Doctor-Assisted Suicide is Rare

Doctor-Assisted Suicide is Rare

Length: 625 words (1.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
A new survey published in the April 23 New England Journal of Medicine finds that few doctors have ever assisted a patient's suicide -- but that over a third would do so if the practice were legalized.

 

"This is really not happening very often," says survey co-author Dr. Diane Meier of New York's Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "That's the most important finding. It's a rare event" [Associated Press, 4/23/98].

The survey was based on a questionnaire sent in 1996 to 3,102 physicians under the age of 65; 1,902 doctors responded anonymously. In all, 11% of respondents said they had ever received a request for a lethal injection (euthanasia) and 18% said they had been asked for a prescription for an overdose of pills to end life (assisted suicide). Five percent said they had ever given such an injection, while 3 % had written a lethal prescription; since some doctors had done both, the cumulative total of doctors who had ever helped deliberately end a patient's life was 6%. While most of those who engaged in such behavior had done so only once or twice, one doctor claimed to have written 25 prescriptions and given 150 lethal injections.

 

While responses were confidential and untraceable, the authors note that the survey may underreport these practices. On the other hand, the surveys were deliberately sent to doctors in ten specialties identified in previous surveys as "those in which physicians are likely to receive requests from patients for assistance in hastening death" [New England J. of Medicine, 4/23/98, p. 1193]. Thus the survey may overestimate the percentage of all U.S. physicians who have assisted suicides or performed euthanasia. The survey found that these practices are most common on the West coast, where one state, Oregon, voted to legalize assisted suicide in 1994 [p. 4].

 

Earlier surveys, usually confined to a particular state or region, had produced higher estimates for the frequency of assisted suicide or euthanasia [e.g., "1 in 5 Doctors Say They Assisted a Patient's Death, Survey Finds," Boston Globe, 2/28/92]. The new survey differed from these in having its questions tested beforehand with focus groups of physicians, to minimize confusion between these practices and medical actions which may indirectly or unintentionally hasten death.

 

Noting that 36% of doctors in the survey said they might assist suicides if the practice were legal, the Hemlock Society declared that the results support its position favoring legalization.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Doctor-Assisted Suicide is Rare." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Aug 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=10227>.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Doctor Assisted Suicide Is Wrong? Essay

- Doctor assisted suicide is the act of voluntarily ending one’s own life with the help of a physician either directly, through lethal injection, or indirectly, through pharmaceutically administered pills. Doctor assisted suicide is wrong because it preys on the weak, corrupts the patient-doctor relationship as well as family relationships, and because murder is unethical. Nonetheless, “the issue of whether human beings — and more pointedly, doctors — have the right to help others die has been in the public discourse since before the birth of Christ”(Pickert)....   [tags: Death, Suicide, Physician, Patient]

Research Papers
937 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on The Vegetative State and Doctor-Assisted Suicide

- The Vegetative State and Euthanasia         Much media attention has been directed at the very practical use of euthanasia or assisted suicide on patients who are in a vegetative state or irreversible coma. The truth is that a significant number of such cases actually recover. This essay is devoted to those types, some very young, who would have been killed if euthanasia/assisted suicide had been legalized.   Let's begin our consideration with a nine-year-old named Ryan Atencio. He was taken off life-support systems, except for a feeding tube, after being in a vegetative state following a massive head injury in a December 10, 1988 car accident....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]

Research Papers
2499 words (7.1 pages)

Free Euthanasia and Doctor-Assisted Suicide Essay - Assisted Suicide

- Euthanasia The purpose of this essay is to inform readers clearly and coherently enoughof the terms and issues in the euthanasia debate that they can make sense of the euthanasia question. Descriptions are in relatively simple, non-technical language to facilitate learning. The definition of euthanasia is simple: "Easy, painless death." But the concept of euthanasia proposed by adherents of the euthanasia movement is complex and has profound consequences for all. Because the subject involves the discipline of medicine (diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, medical ethics and so on) as well as the discipline of law, the general public will have difficulty understanding it without some kno...   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]

Free Essays
994 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Euthanasia and Doctor-Assisted Suicide - The Will to Live

- Euthanasia and the Will to Live   The denial of food and fluids to Terri Schindler-Schiavo, the 36 year old Florida woman in a vegetative state since a heart attack, has caused Americans to ponder the fact that any one of them could be in this woman's place for a variety of reasons, like an auto accident, fall, mishap, etc. And most Americans don't want to be treated by their family as Terri is being treated by her husband - being denied food and fluids in order to hasten death.   It is appropriate to be appalled, but no one should be shocked....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]

Research Papers
596 words (1.7 pages)

Essay on It's Time for Voluntary Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

- America Needs Voluntary Euthanasia There are at least two forms of suicide. One is 'emotional suicide', or irrational self-murder in all of it complexities and sadness. Let me emphasis at once that my view of this tragic form of self-destruction is the same as that of the suicide intervention movement and the rest of society, which is to prevent it wherever possible. I do not support any form of suicide for mental health or emotional reasons. But I do say that there is a second form of suicide -- justifiable suicide, that is, rational and planned self-deliverance from a painful and hopeless disease which will shortly end in death....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]

Free Essays
1933 words (5.5 pages)

Rebutting Arguments to Legalize Euthanasia or Assisted Suicide Essay

- Rebutting Arguments to Legalize Euthanasia or Assisted Suicide      This essay focuses on several of the most common arguments in favor of the legalization of euthanasia or assisted suicide - and rebuts them. The language is simple, or, as they say, in layman's terms so as to be easily understandable. The sources are from professional journals, internet websites, and news outlets.   The first common argument favoring euthanasia or assisted suicide is this: "Since euthanasia and assisted suicide take place anyway, isn't it better to legalize them so they'll be practiced under careful guidelines and so that doctors will have to report these activities?" That sounds good but it doesn't wor...   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]

Research Papers
1719 words (4.9 pages)

Assisted Suicide Is Becoming Increasingly More Common Essay

- Assisted suicide is becoming increasingly more common. Arguing the topic is extremely hard because it means the the life or death of a human being. Today, assisted suicide is legal in multiple countries, but only a few states in the US support this. Therefore, creates a struggle for any person wanting to go through this process. Being this is a broad topic, most people are torn between one side, I personally believe there should be a compromise in between the middle. For instance, not just someone going through a troublesome time in their life should have the ability to up and kill himself....   [tags: Suffering, Suicide, Death, Euthanasia]

Research Papers
2261 words (6.5 pages)

The Treatment Of Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

- Physician-assisted suicide also known as PAS has been a topic that has been debated for years, PAS gives patients in critical medical conditions the right to end their lives. Many people think that PAS and euthanasia are the same, both actions include medications in lethal doses, but Physician Assisted Suicide occurs when a doctor facilitates a patient’s death by providing a lethal dose of medication such as barbiturates or a combination of medications to allow the life ending act or to withhold treatments that are used to prolong a terminally ill patients life....   [tags: Physician, Medicine, Patient, Death]

Research Papers
1607 words (4.6 pages)

The Controversial Practice Of Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

- In today’s world, medical advances have grown exponentially from the last fifty years compared to the five-hundred years before. The knowledge the medical community possess about the human body and what doctors can do to treat is simply breath taking. Is this masterpiece of keeping someone alive the right decision. Yes, it can be, but in some cases it is wrong. This is where the controversial practice of physician assisted-suicide comes up. Physician assisted-suicide is illegal in all but four states and in a few others, under rare circumstances, court rulings have allowed for physician assisted-suicide in states in which the practice is illegal....   [tags: Medicine, Physician, Hippocrates, United States]

Research Papers
1585 words (4.5 pages)

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Essay

- Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide There has been much debate over euthanasia and assisted suicide with no agreement in sight. Currently Oregon is the only state that allows euthanasia and assisted suicide in the United States. Like all questions involving the projection of personal beliefs upon the fate of an entire population, this is an issue that may never be resolved. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are methods people may take to end their lives either on their own with lethal prescriptions from physicians, or under the care of a doctor or assistant with various methods, lethal injection and the "pulling of the plug" on life support machines being the most commo...   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
759 words (2.2 pages)

Related Searches

"The survey demonstrates that compassionate doctors want to help their patients but hesitate to do so under threat of legal and professional sanctions," said Hemlock executive director Faye Girsh [News release, 4/23]. In fact Hemlock and other supporters of assisted suicide have generally claimed just the opposite: That legalization would not significantly increase the total number of assisted suicides, but simply bring a covert practice out into the open where it could be limited and regulated. The survey results contradict that claim.

 

Simultaneously with the publication of the survey results, co-author Dr. Diane Meier published an opinion piece in the New York Times explaining her own change of heart on the assisted suicide issue. She says that she once favored legalization, but "after caring for many patients myself, I now think that the risks of assisted suicide outweigh the benefits." Proposed safeguards in laws like Oregon's, she argues, are "unrealistic and largely irrelevant to the reality faced by the dying" -- for example, ensuring that a patient's choice is not coerced is "an impossible task." She adds that "legalizing assisted suicide would become a cheap and easy way to avoid the costly and time-intensive care needed by the terminally ill" [Diane Meier, "A Change of Heart on Assisted Suicide," The New York Times, 4/24].
Return to 123HelpMe.com