The Issue Of Doctor Assisted Suicide

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Assisted Suicide: Rights and Responsibilities A woman suffering from cancer became the first person known to die under the law on physician-assisted suicide in the state of Oregon when she took a lethal dose of drugs in March, 1998. The Oregon Death with Dignity Act passed a referendum in November, 1997, and it has been the United States ' only law legalizing assisted suicide since then. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, more than 4,000 doctors have approved of the assisted suicide law (cited in "The Anguish of Doctors,” 1996). The law allows terminally ill patients who have been given six months or less to live and wish to hasten their deaths to obtain medication prescribed by two doctors. The most important thing to notice is that this law does not include those who have been on a life support system nor does it include those who have not voluntarily asked physicians to help them commit suicide. The issue of doctor-assisted suicide has been the subject of the heated dispute in recent years. Many people worry that legalizing doctor assisted suicide is irrational and violates the life-saving tradition of medicine. However, physician-assisted suicide should be legalized because it offers terminally ill people an opportunity for a peaceful death and recognized the inadequacy of current medical practice to deal with death. It has been argued that the reason why some terminally ill patients wish to commit suicide is nothing more than melancholia. Patients suffering terminal illness might tend to be negative, hopeless, and depressed. In "When Patients Request Assistance with Suicide," Maskin, an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, argues that in many cases, dyi... ... middle of paper ... ...end of life. Therefore, doctor-assisted suicide should be legalized to meet the needs of terminally ill patients and to compensate for the insufficiency of current medical practice. In conclusion, the most crucial point of the doctor-assisted suicide law is "Who would it protect?" It is clear that the best effect of the doctor-assisted suicide law is in its ability to give some advantages to all dying patients. Therefore, although it has been argued that legalizing doctor-assisted suicide is harmful to terminally ill patients, counterproductive and violates the tradition of medicine, it is suggested that physician-assisted suicide be legalized in that this law will dramatically improve the current medical environment for dying patients. It is hoped that giving the informed choice of legalized assisted suicide will make terminally ill patients ' lives more meaningful.
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