Imagine a family member being extremely ill and suffering from day to day. When they decide they cannot take the pain any more, would you want them to pull through for you or would you fulfill their dying wish and let the doctor pull the plug? Could you even make a decision? Many people would not allow such an event to happen because with all the pain and confusion the patient is enduring may cause confusion and suicidal tendencies. However, there are people who believe otherwise. This is called physician-assisted suicide. Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) is a controversial topic that causes much debate. Though it is only legal in the three states Oregon, Washington and Montana, there are many people who are for it and think it can be necessary. Even with morals put aside, Physician-assisted suicide should be illegal because it will be a huge violation of the oath every doctor must abide by, there would be no real way to distinguish between people who are suffering and the people who are faking or depressed, and it causes a lot of confusion to people with new diseases or new strands of disease that does not have a clear cure.
There exists two possible solutions to the ethical dilemma of a terminally ill patient’s right to die: they are the legalization of physician assisted suicide and the banning of it. This paper will explore whether the legalization of PAS should be the recommended course of action or whether there are sufficient negative issues surrounding it to make the banning of it, the correct ethical choice.
Having PAS gives patients the right to die as they choose to, in a humane way. Without PAS, patients may try another way to treat their pain, for example, suicide on their own terms. With PAS, patients would be able to end their lives in a peaceful way, and not in a horrific one. This way, the patients get what they want. Güth tells a story of a 54 year old woman who decided to kill herself by jumping in front of a train. This lady had a form of breast cancer and had just recently gotten news about her cancer getting worse. She had gone through palliative care, chemotherapy and nothing seemed to help. Jumping in front of a train 2 weeks after she found out she was diagnosed with more cancer, she took her life. She said her goodbyes to her loved ones through a letter she left behind (Güth et al 1040).With just the letter that the lady left in the aforementioned story, the family did not have any sort of closure with the way she was forced to end her life. PAS would be the ethical way to let the person go; it provides a compassionate death, and it leaves family members with closure about the inevitable. With PAS, this woman could have taken her life on her own terms, having a more appropriate death. In this same essay,Güth shows how people who are terminally ill, and are given the chance to utilize PAS, take it(Güth et al
Medical workers and healthcare officials regard the practice with thoughts that clash just as much as the rest of society. Moreover, placing the ability upon a doctor is completely inadequate. Not only does it put the doctor in an uncomfortable position, an assisted suicide case can easily trickle into the category of murder. A Dutch doctor, Henk Prins, faced criminal charges when he ended the life of a terminally ill infant, despite his pure intentions and approval from numerous physicians who agreed with his action. He had consent from the baby’s parents as well as evidence that she would only have a couple weeks to live, noting that no operation would improve her condition. After the infant’s life was ended through drug administration, Prins was convicted of murder (Worsnop, 1995, para. 151-152). The murky water surrounding assisted suicide has made it difficult for the action to be carried out legally, forcing virtuous doctors behind bars. Many state laws prohibit physician assisted suicide under broad conditions. Furthermore, even if one’s actions are permitted by state law, they are not necessarily protected by federal law, which declares that, “the state’s law against physician-assisted suicide [is] unconstitutional” (Worsnop, 1995, para. 5). Doctors play a vulnerable role when it comes down to the details, and
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...
The so-called ‘right to life’ debate has been beaten to death with no resolution in sight…but what of the ‘right to die’ issue? In California, legislation was passed last year that allows terminally ill patients, who are not expected to live more than six months, to request physician-assisted suicide. However, as with the other four states that have adopted similar legislation, the patient must be capable of administering the lethal drug to himself or herself, medical personnel are not required to participate in any way, and the relief does not benefit any others, such as quadriplegics or those suffering from chronic debilitating diseases("State-by-State Guide to Physician-Assisted Suicide"). Therefore, healthcare professionals can choose to follow their own moral values regardless of the patient’s wishes…and they do. The option to choose not to follow a patient’s wishes, or to deny assistance, steps squarely on the personal rights and freedoms of the
One of the most controversial end-of-life decisions is “physician-assisted suicide” (PAS). This method of suicide involves a physician providing a patient, at his or her own request, with a lethal dose of medication, which the patient self-administers. The ethical acceptability and the desirability of legalization of this practice both continue to cause controversy (Raus, Sterckx, Mortier 1). Vaco v. Quill and Washington v. Glucksberg were landmark decisions on the issue of physician-assisted suicide and a supposed Constitutional right to commit suicide with another's assistance. In Washingotn v. Glucksberg, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the state of Washington's ban on physician-assisted suicide was not unconstitutional. Justices noted that while terminally ill patients on life support have legal right to refuse all treatment, terminally ill patients who are not on life support lack this right. Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a ban on physician-assisted suicide was not unconstitutional, individual states were free to enact laws permitting physician-assisted suicide. Not long after this ruling, Oregon passed adopted the Death with Dignity Act (DWDA) permitting physician-assisted suicide under certain conditions (State of Oregon 1995). More recently, Oregon's neighbor state Washington also enacted a law allowing physician-assisted suicide – the Washington Death with Dignity Act (State of Washington 2008) (Raus, Sterckx, Mortier 2).
Majority of US states have capital punishments (Proquest n.pag.). The 36 states that allow death penalties all offer lethal injection as a method of execution for those convicted of heinous crimes (Snell 3). Specifically, “Of the 43 executions carried out in 2012, all were by lethal injection” (Snell 3). Ending the life of a criminal is entirely legal, however, ending the life of an anguished patient is only legal in several foreign countries and “3 US states, as of March 2013” (Ho n.pag.). Criminals of crimes such as aggravated murder, killing a police office, and kidnapping all get to die painlessly and peacefully (Snell 5); yet those who have lived an innocent life who now undergo severe pain have to suffer through and die dependent on machines to live their lives for them. If a physician advises or aids a patient in ending his or her life, he could be convicted and punished with a penalty equal to that of first-degree manslaughter (Wolfe n.pag.). It seems that US priorities on the equality of end-of-life care are misguided and tyrannical. In order to ease the dying’s suffering, along with protecting their dignity and independence, Physician Assisted Suicide, (PAS) and Euthanasia should be legalized in the US as an option for the terminally ill who meet the requirements.
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....
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.
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.
Diane: A Case of Physician Assisted Suicide. Diane was a patient of Dr. Timothy Quill, who was diagnosed with acute myelomonocytic leukemia. Diane overcame alcoholism and had vaginal cancer in her youth. She had been under his care for a period of 8 years, during which an intimate doctor-patient bond had been established.
The physician that aids in the end of a patient's life has many steps to cover before the initiation. The physician must identify the terminal illness that the patient is suffering from, enlighten the patient on their options and what the results of the options are, make the choice of whether to be the one to euthanize the patient or not, and properly give the correct dosage of the lethal medication that will take the patient's life. Those who feel that PAS should be legalized and a choice believe that because they don’t want to deal with all the suffering and pain that comes along with a terminal disease. The patients would keep their dignity, prevent family or friends feeling guilty, and also be able to pass where they want with whoever they want with
Physician-assisted suicide refers to the physician acting indirectly in the death of the patient -- providing the means for death. The ethics of PAS is a continually debated topic. The range of arguments in support and opposition of PAS are vast. Justice, compassion, the moral irrelevance of the difference between killing and letting die, individual liberty are many arguments for PAS. The distinction between killing and letting die, sanctity of life, "do no harm" principle of medicine, and the potential for abuse are some of the arguments in favor of making PAS illegal. However, self-determination, and ultimately respect for autonomy are relied on heavily as principle arguments in the PAS issue.