“Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia have been profound ethical issues confronting doctors since the birth of Western medicine, more than 2,000 years ago” (Ezekiel Emanuel). This quote speaks for itself. Death by assistance, suicide, and euthanasia have been controversial since their beginning and they will continue to be controversial. Americans throughout all states disagree as to whether euthanasia should be legal throughout the country. For many reasons, doctors, patients, citizens, and governments throughout the world have kept euthanasia from being widely legalized. Some of the reasons are: doctors should not directly cause death, euthanasia is a slippery slope, and that euthanasia devalues life. Because of these reasons, Americans should not allow euthanasia to continue to spread throughout the states. The word “euthanasia” comes from the Greek and means “good death” (Nargus). “Euthanasia” refers to the ending of a life. It is also known as “mercy killing” (Nargus). The ancients Greeks were generally tolerant of suicide, however great philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle argued against assisted suicide (Uhlmann 25-32). This most likely influenced many Western countries to refrain from legalizing and practicing euthanasia until the 1900s. A “euthanasia” program in Nazi Germany killed 200,000 or more in Germany and Austria during World War II. This program’s purpose was not to relieve pain, nor was it an act of mercy. Its purpose was to kill people with mental and physical handicaps. In 1934 there was an attempt by Nazi Germany to produce a “superior” race via a sterilization campaign to prevent handicapped people from having children. In 1939, Hitler decreed a euthanasia program be implemented t... ... middle of paper ... ...4. Engdahl, Sylvia, ed. Euthanasia. Detroit: Greenhaven, 2007. Print. Hui, Edwin C., and Gibbard W. Benton. "Welcome to HUMANE Health Care..."Welcome to HUMANE Health Care... N.p., 2005. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. Medina, Loreta M., ed. Euthanasia. Detroit: Greenhaven, 2005. Print. Nargus, Ebrahimi. "The Ethics of Euthanasia." Australian Medical Student Journal RSS. N.p., 2012. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. Nordqvist, Christian. "What Is Euthanasia (assisted Suicide)? What Is the Definition of Assisted Suicide or Euthanasia." Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 2010. Web. 30 Apr. 2014. "Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Legal Slippery Slope." Medical News Today. N.p., 2001. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. White, Hilary. "Abortion and Euthanasia Bringing about the Demise of Catholic Health Care: Prominent Catholic Obstet | LifeSiteNews.com."LifeSiteNews. N.p., 12 Nov. 2008. Web. 7 May 2014.
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.
Marker and Hamlon. “Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide: Frequently Asked Questions.” International Task Force. 2009. .
Euthanasia is a word derived from Greek that has the etymological meaning of an easy death through the alleviation of pain (Moreno, 1995). Through the course of history, the signification of the term has changed and evolved in many different definitions. A useful definition of euthanasia on which we will base this essay, is named ‘mercy killing’, which signifies deliberately putting an end to someone’s life to avoid further suffering, as stated by Michael Manning in 1998. The euthanasia debate possesses a strong significance in our modern society. A discussion conducted by both scholars and politicians is going on whether physicians have the right to hasten the death of an individual by the administration of poison. In this essay
"Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide: All Sides." [On-Line]. Available: http://www.relgious tolerance.org/euthanas.htm #beli Downloaded: November 6, 1997
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 conclusion, all should firmly believe that physician assisted suicide should not be legalized in any state. Although it is legalized in Oregon it is not wise for any other state to follow that example. By now, all should strongly believe the growing public support for PAS still remains a very dangerous trend. The role of our physician is that of a healer, not a killer. It must be understood that in some cases the only way to relieve someone from their pain is to let them go. On the contrary, each human life has an
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.
In the United States, euthanasia should be legalized. In the year of 1992, Chris Docker wrote about an elderly woman going through the last painful stages of her life. Docker shared that “Mrs. Boyes' was so ill that she "screamed like a dog" if anyone touched her… when she repeatedly requested to die, Dr. Cox finally gave her an injection of potassium chloride, bestowing on her the boon of a peaceful death so many of us feel we are entitled to” (Docker). This unfortunate situation is presented to many doctors across the US. With euthanasia currently being illegal, they cannot provide proper care for their patients. Euthanasia can spare many people of their undesirable agony they face close to their passing. Too many people are suffering from a terminal illness and wanting to be put out of their misery; therefore, euthanasia should be made legal and enforced nationwide.
Furthermore, people feel that legalizing doctor-assisted suicide will open the floodgates and lead to a slippery slope that will ultimately devalue the worth of human life and lead to doctors pressuring the terminally ill to request assisted suicide. The evidence tells a different story however. One Dutch research article found that those most often requesting suicide were terminal cancer patients (15%) and those who had a terminally progressive neurological disorder (8%) (Onwuteaka-Philipsen et al., 2010). The same article showed that of all the patients these doctors saw, only 7% asked for doctor assisted suicide/euthanasia and around only 2.4% of the patients actually received euthanasia/doctor assisted suicide (Onwuteaka-Philipsen et al., 2010). To be clear, active euthanasia is when a doctor actively does something that will end a patient’s life, like injecting the patient with a lethal dose of poison and passive euthanasia is when the doctor withholds treatment that could potentially save a patient, such as in the case of a do not resuscitate order. Physicians, the study showed are generally very conservative in allowing PAS, as two thirds of those who requested euthanasia/PAS did not receive
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 order to provide a framework for my thesis statement on the morality of euthanasia, it is first necessary to define what euthanasia is and the different types of euthanasia. The term Euthanasia originates from the Greek term “eu”, meaning happy or good and “thanatos”, which means death, so the literal definition of the word Euthanasia can be translated to mean “good or happy death”.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide is a rising controversial problem in the world. Many people are against the idea of helping someone 'kill themselves'. This is a problem because many people who have had fatal incidents and are left with chronic conditions live everyday in pain, mental suffering, and emotional suffering. Euthanasia and assited sucide is to help someone who no longer wants to live, pass on. A poll taken by CBS News asked respondents if they thought "a doctor should be allowed to assist the person in taking their own life" who "has a disease that will ultimately destroy their mind or body and they want to take their own life." About 56 percent of Americans said yes and 37 percent said no. This close tie of public opinion has been continuous throughout many years, but euthanasia and assisted sucide has not been legalized in the United States.