The Legalization Of Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

The Legalization Of Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

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Physician-assisted suicide is defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary as “suicide by a patient facilitated by means or information (as a drug prescription or indication of the lethal dosage) provided by a physician who is aware of how the patient intends to use such means or information” (Physician-assisted Suicide). The legalization of physician-assisted suicide would allow terminally ill patients to choose to end their lives at the time they deem appropriate with the prescribed medication from their physician without any legal repercussions for either the patient or the physician. Currently only 4 states have legalized physician-assisted suicide: Oregon in 1998, Washington in 2009, Vermont in 2013, and most recently, California in 2016. In Oregon and Washington it is called the Death with Dignity Act (DWDA), in Vermont it is the Patient Choice and Control at the End of Life Act, and in California, the End of Life Option Act.
The laws have very specific guidelines that leave no guessing room for patients, physicians, families or any other parties involved. Patients must fully recognize and discuss with their physician all other options in treatment and care. A six-months-to-live diagnosis must be given and certified by at least two consulting doctors. The law also contains limitations and guidelines as to who may submit a request, the responsibilities of the attending physician, making an informed decision, waiting periods, written and oral requests, medical record documentation requirements, insurance policies, the right to rescind the request as well as immunities under the law (Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Revised Statute Chapter 127). Under these statutes, the decision to use the act are heavily regulated to protect bot...


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...atient becomes their disease. Allowing these patients to end their life on their own time enables them to feel like their family and friends will remember them as the person they were before the diagnosis, not the shadow of who they are when the disease has taken over. The legalization of physician-assisted suicide would allow the patient to eliminate unnecessary suffering for both the patient and the people around them.
So, is there a circumstance in which one person has enabled or was involved in the death of another person that should not be legally considered murder? Doctors would not be breaking the Hippocratic Oath. Patient autonomy would only be expanded, and they still could not be forced or coerced into one decision over another. And morally and ethically, the physician is doing what is best for and chosen by the patient to alleviate unnecessary suffering.

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