Assisted Suicide Essay

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Is the role of a medical professional to ensure the health and comfort of their patients, or to help them end their lives? Since Dr. Kevorkian assisted in the suicide of Janet Adkins in 1990, physician-assisted suicide (PAS) has been one of the most controversial issues in the medical field today. While some view it as an individual right, others view it as an unethical issue that goes against medical ethics and religious values. Mr. H. M. is an elderly man who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and no chance of improvement. After excruciating pain and suffering, he has decided to request physician-assisted death in his home state of Oregon. Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act (DDA) states that terminally ill patients are allowed to use…show more content…
Although a patient’s choice of suicide symbolizes an expression of self-determination, there is a great distinction between denying life-sustaining treatments and demanding life-ending treatments. The right to self-determination is a right to allow or reject offered treatments, not to choose what should be offered. The right to refuse life-sustaining interventions does not correlate with a right to force others to hasten their death. The inability of physicians to inhibit death does not mean that physicians are allowed to help induce death.
Religion plays an important role in the issue of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. Most of the major world religions are against suicide in all forms, even in the cases of pain and suffering. The Bible says, "Thou shall not kill." This was meant for everyone, not just for specific people. Doctors have the power to save people who are sick and at the end of their lives. They work hard to help people, not kill people. If physicians tell a family there is absolutely no chance for a patient to survive, the family will most likely believe them.
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