this drug so that they can feed their addiction. The problem with this program is that it won’t help to ween these addicts off using heroin. It is only trying to save the city from rising crime rates that they’re up to. By providing the drug, these addicts will be off the streets, which in turn will prevent them from committing minor street crimes. This will also keep the heroin users out of the hospital. It is pointless that the hospitals have to deal with people that want to use bad drugs or unsanitary needles and find themselves being unable to afford hospital bills and hard to cope without the drug. This program gives people free heroin in the cleanest way possible. This will in turn fix the city  but not the addiction that these people face.

Revised Paragraph:

Heroin becomes a negative ultimate in Vancouver. The crime rate within the city increases, so as heroin addicts to crime ratio. The number one priority for heroin addicts is the fuel their addiction and they accomplish that by committing crimes. There is a program called ” free heroin for addicts” that provides free dosages for addicts. The objectives of the program is to limit the number of addicts in the hospitals. For some, the negative part is that this program does not cure but keeps addicts to be addicted.

Enough About You — Wisemann101

Money seems to have a big role in society; one can’t do much or get far if they don’t have any. Money is valuable in different ways, even when people don’t see it physically. In today’s society, faith must be present in the government and in the banking system that people’s money is being handled in the proper manner; if not, then the money should be hidden under the mattress or around the house. We have no clue what happens in the banks, or how the money being taken care of. We always thought money was simple; people either have some or they don’t—that’s it. However, being introduced to this assignment, the Yap Fei, US gold, French francs, Brazilian cruzeros, and debit accounts now seem similar. People don’t actually see their money being transferred. When people get paid, they aren’t handed cash, a physical check isn’t received, the money’s all directly transferred to the bank account, and peoplejust have to trust that they got more money.

Rebuttal — Wisemann101

Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) as part of euthanasia is one of the oldest points of contention in medical ethics. The original Hippocratic Oath forbids it, and many religions and societal traditions have rejected it since antiquity. In physician-assisted suicide, a suffering or terminally ill patient is aided by a certified health practitioner to get access to a lethal dose that the patient then administers on themselves. If the patient is incapable of doing so, they can request the physician to administer the lethal substance to end the patient’s life. The practice of physician-assisted suicide continues to raise debate as only five American states, a handful of European Countries and Colombia permit some form of doctor-assisted suicide. Even though many governments and organizations do not formally accept physician-assisted suicide as a standard medical practice due to ethical concerns, they should adopt it because it is a show of respect to individual civil liberties as provided by the right of every individual to choose what is best for them without government or societal interference.

Although physician-assisted suicide can be regarded as a sound practice, there are valid arguments against its application. First, the constitution recognizes the right to life, and when life and death are compared, life will take precedence (Sommerville, 2014). Allowing physician-assisted dying is a contradiction of the first liberty. It is also possible that legislating doctor-assisted suicide will be the first step on a slippery slope that will involve threats to the vulnerable as premature death is enacted as a cheap alternative for palliative care. This is true when one considers that a dose of euthanasia costs an upward of $50 and kidney failure treatment may cost an upward of $89,000 per year in the US (Steck, Egger, Maessen, Reisch, & Zwahlen, 2013). Unproductive and poor citizens will be targeted and this, again, goes against the right of every American to access quality healthcare. For some people, the contention is absolute and moral. Life is sacred and the suffering that comes with it till one dies confers its dignity and consequently, deliberately ending a human life is wrong (Sommerville, 2014). Finally, how long will it take before physician-assisted suicide becomes involuntary? When relatives approach a 92-year old man on life support and request them to sign the physician-assisted suicide forms, is that not indirectly violating their rights as they have no choice?

The views that physician-assisted dying is immoral and strips human dignity deserves some seriousness but, isn’t autonomy and liberty critical sources of human dignity as well? The right to choose certainly adds value to human life and people should not take a myopic view of ethics without analyzing the laws that make these ethics possible. In the society we live in where the state and religion are separated, it is queer to support the sanctity of life abstractly by exposing particular individuals to unbearable pain, suffering and indignity that comes from some terminal conditions (Denton, Levett, Bradley, & Thoma, 2016). Furthermore, evidence from countries and states where physician-assisted suicide has been enacted shows that the slippery slope contention with regard to widespread physician-assisted suicide is a myth. In the Netherlands for example, Gopal (2015) says that the process of doctor-assisted dying is bureaucratic and highly complex meaning that most applicants are rejected until it is established beyond reasonable doubt that the request is voluntary and will do more good than good. The Netherlands treats physician-assisted suicide as a criminal act if not carried out in the presence of an ethics expert, a legal expert, and the doctor. This implies that strict controls are needed, not blatant rejection, to ensure that this right is protected and not abused.

The argument that life should take precedence over death does not hold water when analyzed from an individual’s rights perspective. Just as people have the right to live with dignity, they also have a right to die with dignity. Medical practice is supposed to alleviate pain and unnecessary suffering in patients (Hoxhaj, 2014). Take the example of a single mother of teenage children having stage four cancer. Undergoing chemotherapy means that her hair falls off even as she consistently vomits while enduring the extreme pain that her children are supposed to watch as they take care of her. Presently, the medical technology we have cannot do any better than chemotherapy and radiotherapy to treat cancer (which generally cannot restore health in stage four cancer) and in the case of this mother, the continuing suffering only robs her of her dignity and those of her children. With physician-assisted suicide, such patients and their families get a right to a dignified end.

Anti-physician assisted suicide proponents argue that death is a natural process that should not be interfered with (Sommerville, 2014). However, doctors have and continue to implicitly exercise the right of dying on the patient’ behalf. Physician-assisted suicide fixes this by recognizing the individual civil liberty of the patient to choose and administer PAS. Doctors normally exercise this right by giving pain-relief in lethal doses or withdrawing treatment. As Steck, Egger, Maessen, Reisch, & Zwahlen (2013) notes, this is usually after talking to relatives, and even though doctors are normally investigated for overstepping this mark, they are rarely charged. Numerous people welcome this fudge given that it lays limits to PAS albeit with no need to articulate the contentious moral choices involved. This is unethical and unworkable given that the explicit choice to die that should be in the hands of a patient is left in the doctor’s hands. It is hypocritical and goes against the individual civil liberties as society pretends to shun PAS while tacitly and subtly allowing it without safeguards. Physician-assisted dying in its openness will fix this practice of deaths through nods and winks that contravenes individual rights.

The fear that physician-assisted suicide will be foisted on vulnerable individuals, bullied by rogue doctors, cash-strapped states, panicking relatives, and parsimonious insurers is unfounded. The Oregon experience, where a law allowing PAS has existed since 1997, points to the enhanced recognition of civil liberties (Gopal, 2015). Individuals who choose doctor-assisted dying are in fact insured, well-educated and getting the best palliative care. These individuals are motivated by the desire to maintain their own dignity, pleasure in life, autonomy, and the pain that comes with some conditions. These are factors that embody the civil liberties promise of most governments around the world.

In conclusion, physician-assisted dying is the ultimate protection of individual civil liberties in the ongoing euthanasia debate. Just as people have the right to life, they have a right to autonomy, happiness, and pleasure in life; elements that are guaranteed through the right to choose a dignified death that alleviates unnecessary suffering. Anti-PAS proponents suggest that it will open the doors to a slippery slope of forced death on vulnerable patients, but evidence from Netherlands and Oregon show that this is a myth if strict controls are in place. After all, the right to die for patients has for long been practiced by physicians and relatives on behalf of patients through the withdrawal of medication or prescription of pain medication. Physician-assisted suicide is fixing this subtle illegal practice by placing the right to die in the patient’s hands hence protecting civil liberties.

 

 

 

References

Denton, A., Levett, C., Bradley, S., & Thoma, L. (2016). Death and dignity: Why voluntary euthanasia is a question of choice. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal24(6), 18-23.

Gopal, A. A. (2015). Physician-Assisted Suicide: Considering the Evidence, Existential Distress, and an Emerging Role for Psychiatry. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law43(2), 183-190. Retrieved from http://jaapl.org/content/43/2/183

Hoxhaj, O. (2014). Euthanasia – The Choice between the Right to Life and Human Dignity. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies3(6), 279-284. doi:10.5901/ajis.2014.v3n6p279

Sommerville, M. A. (2014). Death talk: The case against euthanasia and physician-assisted Suicide (2nd Ed.). Sydney, Australia: McGill-Queen’s Press-MQUP.

Steck, N., Egger, M., Maessen, M., Reisch, T., & Zwahlen, M. (2013). Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Selected European Countries and US States. Medical Care51(10), 938-944. doi:10.1097/mlr.0b013e3182a0f427

Casual Argument– Wisemann101

Physician-assisted suicide is a situation where the physician assists the patient to end his/her life due to an uncontrollable health condition. When a patient is suffering a chronic disease, which cannot be healed at a particular time or cannot heal completely can request a specific prescription of drugs to end his life to avoid much-prolonged pain. In the scenario, the doctor intends to hasten the dying process of the patient knowingly (Copeland, 87). Sometimes the condition is commonly referred to as euthanasia, but it is different. Some laws and regulations have been set to address the issue of whether physician-assisted suicide is valid and lawful or not. There should be some palliative care and trials in all means before assisting the patient to die. This death shortcut should be the last alternative when all sorts of palliative care have failed to bear fruits (Copeland, 87). Some people have argued that patients have a right for physician-assisted death (PAD); they imply that patients should be allowed to decide what they wish to happen to their lives. This essay analyses the causal and effect relationship that will result in the case of granting people the rights to physician-assisted suicide.

    Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) can be caused by the fact that there is no available care for the victim patient. Then, this is not the fact; several palliative care strategies can be effectively utilized to ensure that lives of patients are prolonged rather than shortened. It is not something that can be advocated to have the patients’ lives shortened and yet there are care services that can be incorporated to assist patients to recover from acute suffering (Ardelt, 425). There are quality end-of-life programs available through many hospitals. The focus should not be whether to legalize and give patients a right to decide for their lives, but it should be aiming to provide services that guarantee life for patients. The emphasis should be trying to improve hospital care. There are more than 4000 hospital agencies in the United States, but due to regulations and strict laws and the rigidity nature of the Medicare hospital cover requirements patients to possess a life expectancy of six months or less, many people in the USA fail to access these services (Ardelt, 427). If the trend continues, then definitely there will be more PAS scenarios and people will be committed to fighting for their rights to die through physician-assisted method. In the US, there is excellent terminal care, which is readily available in many hospitals. Every individual in all states has access to hospital care when they require it. This is made available for people of all ages, either the elderly, children, rich, poor and even the mortal people. A significant number of individuals who die in the US die under the care and the umbrella of hospital premises (Ardelt, 429). The fact is not because there is no sufficient care in the US hospitals; it is not because, in America, terminally ill patients are beyond control, no, this is simply because PAS has been legalized by many states. Making the doctors lazy in the administration of required care, hence assisting patients to die early.  

    It is evident that at some point, PAS can be recommended for the patient who is terminally ill and experiencing acute pain, but still, we need to look at it adverse effect in the healthcare industry. There is a possibility that advocating for PAS will make many physicians to cause more harm than good. First, physician-assisted suicide is not the core aim of a doctor, professionally. The sole role of a physician is to support the good health of a patient and assist the patient as much as possible to ensure prolonged healthy life. Permitting PAS publicly will make the doctors lazy in the provision of quality palliative care services, which are aimed to support quality life (Boudreau, Donald & Margaret, 129). The situation of PAS should only be extended to the incompetent victims and other vulnerable conditions in particular populations (Ardelt, 434). The involvement of physicians in PAS raises the question of ethical medical practice. The physician should not assume that facilitating the death of a patient is a unique role, it is not something to recommend but to avoid at all cost.

    There are consequences associated with the legalization of PAS due to its effect on patient care management. First, advocating for physician-assisted suicide is not the fundamental role of doctors and nurses as a professional (Boudreau, Donald & Margaret, 129). The role of a physician is to use the skills and knowledge acquired to help patients recover, despite the pain or the condition the patient is going through. Facilitating early termination of life is equated like killing by intension. Secondly providing PAS prescriptions does not require any scientific expertise as compared to chemotherapy prescription, which demands a specific skill (Ardelt, 434). PAS provision is less expertise. The physician should nor present PAS prescriptions to the patient because the patients demand so. Instead, the physician should ensure those who are in pain are relived, and the measure of their health is preserved to help them bear the painful circumstance (Boudreau, Donald & Margaret, 137). The physician should be there for the patient to console, cure and relieve pain from the patient, not to prescribe faster possible means of terminating life.

    Another possible effect can be on the slippery slope whereby there is the legalization of PAS. The legislate and provide rights for the patient to terminate his life through the physician-assisted method can be very unfortunate to the patients. The legislation of PAS indicates that any terminal ill patient can be disposed to death; this scenario will lead to a demised life support and protection (Boudreau, Donald & Margaret, 145). The physicians will list this method as one way of caring for patients with chronic diseases like cancer. It is clear that the legalization justifies euthanasia. It should be noted that denial of euthanasia accords life its respect and sanctity.

In consideration of the effect that can be caused by the legislation of physician-assisted suicide, indeed the consequences are adverse. The result will be the reckless handling of terminally ill patients by doctors. Secondly, the value of life will be diminished in case a patient is terminally ill; physicians will not play their professional role of therapeutic services. Avoiding PAS will grant cancer patients and other terminal ill patients to survive through the available clinical care and protect their lives.

 

                    Reference 

Ardelt, Monika. “Physician-assisted death.” Handbook of death and dying 1 (2003): 424-434.

Boudreau, Donald J., and Margaret A. Somerville. “Physician-assisted Suicide Should Not Be

    Permitted: option 1.” The New England Journal of Medicine 368.15 (2013): 114-145.

Kopelman, Loretta M. “Does physician-assisted suicide promote liberty and compassion?.”

    Physician-Assisted Suicide: What are the Issues?. Springer, Dordrecht, 2001. 87-102.