In 2001, 44 doctors prescribed 33 patients to a medication that would end their life. In comparison, 39 prescriptions were written in 2000, 33 in 1999 and 24 in 1998. Although the number of prescriptions written for physician-assisted suicide has increased in the past four years, the number of ill patients taking lethal medication has stayed small with less than 1/10 of one percent of Oregonians dying by physician-assisted suicide. The reason I picked this topic is because I thought it was very interesting and also very controversial. I find it very interesting that Oregon is the only state that has physician-assisted suicide.
Title Only people who have witnessed or experienced a terminal illness know how much it impacts a person’s life and their families. According to the Cancer Facts and Figures, in 2015, there was an estimate of 1,658,370 people who were diagnosed with cancer and 589,430 of those diagnosed with cancer had died (American Cancer Society). Medication evolves every day, yet there is little to do for cancer patients. They can go through various treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, however some patients these treatments are unbearable. In four states, physician assisted suicide is legal, many other states are debating on the issue at hand.
Hospitals across the U.S. reported in 2011 adverse reactions from prescription drugs caused 2.2 million injuries and 106,000 deaths that two-thirds could have been prevented with proper monitoring of prescription drugs. (Bremner,
Several articles have been published that poll doctors' views on euthanasia and assisted suicide, and these are likely to get closer to the real views of doctors. In a survey of doctors on management of the persistent vegetative state, 35% of doctors would never withdraw feeding or nutrition and 28% would always treat an acute infection or other life-threatening condition (1). In a survey of 355 oncologists, the majority found euthanasia or assisted suicide unacceptable. However one in seven oncologists had actually carried out euthanasia or assisted suicide (2). 37% of physicians who look after AIDS patients would be unlikely to assist a patient with established AIDS to commit suicide but 48% said they would be likely to do so (3).
Probably the most up to date study of the elderly and their families opinion on euthanasia, in this case physician assisted suicide. Dr. Koenig undertook this research because he felt that there was a lack of data on how the elderly feel on this subject. The study goes on to state that over 60% of adults surveyed approve of physician assisted suicide, however they are younger and healthy
But a patient has to suffering from severe pain and be terminally ill to be able to get a physician to assist in their suicide. Although widely condoned around the world, only one nation, the Netherlands has made physician assisted suicide legal. Five states tried Washington in 1991, California in 1992, Michigan in 1998,and main in 2000, Oregon in 1994 approved the “Death with Dignity Act” it won 51 percent to 49 percent. 91 people committed suicide with the aid of a physician in the first four years the law was in effect. The approach of physician-assisted suicide respects an individual’s need for personal dignity.
A survey completed in the United Kingdom actually found that half of 50 cancer clinical nurse specialists had worked with a patient who had been denied treatment fo... ... middle of paper ... ...with a review of staffing ratios in one local hospital demonstrating that the therapists who worked with older adults had double the caseload of those working with younger patients (Klein & Liu, 2010, pp. 342-343). This sort of unequal treatment most definitely impacts quality of care and is a direct result of the discriminatory patterns that have been conveyed by public policy throughout history. It has also been reported that attitude is not the primary factor related to a physician’s choice not to work with the oldest-old population; it is actually related to the negative pressures instilled by the health care system (Meisner, 2012, p. 68-69). “Physicians reported less control over the care they give because of the administrative and financial pressures…” (Meisner, 2012, p. 68-69).
Physician Assisted Suicide A poll in 1999 found that 52% of Americans though that Kevorkian should have been found guilty on some charge, while only 27% said that he was not guilty. The survey also found that 45% of Americans have a positive opinion of Kevorkian while 36% have an unfavorable one. After being informed that Kevorkian does not have a license to practice medicine and that he supports the right of doctors to help healthy patients die, his approval rating dropped to 19%, while his unfavorable rating rose to 57%. Public support for physician assisted suicide was confined to the limited situation where a terminally ill patient would ask a doctor for help to commit suicide. Fifty four percent thought that doctors should be able to give a lethal dose to these patients.
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. Between 1998 and 2000, ninety-six lethal prescriptions were written, and seventy patients took the fatal doses. Physician-assisted suicide is only legal in the states of Washington and Oregon, meaning in the rest of the country, the practice remains illegal. Many patients are unable to get the help necessary to end their lives and must involuntarily endure unbearable pain. Some terminally ill patients have to experience an intolerably poor quality of life and would prefer to end their life rather than continue until their body finally gives up.
Questionable Popularity of Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide A survey of U.S. oncologists suggests that support for euthanasia and assisted suicide in this profession has declined dramatically in recent years. The survey polled 3299 members of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in 1998. It found 22.5% support for physician-assisted suicide for a terminally ill patient with prostate cancer in unremitting pain, compared to 45.5% support in 1994. Euthanasia in this situation was supported by 6.5%, compared to 22.7% in 1994. Surgical oncologists were more likely to support these practices; Catholics, those who view themselves as religious, and those who say they have sufficient time to talk to dying patients about end-of-life care were less likely to do so.