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The Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide Essay

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Support for the participation of physicians in the suicides of terminally ill patients is increasing. Much of the controversy surrounding physician-assisted suicide however focuses on the debate over whether the practice should be legalized. A woman suffering from cancer became the first person known to die under the law of physician-assisted suicide in March of 1998. In 1994, voters in Oregon approved a referendum called the Death with Dignity Act, which was enacted in 1997. This law allows patients who have been given six months or less to live that wish to hasten their deaths to obtain lethal doses of medication prescribed by two doctors. Between 1998 and 2000, ninety-six lethal prescriptions were written, and seventy patients took the fatal doses. Physician-assisted suicide is only legal in the states of Washington and Oregon, meaning in the rest of the country, the practice remains illegal. Many patients are unable to get the help necessary to end their lives and must involuntarily endure unbearable pain. Some terminally ill patients have to experience an intolerably poor quality of life and would prefer to end their life rather than continue until their body finally gives up. Physician-assisted suicide should be legalized because it offers terminally ill people the option to end their lives when they feel it is no longer worth living with the help of a physician.
Jack Kevorkian, also known as “Dr. Death." made a “Suicide Machine” on September 17, 1998. His invention injected lethal doses of medications into a patient, which then caused them to die. His first patient was Janet Adkins, who had Alzheimer’s disease. She requested the procedure because she felt she could no longer go through the rest of her life with the stru...


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...sician-Assisted Suicide Legalization." Speech. 11 Oct. 2005. Www.euthanasia.procon.org. Web. 08 Oct. 2013. .
Suicide Facts at a Glance. Data Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 Aug. 2009. Web. 09 Oct. 2013. .
Tiedemann, Marlisa, and Dominique Valiquet. EUTHANASIA AND ASSISTED SUICIDE:INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCES. Publication no. PRB 07-03E. Comp. Law and Government Division. N.p.: Library of Parliament, 2008. EUTHANASIA AND ASSISTED SUICIDE:INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCES. Library of Parliament, revised 17 july 2008. Web. 10 Oct. 2013. .

"Washington." Patients Rights Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2013. .



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The Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide Essay - Support for the participation of physicians in the suicides of terminally ill patients is increasing. Much of the controversy surrounding physician-assisted suicide however focuses on the debate over whether the practice should be legalized. A woman suffering from cancer became the first person known to die under the law of physician-assisted suicide in March of 1998. In 1994, voters in Oregon approved a referendum called the Death with Dignity Act, which was enacted in 1997. This law allows patients who have been given six months or less to live that wish to hasten their deaths to obtain lethal doses of medication prescribed by two doctors....   [tags: terminally ill patients, euthanasia, dignity]
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