Physician Assisted Death

1474 Words6 Pages
Introduction Geriatrics is a branch of medicine that specializes in the health of the elderly persons in the society, with the primary goal of promoting their health through the prevention and treatment of various diseases and disabilities. There is no established age limit medically at which a patient is termed geriatric, but the decision is largely guided by the needs of a particular person and the availability of a geriatrician. The elderly persons in the society are always victims of various chronic and severe acute diseases, some of which are incurable and end up killing these patients in a painful manner (Cassidy, 2010). Some of the diseases that these elderly people suffer from include incontinence, loss of memory, immobility, delirium, impaired hearing, impaired vision, and other discomforts. Some of the diseases that are normally less severe in the general and normal population are sometimes more severe and life threatening when they occur in the elderly, probably due to immunosuppression associated with old age. Among the very many strategies in place to help these patients, patient assisted death (PAD) has also been considered as a remedy (Seale, 2009a). Schroepfer (2008) defines PAD as a situation where a physician administers a lethal drug to a patient who is terminally ill, but competent to make an informed decision. A lot of debate has since been stimulated as to whether the practice should be legalized or not. Up to date, physician assisted suicide (PAS) has been approved in Oregon (Chamberlain, 2009), while PAD has been approved in several countries including the Netherlands. The legalization of this practice has elucidated a lot of debate concerning whether the law is valid and under which circumstances a pers... ... middle of paper ... ... Journal, 8, 40–47. Quill, T. E. (2004). Dying and decision making—evolution of end-of-life options. New England Journal of Medicine, 350(20), 2029–2032. Schroepfer, A. (2008). Social relationships and their role in the consideration to hasten death. Gerontologist, 48(5), 612-621. Schwartz, J., & Estrin, J. (2004). In Oregon, choosing death over suffering. New York Times, Science Times, F4. Seale, C. (2009a). Legalization of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide: survey of doctors' attitudes. Palliative Medicine, 23(3), 205–212. doi: 10.1177/0269216308102041 Seale, C. (2009b). End-of-life decisions in the UK involving medical practitioners. Palliative Medicine, 23(3), 198–204. Doi: 10.1177/0269216308102042. Steinbock, B. (2005). The case for physician assisted suicide: not (yet) proven. Journal of Medical Ethics, 31(4), 235–241. Doi: 10.1136/jme.2003.005801
Open Document