Physician assisted suicide
"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
Physician assisted suicide
Is Physician-Assisted Suicide A Solution ?
Physician assisted suicide (PAS) is a very important issue. It is also important tounderstand the terms and distinction between the varying degrees to which a person can be involved in hastening the death of a terminally ill individual. Euthanasia, a word that is often associated with physician assisted suicide, means the act or practice of killing for reasons of mercy. Assisted suicide takes place when a dying person who wishes to precipitate death, requests help in carrying out the act. In euthanasia, the dying patients may or may not be aware of what is happening to them and may or may not have requested to die. In an assisted suicide, the terminally ill person wants to die and has specifically asked for help. Physician-assisted suicide occurs when the individual assisting in the suicide is a doctor rather than a friend or family member. Because doctors are the people most familiar with their patients’ medical condition and have knowledge of and access to the necessary means to cause certain death, terminally ill patients who have made
the decision to end their lives often turn to their physicians for advice. However, studies indicate that many physicians are unwilling to provide their assistance in suicide because it conflicts with their ethical beliefs and because it is illegal. The legalization of PAS is a sensitive, yet complicated, topic which is becoming more and more popular with America’s aging population and the terminally ill patients. PAS is a social issue which is here to stay. The legalization of PAS is continually being debated all over the United States and offers a potential for abuse. In 1994, PAS laws of Washington and New York were challenged in federal court and declared unconstitutional. Physician assisted suicide should not be legalized in any state.
As society must understand, PAS is challenged for several reasons.
First of all, the “Right-To-Die” group and the Hemlock Society contend that terminally ill individuals have the right to end their own lives in some instances, and because PAS is illegal, many patients are unable to get the help necessary to terminate their lives and must involuntarily endure the extreme pain and suffering of their diseases. Others argue that PAS must be legalized for purposes of regulation. They contend that in spite of current law, the practice is conducted regularly in secrecy, therefore the potential for abuse already exists. Legalization with medical record documentation and reporting requirements will enable authorities to regulate the practice and guard against abuses while punishing the real offenders. Also, supporters strongly suggest that laws banning PAS do not save lives, but rather, they cruelly prolong deaths. Despite the reasons which lead some to believe PAS should be a viable alternative, it should not be legalized.
First of all, one reason to oppose the legalization of PAS laws is that it is morally wrong. No person has the right to assist in the taking of other’s lives. Only God has the power for terminating human life. Therefore, those who believe in God know that they must not prevent their destinies by ending their lives because if one believes in God then they know that He will keep one safe in his arms for all time.Furthermore, a second reason to oppose physician assisted suicide is because it will pervert the medical profession. Not only will the doctor-patient relationship be severely damaged, but the image of doctors as healers be transformed. People will view them as technical dispensers of death. The Hippocratic Oath which is the traditional standard pledge of those in medicine expressly prohibits assisted suicide, stating : “I will not give poison to anyone though asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a plan” (Foster n.p.). So, it seems fair to say that Hippocrates at least implicitly accepted the idea of a distinction between killing and allowing to die. Jack Kevorkian, “Doctor Death” is a good example of a technical dispenser of death. He is the most famous physician on the planet who makes a living by helping others commit suicide (Alper n.p.).
If PAS is legalized then there will be more “Doctor Deaths” in this world, which certainly is not necessary.Ultimately, the most powerful reason to oppose PAS is that
View Full Essay
Euthanasia, Medical ethics, Disability rights, Suicide methods, Assisted suicide, Right to die, Jack Kevorkian, Suicide, Voluntary euthanasia, Assisted suicide in the United States
More Free Essays Like This