A physician’s duty is to their patients to relieve pain and suffering, as well as preserve the dignity of the patient. If a person with a terminal and painful illness is barely mobile, can’t feed themselves, can’t bathe themselves, can’t brush their hair, can’t control their own bodily functions such as using the bathroom, but can request to be assisted in suicide by a physician, then their request should be granted. If the physician refuses due to it being against their religion or believes it is unlawful, then that physician 's duty isn’t being met. If the patient is clearly suffering even with pain medication they are being robbed of their dignity, having to lie in a bed, as others must do everything for them (Bilchik, 1996, p. 18). These patients should be offered a chance to end their pain and suffering in a humane way by euthanasia. This paper will begin by discussing the history of physician assisted suicide. Next, it will examine arguments in favor of such action. Finally the paper will suggest how the law should be written to legalize physician assisted suicide.
The well know pathologist Dr. Kevorkian was undoubtedly the best known assisted suicide advocate in the world. He well-publicized assisted-suicide campaign in 1990 through 1998 (Kevorkian, 1986). He reported ending the lives to approximately one hundred thirty people that were terminally ill and diagnosed as having less than six months to live, and most of the patients were disabled or chronically ill patients (Kevorkian, 1986). During this campaign Dr. Kevorkian became known as Dr. Death. It was said that he was a suicide machine. With this being said to him on his campaign Dr. Kevorkian stated,
I believe that there are people who are healthy ...
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... assisted suicide lobby emphasize the importance of personal choice and autonomy. Shouldn’t patients have the right to end their lives? Dignity in Dying patron, Sir Patrick Stewart has argued “We have no control over how we arrive in the world, but at the end of life we should have control over how we leave it.” (Kevorkian, 1986)
A physician’s duty to their patients is to relieve pain and suffering, as well as preserve the dignity of the patient. With all of this being said the quality of life is very important to everyone, and everyone deserves to make their own life decisions. For someone that is terminally-ill that is suffering and only has a few months to live who choose to humanely end their life, and for the people in a vegetative state who have no chance of recovery. As stated by Dr. Kevorkian, “I didn 't do it to end the life. I did it to end the suffering.”
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