The Issues Of Physician Assisted Suicide

1376 Words6 Pages
The issues of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) are both emotional and controversial. Some argue PAS is ethically permissible for a dying person who has chosen to escape unbearable suffering at the end of life; it is the physician’s duty to alleviate the patient’s suffering and justifies aid-in-dying. These arguments rely on the respect for individual autonomy. “Individual autonomy is an idea that is generally understood to refer to the capacity to be one 's own person, to live one 's life according to reasons and motives that are taken as one 's own and not the product of manipulative or distorting external forces.” (STANDFORD REF) Even though proponents welcome advancements in pain control, they still argue that it takes away the freedom of choice from a dying person, from choosing the time and manner that they wish to die. Proponents say “that apparent compromises like terminal sedation are both repugnant and can be abused, since full, informal consent may not be sought” (Battin, n.d., para. 7). They also argue on the grounds of equity, saying that it is unfair that patients who depend on dialysis or a respirator can achieve a comparatively easy death when they choose to, simply by ending these life sustaining supports. Patients who are not dependent on life-supports, cannot choose when they die. PAS also contradicts the traditional duty of physician’s to preserve life and to do no harm. Many argue that if PAS is legalized, abuses would take place, because as social forces condone the practice, it will lead to PAS being forced on the disabled, elderly and poor, instead of providing more complex and expensive palliative care. “…of the 2.3 million Americans who die, approximately 5,000 to 25,000 patients might have... ... middle of paper ... ...n since the beginning of medicine, and will continue far into the future, there must be a way to ease the suffering of the terminally ill. While opponents argue PAS is unethical, proponents argue PAS is ethically permissible, and is “the ultimate civil right” and not to let mentally competent, terminally ill patients who want to end their pain and suffering in a peacefully, is disrespectful to their right to personal autonomy. The more modern day medicine and technology continue to pull people from the brink of death, more and more people will be asking for the right to end their lives, because extending the length of life, allows time for more people to become terminally ill and be in pain. Virtually all people want their loved ones to remember them as they once were, not what they could become in the years following the diagnosis of a terminally illness.
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