The controversial act known as the physician aid-in-dying (PAD) challenges us to question our ethical, religious, and cultural values or beliefs. Although it is tragic and perceived as morally inappropriate, suicide is sometimes the only answer. In certain cases this act is a way to end excruciating pain and suffering. The state of Oregon passed a law known as the Death with Dignity Act in 1994. PAD is defined as “a practice in which a physician provides a competent, terminally ill patient with a prescription for a lethal dose of medication, upon the patient's request, which the patient intends to use to end his or their own life” (Braddock, and Tonelli). PAD also raises the question, is it a constitutionally guaranteed right for people to have the power and the medicine to take their own life? PAD, if operating under careful supervision, is an alternative to patients who may have to endure physical, mental, and financial struggles. Doctor Peter Goodwin, a physician from Portland, Oregon campaigned for the Death with Dignity Act, which he called his greatest legacy. Goodwin became a terminally ill patient towards the end of his life. Doctor Goodwin was 83 years old when he took the very medicine that he campaigned so long for. Goodwin was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder, which he had been battling for 6 years prior to PAD. In 1994, Oregon passed the Death with Dignity Act. This law states that Oregon residents, who have been diagnosed with a life ending disease and have less than six months to live, may obtain a lethal medicine prescribed by a physician, which would end their life when and where they chose to do so. This law or act requires the collection of data from patients and physicians and publishes it in an annual r... ... middle of paper ... ...nation to follow. Washington State has followed suit with Oregon and passed a similar act allowing PAD. We should not have to fear a lingering and painful death. PAD should be an option to terminally ill patients, which has been defined as an inherent constitutional right by the Supreme Court. Thus the right and judgment should be ultimately our own decisions. Works Cited Braddock, Clarence, and Mark Tonelli. "Physician Aid-in-Dying: Ethical Topic in Medicine." Ethics in Medicine. University of Washington, 2009. Web. 3 March 2015. Campbell, Courtney. "'Aid-in-Dying' and the taking of Human Life." Journal of Medical Ethics. 18.3 (1992 ): 128-134. Web. 2 March 2015. Sloss, David. "The Right to Choose How to Die: A Constitutional Analysis of State Laws Prohibiting Physician-Assisted Suicide." Stanford Law Review. 48.4 (1996): 937-973. Web. 2 March 2015.
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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.
Currently, in the United States, 12% of states including Vermont, Oregon, and California have legalized the Right to Die. This ongoing debate whether or not to assist in death with patients who have terminal illness has been and is still far from over. Before continuing, the definition of Right to Die is, “an individual who has been certified by a physician as having an illness or physical condition which can be reasonably be expected to result in death in 24 months or less after the date of the certification” (Terminally Ill Law & Legal Definition 1). With this definition, the Right to die ought to be available to any person that is determined terminally ill by a professional, upon this; with the request of Right to Die, euthanasia must be
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
America is a champion of the freedom of choice. Citizens have the right to choose their religion, their political affiliation, and make personal decisions about nearly every facet of their daily lives. Despite all of these opportunities, one choice society commonly ignores is that of deciding how one’s life will end. Death seems like a highly unpredictable, uncontrollable occurrence, but for the past 17 years, citizens of Oregon have had one additional option not offered to most Americans in the deciding of their end-of-life treatment. Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act (DWDA), passed in 1994, allows qualified, terminally-ill Oregon patients to end their lives through the use of a doctor-prescribed, self-administered, lethal prescription (Office of Disease Prevention and Epidemiology, n.d.). The nationally controversial act has faced injunctions, an opposing measure, and has traveled to the Supreme Court, however it still remains in effect today.
The ongoing controversy about Physician assisted suicides is an ongoing battle among physicians, patients and court systems. The question of whether or not individuals have the “right” to choose death over suffering in their final days or hours of life continues to be contested. On one side you have the physicians and the Hippocratic Oath they took to save lives; on the other you have the patients’ right to make life choices, even if that means to choose death to end suffering. The ultimate question “is it ethical for a physician to agree to assisted suicides and is it ethical for a patient to request assisted suicide?
In March of 1998, a woman suffering with cancer became the first person known to die under the law on physician-assisted suicide in the state of Oregon when she took a lethal dose of drugs. This law does not include people who have been on a life support system nor does it include those who have not voluntarily asked physicians to help them commit suicide. Many people worry that legalizing doctor assisted suicide is irrational and violates the life-saving tradition of medicine and it has been argued that the reason why some terminally ill patients yearn to commit suicide is nothing more than depression. Physician Assisted Suicide would lessen the human life or end the suffering and pain of those on the verge of dying; Physician Assisted Suicide needs to be figured out for those in dire need of it or for those fighting against it. The main purpose for this paper is to bring light on the advantages and disadvantages of physician-assisted suicide and to show what principled and moral reasoning there is behind each point.
Did you know, about 57% of physicians today have received a request for physician assisted suicide due to suffering from a terminally ill patient. Suffering has always been a part of human existence, and these requests have been occurring since medicine has been around. Moreover, there are two principles that all organized medicine agree upon. The first one is physicians have a responsibility to relieve pain and suffering of dying patients in their care. The second one is physicians must respect patients’ competent decisions to decline life-sustaining treatment. Basically, these principles state the patients over the age of 18 that are mentally stable have the right to choose to end their life if they are suffering from pain. As of right now, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont have legalized physician assisted suicide through legislation. Montana has legalized it via court ruling. The first Death with Dignity Act (DWDA) became effective in Oregon in 1997. Washington and Vermont later passed this act in 2009, and Montana passed the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act in 2008. One concern with physician assisted suicide is confusion of the patient’s wishes. To get rid of any confusion and provide evidence in case someone becomes terminally ill, people should make an advanced care plan. The two main lethal drugs that are used during physician assisted suicide are secobarbital and pentobarbital. Appropriate reporting is necessary when distributing these drugs and performing the suicide in order to publish an analysis. Studies found a large number of people accepted this procedure under certain circumstances; therefore, physician assisted suicide should be legal in the United States because terminally ill patients over the age of 18 that are...
Braddock and Tonelli. “Physician-Assisted Suicide.” Ethics in Medicine University of Washington Medical School. 2008. .
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....
With the growing debate on the legality of physician assisted suicide happening in the United States,it is important for everyone to know the position that are being advocated. Having a full sense of knowledge on the conversation taking place gives people who are interested on this topic the necessary tool to draw their own conclusion on how they should feel on this particular issue. Even if someone is not interested in this topic on a cultural level, they should in a personal sense because it might affect their family or themselves one day. In a way this issue and debate affects everyone because there might be a possibility that we acquire a terminal illness, and when this happen we are either denied the option of PAS or granted that option, depending the status of it.
There are only three states that allow physician-assisted suicide: Washington, Oregon, and Montana. Oregon became the first by enacting the Death with Dignity Act which allows terminally-ill patients to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose. (Oregon.gov) In November of 2008 Washington became the second and in December of the same year Montana agreed and became the third. A poll was given to Oregon physicians in 1999, nurses, and social workers in 2001. The majority of physicians 51% supported the death with dignity act, 48% of nurses were in favor, and 72% of social workers were in support. (Miller) These polls clearly show that the majority of voters are in support of Physician assisted suicide.
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.
Griffith, Richard. "Should assisted dying be lawful?" British Journal Of Community Nursing 19.2 (2014): 94-98. Academic Search Premier. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.
Oftentimes when one hears the term Physician Assisted Suicide (hereafter PAS) the words cruel and unethical come to mind. On October 27, 1997 Oregon passed the Death with Dignity Act, this act would allow terminally ill Oregon residents to end their lives through a voluntary self-administered dose of lethal medications that are prescribed by a physician (Death with Dignity Act) . This has become a vital, medical and social movement. Having a choice should mean that a terminally ill patient is entitled to the choice to pursue PAS. If people have the right to refuse lifesaving treatments, such as chemo and palliative care, then the choice of ending life with PAS should be a choice that is allowed.