In March of 1998, a woman suffering with 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. This law does not include people who have been on a life support system nor does it include those who have not voluntarily asked physicians to help them commit suicide. Many people worry that legalizing doctor assisted suicide is irrational and violates the life-saving tradition of medicine and it has been argued that the reason why some terminally ill patients yearn to commit suicide is nothing more than depression. Physician Assisted Suicide would lessen the human life or end the suffering and pain of those on the verge of dying; Physician Assisted Suicide needs to be figured out for those in dire need of it or for those fighting against it. The main purpose for this paper is to bring light on the advantages and disadvantages of physician-assisted suicide and to show what principled and moral reasoning there is behind each point.
“On October 27, 1997 Oregon enacted the Death with Dignity Act which allows terminally-ill Oregonians to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose.” (The Oregon Health Authority, 2010). Physician assisted suicide can be constructed to have reasonable laws which still protect against its abuse and the value of human life. Recent Oregon and U.K. laws show that you can craft reasonable laws that prevent abuse and still protect the value of human life. When one thinks of suicide, we think of a person who takes their own life. But in physician-assisted suicide, this is not the case. “In physician-assisted suicide, the patient self...
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...their own life and die with their own dignity is huge thing among anyone. No one should be denied the right to leave this earth if they are in constant and terrible pain. But people were also asked whether physician-assisted suicide should be allowed for people in severe pain who aren't terminally ill or for those with disabilities and the outcome was, “a solid majority — 71 percent — opposed the idea, with only 29 percent in favor of it. The results were the same as in 2011.” (Hensley, 2012). The whole idea of having physician-assisted suicide is for a patient with a severe illness with months to live is to go out in peace and without any complications. Overall, physician-assisted suicide has many pros and cons but the main issue is the patient. It should not be up to anybody except the dying patient. There are only four states that have legalized assisted-suicide.
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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.
The controversial act known as the physician aid-in-dying (PAD) challenges us to question our ethical, religious, and cultural values or beliefs. Although it is tragic and perceived as morally inappropriate, suicide is sometimes the only answer. In certain cases this act is a way to end excruciating pain and suffering. The state of Oregon passed a law known as the Death with Dignity Act in 1994. PAD is defined as “a practice in which a physician provides a competent, terminally ill patient with a prescription for a lethal dose of medication, upon the patient's request, which the patient intends to use to end his or their own life” (Braddock, and Tonelli). PAD also raises the question, is it a constitutionally guaranteed right for people to have the power and the medicine to take their own life? PAD, if operating under careful supervision, is an alternative to patients who may have to endure physical, mental, and financial struggles. Doctor Peter Goodwin, a physician from Portland, Oregon campaigned for the Death with Dignity Act, which he called his greatest legacy. Goodwin became a terminally ill patient towards the end of his life. Doctor Goodwin was 83 years old when he took the very medicine that he campaigned so long for. Goodwin was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder, which he had been battling for 6 years prior to PAD.
There are many convincing and compelling arguments for and against Physician Assisted Suicide. There are numerous different aspects of this issue including religious, legal and ethical issues. However, for the purpose of this paper, I will examine the ethical concerns on both sides. There are strong pro and con arguments regarding this and I will make a case for both. It is definitely an issue that has been debated for years and will continue to be debated in years to come.
There are many legal and ethical issues when discussing the topic of physician-assisted suicide (PAS). The legal issues are those regarding numerous court cases over the past few decades, the debate over how the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution comes into play, and the legalization vs. illegalization of this practice. The 14th Amendment states, “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (U.S. Const. amend. XIV, §1). PAS in the past has been upheld as illegal due to the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment of the constitution, but in recent years this same 14th amendment is also part of the reasoning for legalizing PAS, “nor shall any State deprive any person of…liberty” (U.S. Const. amend. XIV, §1). The ethical issues surrounding this topic include a patient’s autonomy and dignity and if PAS should be legalized everywhere. This paper is an analysis of the PAS debate and explores these different issues using a specific case that went to the supreme courts called Washington et al. v. Glucksberg et al.
The ongoing controversy about Physician assisted suicides is an ongoing battle among physicians, patients and court systems. The question of whether or not individuals have the “right” to choose death over suffering in their final days or hours of life continues to be contested. On one side you have the physicians and the Hippocratic Oath they took to save lives; on the other you have the patients’ right to make life choices, even if that means to choose death to end suffering. The ultimate question “is it ethical for a physician to agree to assisted suicides and is it ethical for a patient to request assisted suicide?
Did you know, about 57% of physicians today have received a request for physician assisted suicide due to suffering from a terminally ill patient. Suffering has always been a part of human existence, and these requests have been occurring since medicine has been around. Moreover, there are two principles that all organized medicine agree upon. The first one is physicians have a responsibility to relieve pain and suffering of dying patients in their care. The second one is physicians must respect patients’ competent decisions to decline life-sustaining treatment. Basically, these principles state the patients over the age of 18 that are mentally stable have the right to choose to end their life if they are suffering from pain. As of right now, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont have legalized physician assisted suicide through legislation. Montana has legalized it via court ruling. The first Death with Dignity Act (DWDA) became effective in Oregon in 1997. Washington and Vermont later passed this act in 2009, and Montana passed the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act in 2008. One concern with physician assisted suicide is confusion of the patient’s wishes. To get rid of any confusion and provide evidence in case someone becomes terminally ill, people should make an advanced care plan. The two main lethal drugs that are used during physician assisted suicide are secobarbital and pentobarbital. Appropriate reporting is necessary when distributing these drugs and performing the suicide in order to publish an analysis. Studies found a large number of people accepted this procedure under certain circumstances; therefore, physician assisted suicide should be legal in the United States because terminally ill patients over the age of 18 that are...
Although physician assisted suicide may result in the fulfillment of another’s choice, be considered a compassionate mean to end suffering, or even be considered a right, I believe it is not morally acceptable. In the act of physician assisted suicide, a patient voluntarily requests his or her doctor to assist in providing the means needed for self killing. In most cases of physician assisted suicide, patients who request this type of assistance are terminally ill and mentally competent (i.e. have sufficient understanding of an individual’s own situation and purpose and consequences of any action). Those who have committed the action of physician assisted suicide or condone the act may believe that one has the right to end their own life, the right of autonomy (the right or condition of self governing), the right to a dignified death, believe that others have a duty to minimize suffering, or believe it (physician assisted suicide) to be a compassionate act, or a combination of these things. However, since this act violates the intrinsic value of human life, it is not morally acceptable.
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....
The issue of physician assisted suicide has been around for quite a while. There has been many court cases on it to make it legalized but all of it has been struck down by the Supreme Court. What seem to be a lost cause in the past is now becoming a real possibility as America moves further into the twenty-first century. As citizens increase their support for PAS, many states are beginning to draft bills to legalize this cause, with tough restriction and regulation of course. In 1997, Oregon became the first state to legalized physician assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Soon after, three other states (Washington, Vermont, and Montana) follow Oregon’s footstep while two other states are inching closer to making this procedure legal. Even so, there are still many people against PAS and are constantly fighting this from becoming legal. With the rise of popularity on this issue, the debate on whether one has the right to end their life, and the morality of this issue are reason why the UTA community should care about this topic and why it is worth exploring the three position concerning PAS. In this paper, I will discuss the three main position on this debate: that physician assisted suicide should be illegal, that physician assisted suicide should be limited to terminally ill patient, and that physician assisted suicide should be available for everyone.
In conclusion, all should firmly believe that physician assisted suicide should not be legalized in any state. Although it is legalized in Oregon it is not wise for any other state to follow that example. By now, all should strongly believe the growing public support for PAS still remains a very dangerous trend. The role of our physician is that of a healer, not a killer. It must be understood that in some cases the only way to relieve someone from their pain is to let them go. On the contrary, each human life has an
In current society, legalizing physician assisted suicide is a prevalent argument. In 1997, the Supreme Court recognized no federal constitutional right to physician assisted suicide (Harned 1) , which defines suicide as one receiving help from a physician by means of a lethal dosage (Pearson 1), leaving it up to state legislatures to legalize such practice if desired. Only Oregon and Washington have since legalized physician assisted suicide. People seeking assisted suicide often experience slanted judgments and are generally not mentally healthy. Legalization of this practice would enable people to fall victim to coercion by friends and family to commit suicide. Also, asking for death is unfair to a doctor’s personal dogma. Some argue that society should honor the freedom of one’s choice to take his own life with the assistance of a physician; however, given the reasoning provided, it is in society’s best interest that physician assisted suicide remain illegal. Physician assisted suicide should not be legalized because suicidal people experience distorted judgments resulting in not being mentally equipped to make such a decision, people who feel they are a burden to their family may choose death as a result, and physicians should not have to go against their personal doctrines and promises.
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.
Terminally ill patients should have the legal option of physician-assisted suicide. Terminally ill patients deserve the right to control their own death. Legalizing assisted suicide would relive families of the burdens of caring for a terminally ill relative. Doctors should not be prosecuted for assisting in the suicide of a terminally ill patient. We as a society must protect life, but we must also recognize the right to a humane death. When a person is near death, in unbearable pain, they have the right to ask a physician to assist in ending their lives.
Throughout the course of history, death and suffering have been a prominent topic of discussion among people everywhere. Scientists are constantly looking for ways to alleviate and/or cure the pain that comes with the process of dying. Treatments typically focus on pain management and quality of life, and include medication and various types of therapy. When traditional treatments are not able to eliminate pain and suffering or the promise of healing, patients will often consider euthanasia or assisted suicide. Assisted suicide occurs when a person is terminally ill and believes that their life is not worth living anymore. As a result of these thoughts and feelings, a physician or other person is enlisted to “assist” the patient in committing suicide. Typically this is done by administering a lethal overdose of a narcotic, antidepressant or sedative, or by combining drugs to create an adverse reaction and hasten the death of the sick patient. Though many people believe that assisted suicide is a quick and honorable way to end the sufferings of a person with a severe illness, it is, in fact, morally wrong. Assisted suicide is unethical because it takes away the value of a human life, it is murder, and it opens the door for coercion of the elderly and terminally ill to seek an untimely and premature death. Despite the common people’s beliefs, assisted suicide is wrong and shouldn’t be legalized.