The Death With Dignity Act and Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

The Death With Dignity Act and Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

Length: 1306 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Death With Dignity Act and Physician Assisted Suicide
Introduction
According to the American Medical Association (1996), physician-assisted suicide (PAS) occurs when a physician facilitates a patient’s death by providing either the means or the information necessary to aid in the patient performing the life-ending act. PAS has had a long and controversial history dating back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. They believed that there was no reason to prolong life if continued pain and suffering was the only prognosis. The term euthanasia, in fact, stems from the Greek meaning "a good death". It was not until Hippocrates and his Hippocratic Oath, cautioning against deadly medicine towards patients, that a different view was seen. Early Christians held the opinion that suicide or martyrdom was an honorable or noble end to one's life, a way to make the ultimate sacrifice for God. Countering that view, Augustine of Hippo condemned suicide as being a mortal sin, going against God's law of "Thou shall not kill". As medicine has evolved and progressed exponentially since those ancient times, lives may very well benefit from an increase in length but may not always equate to an increase in the quality of life. PAS is one possible solution to this dilemma, albeit one with many ethical and legal debates concerning it.

Literary review
Presently, PAS is legal in the United States in three states - Oregon, which was the first in 1997, and then Washington and Montana both following in 2009. The Death with Dignity Act (DWDA) was proposed in 1994 in Oregon as a way for physicians to legally assist terminally ill individuals who wished to end their suffering and choose their own time of death. It was initially


stalled in the Fed...


... middle of paper ...


...doption of such measures as the DWDA are a real possibility. When that time comes, nurses will surely find themselves dealing with this issue more frequently. Even though it may be legal at that point, the nurse will be the one who has to decide as an individual their personal interpretation of the basic nursing concept of "to do no harm".




Works Cited

Code of ethics for nurses. (2001). Retrieved from www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/EthicsStandards/CodeofEthicsforNurses/Code-of-Ethics.pdf

Lachman, V. (2010). Physician-assisted suicide: Compassionate liberation or murder?. MEDSURG Nursing, 19(2), 121-125.

Rose, T. (2007). Physician-assisted suicide: Development, status, and nursing perspectives. Journal Of Nursing Law, 11(3), 141-151.

Volker, D. (2007). The Oregon experience with assisted suicide. Journal Of Nursing Law, 11(3), 152-162.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Death With Dignity Act and Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

- The Death With Dignity Act and Physician Assisted Suicide Introduction According to the American Medical Association (1996), physician-assisted suicide (PAS) occurs when a physician facilitates a patient’s death by providing either the means or the information necessary to aid in the patient performing the life-ending act. PAS has had a long and controversial history dating back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. They believed that there was no reason to prolong life if continued pain and suffering was the only prognosis....   [tags: DWDA, Euthanasia]

Strong Essays
1306 words (3.7 pages)

`` Killing Me Softly ' By Susan Trossman Essay

- Killing Me Softly Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman, discovers she has brain cancer. She looks back on her full life; traveling the world, teaching orphans overseas, climbing mountains, falling in love, and getting married. So young, but has experienced so much joy. Now, she looks ahead at the future. “Diagnosed with a rapidly growing brain tumor, Maynard says she faces a debilitating, painful and certain death.” (Luscombe 1). Treatment for this aggressive dark matter can extend her life to a median survival of 14.6 months, 30% may live up to two years....   [tags: Suicide, Death, Assisted suicide, Suicide Act 1961]

Strong Essays
1245 words (3.6 pages)

Assisted Suicide And The Medical Field Essay

- Physician -assisted suicide has been a conflict in the medical field since pre- Christian eras, and is an issue that has resurfaced in the twentieth century. People today are not aware of what the term physician assisted suicide means, and are opposed to listening to advocates’ perspectives. Individuals need to understand that problems do not go away by not choosing to face them. This paper’s perspective of assisted suicide is that it is an option to respect the dignity of patients, and only those with deathly illness are justified for this method....   [tags: Death, Suicide, Euthanasia, Assisted suicide]

Strong Essays
1130 words (3.2 pages)

The Death Of Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

- With many terminal illnesses, the quality of life of those afflicted drastically decrease near their death. For many, the loss of function, pain, and other symptoms of the late stages of illness drive some to wish for a death on their own terms. This wish developed into the campaign for physician assisted suicide. Physician assisted suicide (PAS) allows patients to obtain a lethal prescription from their physician in order to hasten their death (MedicineNet, n.d.). It is the patient that administers the life ending medicine, not the physician....   [tags: Death, Suicide, Major depressive disorder]

Strong Essays
1938 words (5.5 pages)

Physician Assisted Suicide: The Right to Choose Essay

- Did you know, about 57% of physicians today have received a request for physician assisted suicide due to suffering from a terminally ill patient. Suffering has always been a part of human existence, and these requests have been occurring since medicine has been around. Moreover, there are two principles that all organized medicine agree upon. The first one is physicians have a responsibility to relieve pain and suffering of dying patients in their care. The second one is physicians must respect patients’ competent decisions to decline life-sustaining treatment....   [tags: Health, Terminal Illnesses, Assisted Suicide]

Strong Essays
2039 words (5.8 pages)

Essay on Oregon's Death With Dignity Act

- America is a champion of the freedom of choice. Citizens have the right to choose their religion, their political affiliation, and make personal decisions about nearly every facet of their daily lives. Despite all of these opportunities, one choice society commonly ignores is that of deciding how one’s life will end. Death seems like a highly unpredictable, uncontrollable occurrence, but for the past 17 years, citizens of Oregon have had one additional option not offered to most Americans in the deciding of their end-of-life treatment....   [tags: Assisted Suicide]

Strong Essays
1287 words (3.7 pages)

Assisted Suicide and the Right to Die Essay

- Assisted Suicide and the Right to Die       The basic dilemma surrounding the subject of assisted suicide is who has the right to choose when someone dies. There are many layers of questions and varying opinions surrounding this right. How can our own self-determination be considered morally wrong when taken in the context of the opinion of others. In a society that stresses individual freedoms why is it that Congress continues to hinder doctor-assisted suicide (Keminer, 2000, p. 8).       First some terms require clarification....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]

Strong Essays
2296 words (6.6 pages)

Essay on Surveys on End of Life, Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide

- Surveys on End of Life, Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide         Two new surveys -- one polling cancer specialists, the other polling their patients -- shed new light on the realities of dying and assisted suicide. The physicians' survey suggests a sharp drop in support for doctor-assisted suicide since 1994. The largest survey ever of cancer specialists in the English-speaking world, polling 3200 oncologists in the U.S., Britain and Canada, was released May 16. Among the findings: * 22% of oncologists support physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients in unremitting pain....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]

Strong Essays
2069 words (5.9 pages)

Essay about Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Debate Continues

- Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Debate Continues        "This could never be a crime in any society which deems itself enlightened." So said Jack Kevorkian on CBS's "60 Minutes" on November 22, on a segment showing the first nationally televised death by euthanasia in the U.S.   Kevorkian offered the footage to CBS to dramatize his campaign for euthanasia for terminally and chronically ill patients. The film shows him giving a lethal injection in September to 52-year-old Thomas Youk, who had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease)....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]

Strong Essays
1772 words (5.1 pages)

Assisted Suicide Essay

- Writing the fifth assignment for the English class was by far the hardest essay I have had to write. Constantly was I running into problems, and this ended up taking me much longer than I had originally planned. Writing about the opposing side of this topic was very hard, as I usually caught myself writing things that I couldn’t make work in my paper. The writing was very tough to keep on track because it isn’t actually how I feel. This essay helped me to better understand the argument that is presented from both sides....   [tags: Assisted Suicide Death Essays]

Strong Essays
839 words (2.4 pages)