Physician Assisted Suicide For Terminally Ill Patients

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Expeditious developments in medicine has prolonged the lives of patients with degenerative diseases. With such advancement in medicine, many terminally ill patients want their doctors to help them control their manner and timing of death in a humane and dignified manner; However, this contradicts the Hippocratic Oath and has become a prevailing controversial issue in the United States. In the late twentieth century, Oregon legalized physician assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. In response, Congress passed the Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act of 1997, which prohibited the use of Federal funds to pay for the practice. Congressional opponents of assisted suicide then introduced the Lethal Drug Abuse Act, also known as H.R. 4006. This bill requires the Justice Department to “revoke physicians’ licenses to write prescriptions for certain drugs if it found ‘clear and convincing’ evidence that doctors intend to use such drugs to assist suicides” (“Physician Assisted Suicide”). Since physician assisted suicide attempts to balance respect for ones life with the respect of ones individual rights, and is a clear choice between life or death, the House should carefully review the Lethal Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 1998 before approving it. Although suicide is not a federal crime in the United States, assisting another person in committing suicide, results in criminal penalties, in many states (“Physician Assisted Suicide”). With such criminal penalties enacted, patients are more vulnerable to commit suicide with or without the help of a doctor because of their desire for comfort. For example, in 1990 Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a retired pathologist, assisted countless patients to commit suicide by administering lethal doses of ... ... middle of paper ... ...e patient and minimize pain, not help take his or her own life. PCC advises the Subcommittee to limit the prescription of controlled substances to exclude the nonmedical procedure of assisted suicide, which will protect and facilitate improved use of prescription medicines for treatments of pain and suffering the in the seriously ill (“Physician Assisted Suicide”). By voting for the Lethal Drug Abuse Prevention Act, PCC believes it demonstrates how imperative human life is, and how correctly prescribed medicines should heal illnesses, prolong lives, and alleviate suffering. While on the other hand, physician assisted suicide does not lessen the suffering, but completely eliminates the sufferers. Work Cited “Physician Assisted Suicide” Congressional Digest Volume 77. No.11 (November 1998) Congressional Digest. Web 21 Oct. 2014. star
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