Death, despite various definitions of the concept, is an unavoidable part of life in which all persons will one day become acquainted. However one prefers to essentially exist and prolong this event is completely his or her choice. Or is it? What, then, if an individual should choose death itself? Should that person, regardless of the reason for hastening death, be denied assistance if sought after?
The concept of physician-assisted suicide has been a topic of debate since the birth of medicine. Controversy even surrounds its name as the term “suicide” is associated with a form of mental illness and irrational behavior, both of which are to be prevented it if at all possible according to medical obligation (Quill and Greenlaw). Physician assisted death/suicide occurs when a physician provides a medical means of death and instruction to a patient but does not administer the actual cause of death (Lonnquist and Weiss 389-91). This is quite different than the concept of active euthanasia in which a physician directly administers the cause of death. Recognized as far back as the 5th century BCE in the ancient Hippocratic Oath, the origin of this practice cou...
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...hy E., and Greenlaw, Jane. "Physician Assisted Death." From Birth to Death and Bench to Clinic: The Hastings Center Bioethics Briefing Book for Journalists, Policymakers, and Campaigns. Garrison: Hastings Center, 2008. 137- 42. Physician Assisted Death. Web. 5 Nov. 2013. http://www.thehastingscenter.org/Publications/BriefingBook/Detail.aspx?id=220 2.
5. Reich, Warren T. "The Hippocratic Oath." Encyclopedia of Bioethics. Revised ed. N.p.: n.p., 1995. University of Minnesota Human Rights Library. Web. 5 Nov. 2013.
6. Roberts, John, and Kjellstra, D. Carl. "Jack Kevorkian: A Medical Hero." BMJ. JSTOR, 8 June 1996. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.
7. "Frontline: The Kevorkian Verdict: The Thanatron." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/kevorkian/aboutk/thanatronblurb.html
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