An Option For Physician Assisted Suicide

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Hippocrates said it best when he stated that “wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” Throughout history, the purpose of practicing medicine was to alleviate ailments, treat diseases, and cure illnesses. Palliative care is a field of medicine that focuses on treating patients with advanced, often untreatable illnesses. As such, palliative care is designed to relieve pain and maintain a good quality of life for patients nearing the end of their lives. There are treatments available that provide pain suppression for the comfortability of the patient. However, there are illnesses that do more than just causing pain. Terminal illnesses such as Huntington’s disease can cause one to lose control of their body and ultimately the loss of personal autonomy. Often times, patients reach a vegetative state, which is a loss of all cognitive functions. Loss of autonomy has a detrimental effect on quality of life, and that is why there is an option for physician assisted suicide (PAS). Physician assisted suicide involves the physician writing a prescription for medication in which the patient takes with the purpose of overdosing (Dees et al). Currently, PAS is legal in Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont (Death with Dignity). PAS allows for patients with terminal illnesses to choose when they want to pass. As such, PAS is referred to as the Death with Dignity Act (Death with Dignity), because it allows the patients to demonstrate their
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