Assisted suicide is a very controversial topic in American society that must be dealt with. In assisted suicide, a patient who is terminally ill requests the doctor to administer a lethal dose of medication to end his life. Assisted suicide brings up many moral and legal issues regarding the right of a patient to die with respect and the duties of a doctor. This issue is divided among people who believe that doctor assisted suicide is illegal and immoral and those who believe that suicide is a right that people have. Doctors who aid a patient to commit suicide are performing an illegal act and should be penalized to the full extent of the law.
The legalization of assisted suicide has been a controversial topic that has created a divide within the medical community, as well as the general public, for many years. Assisted suicide occurs when a patient decides to take their own life, with help from their doctor. The doctor can end the patient’s life without causing any additional pain or suffering. While some believe that assisted suicide should be legal for patients who are suffering from a terminal and painful condition, others argue that it is unethical and going against the doctor’s oath to help and not harm their patients. As the average life expectancy age increases, people are living longer while also having to live with more serious illnesses. As a result, lives are ending with a great amount of suffering and pain, rather then dying peacefully. Since death is ultimately inevitable, I will therefore argue in favor of the proposition that assisted suicide should be legal for those capable of making a rationale end of life decision.
Physician-assisted suicide is defined as the practice where a physician provides a patient with a lethal dose of medication, upon the patient's request, which the patient desires to use to end his or her life. The Harvard Medical School conferred that we are "dead" when there is permanent loss of consciousness in the higher brain, even though one may not be flat lined. The idea for physician assisted suicide is for a medical doctor help someone die who is still alive but desires to terminate their own life due to an impairment or illness which causes suffering upon the individual. The question we must consider is where do we cross the line between suicide and murder.
Assisted Suicide, also known as mercy killing, occurs when a physician provides the means (drugs or other agents) by which a person can take his or her own life. This assistance is one of the most debated issues today in society followed by abortion. Physicians are frequently faced with the question of whether or not assisted suicide is ethical or immoral. Although assisted suicide is currently illegal in almost all states in America, it is still often committed. Is assisted suicide ethical? Studies have found that the majority of Americans support assisted suicide. One must weigh both sides of the argument before they can decide.
Death remains as one of the greatest mysteries today. Even though dying is a natural part of existence, American culture is unique in the extent to which death is viewed as a taboo topic. Rather than having open discussions, we tend to view death as a feared enemy that can and should be defeated by modern medicine and machines. Many people fear their end of life care, dying, and what will come after death. Society has become institutionalized, therefore most people die in a place with many health professionals. One main controversy over the last few decades are whether or not people should be able to choose when they die with assistance from a physician. Physician assisted suicide is the voluntary termination of one's own life by administration of a lethal substance with the direct or indirect assistance of a physician. Physician-assisted suicide is the practice of providing a competent patient with a prescription for medication for the patient to use with the primary intention of ending his or her own life. There are some people that are strong advocates and others that do not agree at all.
Throughout the course of history, advances in medical technology have prolonged the length of life and delayed death; however, terminal illnesses still exist and modern medicine is often unable to prevent death. Many people turn to a procedure known as Physician-Assisted suicide, a process by which a doctor aids in ending a terminally ill patient’s life. This procedure is painless and effective, allowing patients to control their death and alleviate unnecessary suffering. In spite of these benefits, Physician-Assisted suicide is illegal in many places both nationally and internationally. Despite the fact that Physician-Assisted suicide is opposed by many Americans and much of the world on ethical and moral grounds such as those based on religion and the morality of taking another life, it should still be legalized because it alleviates suffering of patients, allows patients to choose a dignified death, and allows patients to control their own fate instead of their disease controlling them.
In recent years the media has shifted more focus on the hot topic of physician assisted suicide. This expanded coverage has caused an ever widening gap on both sides of the debate because of the ethical concerns that come along with this act. Due in part to the advancements in modern medicine, assisted suicide should be viewed as a morally correct decision for individuals to make for themselves when there is no overcoming a life impairing mental or physical ailment. This form of medicine should only be used when the individuals have exhausted all possible procedures and options and the have a bleak chance on being healthy once again. The results of assisted suicide can be viewed as morally correct in regards to consequentialism, social contract theory, as well as deontological ethics. The act of assisted suicide can be viewed as selfless if one does not ultimately want to be a physical or monetary burden on other individuals. A patient can also help to save others in regards of organ donations. We as a country need to learn to observe the choices of the terminally ill patients and understand when they want to concede in their battle. If a person chooses to end their life, it should not be viewed as a sign of weakness, but rather as a statement that this individual does not want to suffer anymore.
Physician assisted suicides is among the modern greatest challenges that come with the medical professions ethic responsibilities. Assisted suicides threaten the greater core of the profession of medicine and its integrity since it is not just a proposal towards the care of the dying but the means to their death.
In 2007, the American Geriatrics Society defined Physician-Assisted Suicide as, “When a physician provides either equipment or medication, or informs the patient of the most efficacious use of already available means, for the purpose of assisting the patient to end his or her own life” (qtd. in Lachman 121). Physician-Assisted Suicide is what it says, suicide. In the United States the controversy of the “Right to die” is not new. According to Vicki D. Lachman a Clinical Associate Professor, after the Supreme Court decision in 1997, it was determined that there is not a constitutional right to die. The Supreme Court is allowing states to pass laws to legalize Physician-Assisted Suicide. Since then three states, Oregon, Washington, and Montana have made it legal to perform Phy...
As one can see, physician-assisted suicide has a long and complicated history. Recent developments in the United States have brought the issues associated with end-of-life decisions under the microscope. The morality and ethics associated with voluntarily assisting someone while committing suicide have struck a chord with individuals, organizations, and in the political and medicinal sectors. The Hippocratic Oath and Pharmaceutical Oath have become subject to scrutiny with the gaining popularity and legalization of terminally ill patients seeking dignity in death. Increasingly, people are supporting the tough decisions made by patients.
What is a physician's duty to a patient? Are doctors ever justified in ending a life entrusted to their care, even at the request of the patient or his family? These questions are being asked in today's society as part of the growing debate surrounding physician-assisted euthanasia (PAS). Several well-publicized cases in the past few decades have only fueled the fire, inspiring equally convicted individuals and organizations to rise up on both sides. Pro-life advocates argue the immorality of assisted suicide, and are, except for a few instances, supported by the law. Pro-choice supporters not only cite ethical justification, but argue the practical benefits and recent legislation legalizing of some instances of euthanasia in limited areas of the world. Despite certain economic benefits and legal support, it is never justifiable for a doctor to facilitate the death of any patient.
Imagine, if you will, that you have just found out you have a terminal medical condition. Doesn’t matter which one, it’s terminal. Over the 6 months you have to live you experience unmeasurable amounts of pain, and when your free of your pain the medication you’re under renders you in an impaired sense of consciousness. Towards the 4th month, you begin to believe all this suffering is pointless, you are to die anyways, why not with a little dignity. You begin to consider Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS). In this essay I will explain the ethical decisions and dilemmas one may face when deciding to accept the idea of Physician-Assisted Suicide. I will also provide factual information pertaining to the subject of PAS and testimony from some that advocate for legalization of PAS. PAS is not to be taken lightly. It is the decision to end one’s life with the aid of a medical physician. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary states that PAS is “Suicide by a patient facilitated by means (as a drug prescription) or by information (as an indication of a lethal dosage) provided by a physician aware of the patient’s intent.” PAS is considered, by our textbook – Doing Ethics by Lewis Vaughn, an active voluntary form of euthanasia. There are other forms of euthanasia such as non-voluntary, involuntary, and passive. This essay is focusing on PAS, an active voluntary form of euthanasia. PAS is commonly known as “Dying/Death with Dignity.” The most recent publicized case of PAS is the case of Brittany Maynard. She was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in California, where she lived. At the time California didn’t have Legislative right to allow Brittany the right to commit PAS so she was transported to Oregon where PAS is legal....
The right to assisted suicide is a significant topic that concerns people all over the United States. The debates go back and forth about whether a dying patient has the right to die with the assistance of a physician. Some are against it because of religious and moral reasons. Others are for it because of their compassion and respect for the dying. Physicians are also divided on the issue. They differ where they place the line that separates relief from dying--and killing. For many the main concern with assisted suicide lies with the competence of the terminally ill. Many terminally ill patients who are in the final stages of their lives have requested doctors to aid them in exercising active euthanasia. It is sad to realize that these people are in great agony and that to them the only hope of bringing that agony to a halt is through assisted suicide.When people see the word euthanasia, they see the meaning of the word in two different lights. Euthanasia for some carries a negative connotation; it is the same as murder. For others, however, euthanasia is the act of putting someone to death painlessly, or allowing a person suffering from an incurable and painful disease or condition to die by withholding extreme medical measures. But after studying both sides of the issue, a compassionate individual must conclude that competent terminal patients should be given the right to assisted suicide in order to end their suffering, reduce the damaging financial effects of hospital care on their families, and preserve the individual right of people to determine their own fate.
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. Const. amend. XIV, §1). PAS in the past has been upheld as illegal due to the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment of the constitution, but in recent years this same 14th amendment is also part of the reasoning for legalizing PAS, “nor shall any State deprive any person of…liberty” (U.S. Const. amend. XIV, §1). The ethical issues surrounding this topic include a patient’s autonomy and dignity and if PAS should be legalized everywhere. This paper is an analysis of the PAS debate and explores these different issues using a specific case that went to the supreme courts called Washington et al. v. Glucksberg et al.