The Ethics Of Physician Assisted Death Essay

The Ethics Of Physician Assisted Death Essay

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Since 1997, Oregonians have had the opportunity to die through physician-assisted death (PAD). PAD is when a lethal drug is prescribed to a patient, by a physician, for the purpose of suicide. The patient must be able to take the dosage on his or her own, without any assistance from a medical provider or another person. Once the drug has been ingested, it will take five minutes for the patient to become unconscious and thirty minutes for the patient to die (Munson). Since Oregon’s law in 1997, four other states have passed similar legislation, while several other states have attempted.
In order to gain general background knowledge on physician-assisted death legislation, the Oregon law will be described and referred to throughout the paper. Oregon law states that a terminally ill patient, who has a six-month prognosis, may apply to receive the drugs for a physician-assisted death. The patient must verbally request two times, separated by at least forty-eight hours, and then a written request fifteen days later. The request must be approved by two physicians, who have no suspicions of the patient having a mental illness. After the patient has been approved, the physician may prescribe the drugs to the patient, but may not have any involvement in assisting the suicide.
The discussion of suicide generates discussion on the difference between a physician-assisted death and euthanasia. Euthanasia pertains to a patient injected with a lethal dose by a physician or some other personnel. Euthanasia may be voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary euthanasia applies to a patients’ personal request for a lethal dose, while involuntary euthanasia concerns a patient that did not request the dosage. The key difference between physician-assiste...


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..., most patients spend their last months on an expensive machine. The only reason an individual remains alive is due to technology and treatments, which contests God’s will.
Lastly, individuals against physician-assisted suicide deem the process harmful to others around the patient. The physician, family, and friends may be affected by the process. While they may be upset about the situation, the decision and process is fully autonomous and therefore not up to other individuals. An ill human should not be restricted for the sake of other individuals, specifically in this peaceful, planned process. Since PAD legislation forces the patient to take the medication on his or her own, other individuals cease to be directly involved with the suicide. The procedure should have no moral significance on an outsider because they will never play a direct role in the situation.

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The Ethics Of Physician Assisted Death Essay

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