The Debate Surrounding Physician-Assisted Suicide Essay

:: 7 Works Cited
Length: 1681 words (4.8 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Physician-assisted suicide is the practice in which a doctor prescribes a terminally ill patient with a lethal medication as a form of active, voluntary euthanasia. These patients, rather than suffer slowly and painfully, often request this procedure as a means of experiencing a more “dignified” death. The debate surrounding this issue is a heated one, especially among the general public whose attitudes are deeply influenced by the level of patient pain and discomfort (Frileux et al. 334). At the heart of the issue is the conflict between a patient’s right to choose between life and death and, as expressed by one social scientist, “society’s obligation to protect its most vulnerable members from hastened and not completely voluntary death” (Ardelt 424). The healthcare field acknowledges the role of medical technology, which has extended the lifetime of many patients through life support therapies like feeding tubes and dialysis, in creating a lower quality of life characterized by an agonizingly prolonged and costly dying (Martin 54). This phenomenon has made physician-assisted suicide a highly relevant and compelling issue today. But, while some defend physician-assisted suicide as a form of medical autonomy for the terminally ill, others contend that such voluntary euthanasia is too extreme a solution for most situations and improvement in patient and palliative care is a more acceptable option and would help maintain the patient-doctor relationship. The purpose of this literature review is to present these scholarly perspectives in an attempt to provide a relatively expansive overview of the attitudes relating to physician-assisted suicide in the medical community, with an eye to how they compare with public opinion.
In “Eu...

... middle of paper ...

...anasia acceptable?." Journal of Medical Ethics. 29.6 (2003): 330-6. Print.
Martin, Brian J. "Techniques to pass on: technology and euthanasia." Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society. 30.1 (2010): 54-9. Web. 28 Oct. 2011. .
Martyn, Susan, and Henry Bourguigon. "Physician’s Decisions About Patient Capacity: The Trojan Horse of Physician-Assisted Suicide." Psychology, Public Policy and Law. 6. (2000): 1-13. Print.
Momeyer, Richard A. "Does Physician Assisted Suicide Violate the Integrity of Medicine?." Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 20.1 (1995): 13-24. Print. .
Twycross, Robert J. "Euthanasia-aphysician's viewpoint." Journal of Medical Ethics. 8.2 (1982): 86-95. Web. 28 Oct. 2011. .

Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

This essay is 100% guaranteed.

Title Length Color Rating  
The Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide Essay - Support for the participation of physicians in the suicides of terminally ill patients is increasing. Much of the controversy surrounding physician-assisted suicide however focuses on the debate over whether the practice should be legalized. A woman suffering from cancer became the first person known to die under the law of physician-assisted suicide in March of 1998. In 1994, voters in Oregon approved a referendum called the Death with Dignity Act, which was enacted in 1997. This law allows patients who have been given six months or less to live that wish to hasten their deaths to obtain lethal doses of medication prescribed by two doctors....   [tags: terminally ill patients, euthanasia, dignity]
:: 7 Works Cited
2382 words
(6.8 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
Rebutting Arguments to Legalize Euthanasia or Assisted Suicide Essay - Rebutting Arguments to Legalize Euthanasia or Assisted Suicide      This essay focuses on several of the most common arguments in favor of the legalization of euthanasia or assisted suicide - and rebuts them. The language is simple, or, as they say, in layman's terms so as to be easily understandable. The sources are from professional journals, internet websites, and news outlets.   The first common argument favoring euthanasia or assisted suicide is this: "Since euthanasia and assisted suicide take place anyway, isn't it better to legalize them so they'll be practiced under careful guidelines and so that doctors will have to report these activities?" That sounds good but it doesn't wor...   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]
:: 8 Works Cited
1719 words
(4.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Physician Assisted Suicide Essay - The practice of assisted suicide is not a modern phenomenon. In ancient Greece, the government gave hemlock to those who wanted it. William Shakespeare memorialized the Roman practice in Julius Caesar by depicting Brutus running into the sword held by Strato (Egendorf). While physician assisted suicide is not a new concept the moral debate surrounding euthanasia in America has certainly been brought to the forefront in the last thirty years with the advancements of modern medicine. The direct effects of such a rapid increase in medical science is the prolonging of a human's life span....   [tags: Euthanasia Essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
967 words
(2.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay The Euthanasia Debate - Humans, like all animals, attempt to evade death. Though death is usually seen as an unwanted end, some see it as an alternative to suffering. Most people cringe at the thought of suicide, but is euthanasia the same thing. Do human beings have the right to choose death? “Americans have developed a paradoxical relationship with death-we know more about the causes and conditions surrounding death, but we have not equipped ourselves emotionally to cope with dying and death (Bender and B. Leone).” Death is a scary subject for all humans....   [tags: Assisted Suicide, Right to Die]
:: 8 Works Cited
1300 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on The Ethical Dilemma of Assisted Suicide for Nurses - The Code of Ethics for Nurses was created to be a guide for nurses to perform their duties in a way that is abiding with the ethical responsibilities of the nursing profession and quality in nursing care. The Code of Ethics has excellent guidelines for how nurses should behave, however; these parameters are not specific. They do not identify what is right and wrong, leaving nurses having to ultimately make that decision. Ethics in nursing involves individual interpretation based on personal morals and values....   [tags: suffering, dignified, morals] 863 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Physician Assisted Suicide Essays - Assisted Suicide Physician assisted suicide, also known as right to die has become a hot button issue within the last twenty years. The reason behind the interest is because in the “land of the free” known as America, that promotes independence and personal rights; it seems quite regressive to many to deny a person their right to die. After the 1997 Supreme Court decision which declined to nationally recognize assisted suicide, Chief Justice William Rehquist stated this issue best when he said we are “engaged in an earnest and profound debate about the morality, legality and practicality of physician assisted suicide as it should in a democratic society”(Karim Paragraph 10)....   [tags: pain, suffering, right to die]
:: 5 Works Cited
1112 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Euthanasia Debate Essay - Euthanasia is defined as the painless killing of a terminally ill patient by means of lethal injection by a doctor in a controlled medical environment. Similarly, physician assisted suicide (PAS) is when a patient requests a lethal prescription from a doctor or pharmacist to end their life before a fatal disease does. The two are akin to each other and are almost interchangeable in definitions. Being a highly controversial topic, there is a plethora of arguments surrounding PAS, all very emotionally driven and opinionated....   [tags: Pros and Cons of Assisted Suicide]
:: 4 Works Cited
1219 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Physician-Assisted Suicide: A Case Study Analysis Essay - Physician-Assisted Suicide: A Case Study Analysis There are many legal and ethical issues when discussing the topic of physician-assisted suicide (PAS). The legal issues are those regarding numerous court cases over the past few decades, the debate over how the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution comes into play, and the legalization vs. illegalization of this practice. The 14th Amendment states, “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (U.S....   [tags: ethical, dying, terminal illness] 1833 words
(5.2 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Essay - Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide There has been much debate over euthanasia and assisted suicide with no agreement in sight. Currently Oregon is the only state that allows euthanasia and assisted suicide in the United States. Like all questions involving the projection of personal beliefs upon the fate of an entire population, this is an issue that may never be resolved. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are methods people may take to end their lives either on their own with lethal prescriptions from physicians, or under the care of a doctor or assistant with various methods, lethal injection and the "pulling of the plug" on life support machines being the most commo...   [tags: Papers] 759 words
(2.2 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
The Truth about Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Essays - The Truth about Euthanasia      Euthanasia news apparently sells big in the media. Barred from conducting an on-camera interview with Jack Kevorkian in prison, ABC News is waging a court battle against the Michigan Department of Corrections; they have refused a request from the ABC program "20/20" to let Barbara Walters interview Kevorkian. Corrections invoked a state prisons policy that took effect last March, barring TV crews except for stock footage and scenes of inmates taking part in prison activities....   [tags: Free Euthanasia Essay]
:: 4 Works Cited
1226 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]