Physician Assisted Suicide

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Is Physician-Assisted Suicide A Solution ?

Physician assisted suicide (PAS) is a very important issue. It is also important tounderstand the terms and distinction between the varying degrees to which a person can be involved in hastening the death of a terminally ill individual. Euthanasia, a word that is often associated with physician assisted suicide, means the act or practice of killing for reasons of mercy. Assisted suicide takes place when a dying person who wishes to precipitate death, requests help in carrying out the act. In euthanasia, the dying patients may or may not be aware of what is happening to them and may or may not have requested to die. In an assisted suicide, the terminally ill person wants to die and has specifically asked for help. Physician-assisted suicide occurs when the individual assisting in the suicide is a doctor rather than a friend or family member. Because doctors are the people most familiar with their patients’ medical condition and have knowledge of and access to the necessary means to cause certain death, terminally ill patients who have made

the decision to end their lives often turn to their physicians for advice. However, studies indicate that many physicians are unwilling to provide their assistance in suicide because it conflicts with their ethical beliefs and because it is illegal. The legalization of PAS is a sensitive, yet complicated, topic which is becoming more and more popular with America’s aging population and the terminally ill patients. PAS is a social issue which is here to stay. The legalization of PAS is continually being debated all over the United States and offers a potential for abuse. In 1994, PAS laws of Washington and New York were challenged in federal court and declared unconstitutional. Physician assisted suicide should not be legalized in any state.

As society must understand, PAS is challenged for several reasons.

First of all, the “Right-To-Die” group and the Hemlock Society contend that terminally ill individuals have the right to end their own lives in some instances, and because PAS is illegal, many patients are unable to get the help necessary to terminate their lives and must involuntarily endure the extreme pain and suffering of their diseases. Others argue that PAS must be legalized...

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...own the “slippery slope” (Blair n.p.), which would lead to widespread, unregulated deaths of individuals who society considers undesirable, such as the insane, the mentally deficient, the elderly, and those of less than average intelligence.

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

intrinsic value that must be respected and revered. It is immoral to intentionally end a life. For those who are believers in God know that he has given us the most powerful gift on earth, the gift of life. Only He has the power to take it away from us. Besides God, the only truth on earth is that there are only two things stronger than all the armies of the world and they are kindness and hope.

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