Every culture has a taboo against murder, including our own. The practice of physician assisted suicide is wrong across all religious and cultural groups. According to Leon R. Kass, M.D., the taboo against doctors killing patients, even on request, "is the very embodiment of reason and wisdom. Without it, medicine will have lost its claim to be an ethical and trustworthy profession." Before a physician is allowed to practice medicine, he/she takes the Hippocratic Oath, which is described by Encyclopedia Britannica as " a pledge to prescribe only beneficial treatments, according to his abilities and judgment; to refrain from causing harm or hurt". This oath has been practiced for more than 2000 years. If a doctor breaks that promise and helps a patient to purposely die, then the oath has meant nothing.
Physician assisted suicide is murder. Using euthanasia, increased dosage of morphine or injecting patient’s with a lethal combination of drugs to slow his/her breathing until he/she dies is also murder. Physician assisted suicide is morally wrong. The classical theory for physician assisted suicide is utilitarianism because according to Mosser 2010, “utilitarianism is an ethical theory that determines the moral value of an act in terms of its results and if those results produce the greatest good for the greatest number.” Utilitarianism will solve the physician assisted suicide problem if all of the physicians will stand by the oath they say. According to the Hippocratic Oath doctor says, “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.”
There are many arguments revolved around whether or not physician assisted suicide should be legal. One of these arguments is that physicians should do not harm to their patients. In addition, physicians take the Hippocratic Oath. The Oath requires all new physicians to swear upon a number of healing gods that he will uphold a number of professional ethical standards. In the oath it states, “ I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel.”(Siegfried E.). This oath sets guidelines to all medical professionals to take on the role as a healer and do so without threatening a patient’s life.
Back around the fourth century B.C. the Hippocratic oath was first written, a sacred oath for physicians and anyone in the healthcare swear to act with honesty and to never intend harm to any patients, also “includes the unambiguous statement: I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan.” (time.com) Opponents believe that physicians fail to comply with the oath by practicing Physician Assisted Suicide, because it is a doctor’s role to save lives and not as an accomplice of murder. However, no one has the right to decide when someone has suffered long enough...
This essay explores the views of doctors, of the general public, and of the original Hippocratic Oath on the practices of euthanasia and assisted suicide. Considerable reference material is employed - from professional sources.
In 5th century BCE, a Greek philosopher named Hippocrates wrote the phrase “I will not give a drug that is deadly to anyone if asked [for it], nor will suggest the ways to such a counsel”(Miles, 2004). This passage is apart of a written document that is now known as the Hippocratic Oath (Appendix A). The philosophers of ancient Greece were aware of the medical predicaments that a physician would ultimately face while practicing medicine. Today, the oath has become an ethical code for the physicians to uphold and apply in their profession. Why is this phrase important enough to be included in this document? Some view this passage as the code that prohibits physicians from lending their abilities for the executions of prisoners. Others believe that his passage was written to prevent physicians from using their knowledge for murders. However, I believe that this passage was included into the oath in order to refrain the physicians from using their “techné” for the purpose of physician-assisted suicide. Physician- assisted suicide or euthanasia is not a novel idea in today’s society. Thus, it was not a coincident that Hippocrates imperatively specified this issue in his oath. The respect for the human life is clearly delineated by the oath yet some physicians still assist patients in ending their lives today. Is assisting someone in ending his or her own life unethical and against the Hippocratic Oath? Consequently, I have to address this baffling issue and attempt to answer this crucial question.
The discussion of physician-assisted suicide is frequently focused around the ethical implications. The confusion commonly surfaces from the simple question, what is physician-assisted suicide? Physician-assisted suicide can be defined as a circumstance in which a medical physician provides a lethal dose of medication to a patient with a fatal illness. In this case, the patient has given consent, as well as direction, to the physician to ethically aid in their death (Introduction to Physician-Assisted Suicide: At Issue,
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.
In recent years the media has shifted more focus on the hot topic of physician assisted suicide. This expanded coverage has caused an ever widening gap on both sides of the debate because of the ethical concerns that come along with this act. Due in part to the advancements in modern medicine, assisted suicide should be viewed as a morally correct decision for individuals to make for themselves when there is no overcoming a life impairing mental or physical ailment. This form of medicine should only be used when the individuals have exhausted all possible procedures and options and the have a bleak chance on being healthy once again. The results of assisted suicide can be viewed as morally correct in regards to consequentialism, social contract theory, as well as deontological ethics. The act of assisted suicide can be viewed as selfless if one does not ultimately want to be a physical or monetary burden on other individuals. A patient can also help to save others in regards of organ donations. We as a country need to learn to observe the choices of the terminally ill patients and understand when they want to concede in their battle. If a person chooses to end their life, it should not be viewed as a sign of weakness, but rather as a statement that this individual does not want to suffer anymore.
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.