The Controversial Issue Of Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

The Controversial Issue Of Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

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Ethics, as defined by most, is the area of study that attempts to define what is considered morally right or wrong. Biomedical ethics is an extension of this, solely focusing on the morality of the values and judgments applied in the health care profession. There are many topics included in biomedical ethics, including abortion, informed consent, and research methods. Here, the controversial issue of physician-assisted suicide and whether or not it is morally right is discussed.
Physician-assisted suicide (PAS for short) is arguably one of the most, if not the most, controversial topics in ethics. It is so controversial that countries that share the same moral and philosophical foundations as the United States of America, such Western Europe and some parts of Eastern Europe, have come to vastly different conclusions and have created very dissimilar rules and laws in this area. Physician-assisted suicide, commonly confused with euthanasia, is the act of suicide committed by a patient using a physician’s knowledge, whether that be a prescription for a drug or indication of a lethal dose. However, euthanasia is different. In euthanasia, the physician performs the act of ending a life. In physician-assisted suicide, the physician aids in the act by usually prescribing a lethal drug, while the patient is the one willingly taking his or her own life. The process of determining whether or not to permit physician-assisted suicide has been an ongoing dispute, so far only being legalized in five states including Oregon, a state which has been receiving a large amount of attention from the media due to their, ‘Death With Dignity’ act.
Paternalism is a word often thrown around in the field of ethics, more specifically biomedical ethics. Pat...


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...ssisted suicide would drastically halt these financial burdens of these relatives. Having the patient 's family leave with the least amount of worry and sorrow possible would be in the best interest of the terminally ill patient. Further, if physician-assisted suicide were to be legalized, it would also help to regulate the social norms and practice of it. “Legalization, with medical record documentation and reporting requirements, will enable authorities to regulate the practice and guard against abuses…”(Smith 409).
The right to physician-assisted suicide should be freely granted upon those who are terminally sick. This right would allow them to pass with dignity and without pain, and also save their loved ones from financial debt. To give capable, terminally sick patients this right is to give them the freedom to end their life without pain and without suffering.

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