Personally, I do not believe in assisted suicide. I believe that it’s immoral but in some cases, assisted suicide may be an alternative to eternal suffering.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian was an activist in the 1990s who believed that “dying is not a crime”. With his belief of having the right to die, he assisted more than 120 individuals with their suicides. For assisting with his patients' deaths, Dr. Kevorkian was charged with second degree murder and ultimately lost his medical license. With the mentioned case listed as an example, many physicians and others in the medical profession refuse to medically assist in a patient's suicide for fear of losing their license or being incarcerated. However, it may be beneficial to allow a person the right to die if they so choose.
There are many convincing and compelling arguments for and against Physician Assisted Suicide. There are numerous different aspects of this issue including religious, legal and ethical issues. However, for the purpose of this paper, I will examine the ethical concerns on both sides. There are strong pro and con arguments regarding this and I will make a case for both. It is definitely an issue that has been debated for years and will continue to be debated in years to come.
Justice, to most, is a type of fairness or equality that every individual is entitled to. In essence, an individual’s social status, income, or health status does not influence a patient’s care, but rather all individuals are treated fairly. Because every doctor accepts this virtue upon entering the field, physician assisted suicide is a topic that must be considered carefully. For example, patients who are ill have rights that include refusing treatment that may or may not lengthen the time they have left to live. When confronted with a diagnosis, patients are given various options to pursue, a decision independent of Physician’s wishes. Patients in these situations exercise their right make their own medication decisions. However, when the topic of physician assisted suicide is relevant, individuals suddenly view the option as cruel, or inhumane. It is important to understand that in order to consider this option, two physicians must agree that there is no other medical interventions that can help the individual. Likewise, if a patient insists on ending their life with the method of physician assisted suicide, they are ultimately choosing death only a short time before it would naturally
Braddok III Clarence H. MD MPH .” Physician aid-in-dying: Ethical topics in medicine” n.d University of Washington school of medicinestate death with dignity act” N.p n.d University of Washington department of bioethics and humanities 2009 web 24 March 2012
Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) is when a physician facilitates a patient’s death by providing the necessary means and/or information to enable the patient to perform the life-ending act, such as providing a lethal dose of medication and the information about the lethal dose (Opinion 2.211...). PAS is a very emotional and controversial topic in today’s world, as suicide attempts of those with terminal illnesses are increasing. Many have expressed different opinions when it comes to terminally ill patients and the ethical concerns tied to PAS. Terminally ill patients exhibit normal character and are of sound mind when making such a life threatening decision (Weir, 1997). Many countries and states have not been able to reach a decision
Oregon, the Netherlands, and Belgium are the only three jurisdictions in the world that permit assisted suicide and/or euthanasia. Oregon became the leader of the United States in assisted suicide, when the Oregon legislation passed the Death with Dignity Act in 1994, permitting “physicians to write prescriptions for a lethal dosage of medication to people with a terminal illness” (Department of Human Services). Oregon’s act specifies who is permitted to assist a terminally ill patient in their time of choosing between life and death. But in the event that the United States as a country legalized assisted suicide, who would determine which patients qualified as terminally ill, and who would be permitted to “assist” these “terminally ill” patients? With questions still arising as to how and who on a topic such as assisted suicide, one can only prohibit the action until all aspects have been considered, eliminating confusion.
You’re visiting the hospice for the twenty-third day in a row; the soft squeaking of the linoleum and the gentle buzz of the fluorescents in the waiting room greet you as you walk in. You’re visiting your Grandmother, whose lung cancer has entered metastasis, and has been slowly spreading throughout her body; she has already lost movement in her arms. She is a hollow shell of the woman she once was; her once bright eyes have been fading steadily every day, and her bubbly demeanor has become crushed and gravelly, and every day before you leave, she will only say, “Kill me.” What would you do in this situation? Would you break the law in order to respect your elder’s wishes? It is a cruel reality we live in when ability to choose the time of our demise, especially for terminal patients, is not seen as a personal right to be acted upon, but to be shunned as a taboo. This is why assisted-suicide, the contraction of a third-party to provide the materials necessary to commit suicide, should be legalized; it would allow both terminal and permanently disabled patients an escape from the mental, emotional, & physical pain of useless treatments, and impaired quality of life, in their final months.
Say, for instance, a high school boy the age of fifteen has an alcoholic father who abuses the boy’s mother. He might be bullied at school, and due to all the issues at home, is nasty to all his friends and loses them. His world is a dark cloud and depression starts to loom over him as well. It seems to him that there is no hope left in the world, and death is the only way out. The ultimate decision he wants to make right now is to die, but deep down he doesn’t really want his life to end - not if people cared, not if there was a point in time where he could be happy again. In reality, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and there is hope for him. Suicide is not illegal, but there is a possibility that assisted suicide (for his depression) could be legal. Imagine if he never reached the light and was allowed to die in the middle of the tunnel, never seeing a better life. Many patients just need consulting that they are still appreciated and wanted by the people in their lives, but doctors will sometimes put them to rest without letting them know they are still wanted and cared for. A letter from Jeanette Hall from King City, Oregon stated, “In 2000, I was diagnosed with cancer and told that I had six months to a year to live. I knew that our law had passed, but I didn’t know exactly how to go about doing it. I did not want to suffer, and I did not want to do radiation. I wanted Stevens to help me, but he didn’t really answer me.
My topic for the bioethics essay is assisted suicide. Assisted suicide is suicide committed with the aid of another person, sometimes even a physician. Assisted suicide is usually performed when a physician gives a patient the knowledge and skills to commit suicide. In most cases the physicians would provide lethal doses of drugs, and supplying the needed amount of those lethal drugs. The history of assisted suicide dates back all the way back to before the birth of Jesus Christ when people had a disagreement on whether people or doctors should be able to aid in the death of another human being. One of the most famous examples of assisted suicide is Jack “Doctor Death” Kevorkian with his own homemade assisted suicide machine.
Throughout the course of history, death and suffering have been a prominent topic of discussion among people everywhere. Scientists are constantly looking for ways to alleviate and/or cure the pain that comes with the process of dying. Treatments typically focus on pain management and quality of life, and include medication and various types of therapy. When traditional treatments are not able to eliminate pain and suffering or the promise of healing, patients will often consider euthanasia or assisted suicide. Assisted suicide occurs when a person is terminally ill and believes that their life is not worth living anymore. As a result of these thoughts and feelings, a physician or other person is enlisted to “assist” the patient in committing suicide. Typically this is done by administering a lethal overdose of a narcotic, antidepressant or sedative, or by combining drugs to create an adverse reaction and hasten the death of the sick patient. Though many people believe that assisted suicide is a quick and honorable way to end the sufferings of a person with a severe illness, it is, in fact, morally wrong. Assisted suicide is unethical because it takes away the value of a human life, it is murder, and it opens the door for coercion of the elderly and terminally ill to seek an untimely and premature death. Despite the common people’s beliefs, assisted suicide is wrong and shouldn’t be legalized.