Death is a touchy enough subject for people; add in the idea of assisted suicides and there’s an uproar in society. Euthanasia or physician assisted suicide is a very controversial topic in our society today. Physician assisted suicide by definition is “suicide by a patient facilitated by means (as a drug prescription) or information (as an indication of a lethal dosage) provided by a physician aware of the patient’s intent (Merriam-Webster). There are two modes of looking at assisted suicides; either it’s seen as an absurd immoral decision to take away the life of someone or it’s seen as a logical and peaceful release from pain and misery. There’s this idea that asking a healthcare provider to help you end your life is unfair and unnecessary, no matter how much a person is suffering suicide is not justified. People fear patients changing their minds, physicians being severely impacted by this, and families not agreeing with the decision making it hard to cope. On the other side people believe that it’s freedom of choice to choose to be medically assisted with a suicide; this is a right the patient has. Some believe if you’re in pain and dying why should you be forced to stay in a painful state of life. Freedom of choice versus life isn’t ours to take away. If you were in a terminally ill patients position, what would you do?
Doctor assisted suicide is a topic that has recently become a much larger debated issue than before. A timeline put together by Michael Manning and Ian Dowbigging shows that prior to Christianity, doctor assisted suicide was something that was tolerated, and was not heavily questioned (2). Yet, in the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas had made a statement about suicide as well as doctor assisted suicide, and his words shaped the Catholic teaching on suicide into what they teach today. Beginning in the 17th century, Common Law tradition frowned upon suicide, as well as assisting in suicide, and the colonies had adopted the Common Law principles. (2) In 1828, New York passed a law completely outlawing the assistance of suicide, and made it to where whomever assisted in the suicide could be tried for murder. In 1976, California became the first state to allow patients to withdrawal themselves from life saving medicines, and this Natural Death Act was seen as a gateway to assisted suicide. (3-7) As controversy about California 's Natural Death Act increased, Pope John Paul II released a statement in 1980 which opposed to killing someone out of mercy, but allowed the increased use of painkillers (8). Although, in 1994 Oregon passed their Death with Dignity act, and with it came incredible amounts of backlash. Yet, in 2008 Washington state passed the same act to legalize doctor assisted suicide. (10-12)
Once people are diagnosed to be terminally-ill, they only have a certain amount of time to live, and they know that as their disease progresses that they will only get worse and worse and they will eventually lose themselves. These people should have a choice as of whether they want to live out those dreadful days that lie ahead of them, or to simply end their lives peacefully, without any pain. Physician- Assisted Suicide or Euthanasia allows people to make the decision. Although the end-result of both procedures is the same, the technique differs slightly. In Physician- Assisted Suicide, the physician injects the lethal substances, and with Euthanasia, the doctor only provides a lethal amount of a drug to the patient and they ingest it themselves. Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia should be legalized as a federal law so that the patients have the right to decide whether they would like to end their lives when in a terminally-ill state.
The purpose of documents such as the constitution and the bill of rights were created to provide people with freedom and rights. In the United States for example, we are granted certain freedoms such as free speech and the right to bear arms. Legalizing Physician's Assisted Suicide is just another right that people should have so that they may have the freedom to make their own choice when facing death. While I feel that no one should be pressured into assisted dying, I also feel that no one should be categorically denied that right. The right to die should be a fundamental freedom for every person, as The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states, “No state shall make or encore any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities
Physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia is still under scrutiny for a number of reasons. “In spring, 1996, the Ninth and Second Circuits were the first circuit courts in the country to find a constitutional prohibition against laws which make physician-assisted suicide a crime” (Martyn & Bourguignon, 1997). New York was one of the states that followed this prohibition. Eventually, The Ninth and Second Circuit, “allow physician-assisted suicide while attempting to protect individuals from unacceptable harms, such as involuntary euthanasia” (Martyn & Bourguignon, 1997). An assumption can be made, that euthanasia involves a licensed physician to play an active role in this partaking, and it’s where the patient prepares to die at.
Being able to decide the fate of your own life is not an easy decision to make, and is not something to be toyed with. However, when someone is in a desperate situation, and must choose before they lose their mind (quite literally), death may be more appealing, instead of living, and being forced to suffer. By legalizing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, we would provide “vulnerable” patients with better overall protection and health care, give patients (who are excruciatingly suffering and have no chance of recovery) the option to end their lives before they ever needed to go through such an ordeal and giving them peace of mind, and spare the families of the patients the emotional pain of watching their loved one slowly and painfully passing away. For these reasons, I believe that euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide should be legalized in Canada.
To fully understand the issue at hand, one must understand the various forms of euthanasia. The Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: Tenth Edition defines euthanasia as “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals…in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.” Euthanasia can be either passive or active. Passive euthanasia occurs when a patient is relieved of medical treatment and is allowed to die naturally. Active euthanasia occurs when either a physician or a family member actively takes the life of the patient, perhaps through lethal injection, and eliminates a natural death process. Many people commonly use the word “euthanasia” to refer to assisted suicide. Essentially, assisted suicide is a form of active euthanasia in that a person, usually a physician, aids in the suicide of a patient.
Physician-assisted suicide or PAS are deaths caused by a lethal dose of drug, such as barbiturate, that is prescribed by a physician. The physician does not administer the drug; instead, the patient is responsible for getting the prescribed drug in the pharmacy and taking the medication to end his or her life. This alternative option applies to patients who can make informed decision, suffer from an incurable illness, and experience intolerable symptoms (Canadian Virtual Hospice, 2015)).[Extra bracket] Through the years, many activists, particularly those with terminal illness, fought to legalize physician-assisted suicide in Canada. Among these people include: Sue Rodriguez, Gloria Taylor, and Gillian Bennett (CBC News, 2015). [I don’t think this helps your paper to list peoples names, not necessary] Sue Rodriguez, diagnosed with Amyotorphic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease, brought the right to die campaign center stage in 1992. Now, twenty-one years after her death, the Supreme Court of Canada made physician-assisted suicide legal by February 6, 2016 (Dying With Dignity Canada, n.d.). Despite the move toward legalization, however, the debate on this issue rages on among many Canadians. Some people are in favor of the change to protect the patient’s constitutional rights and autonomy, save healthcare dollars, and take away the guilt of a dying patient becoming a burden to their family, friends and healthcare professionals. Although these are reasonable arguments,
Keating discusses the differences between euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Euthanasia is where the doctor gives the lethal medication, where physician-assisted suicide, the patient presses the bottom that gives them the medicine. She mentions Brittany Maynard, who took advantage of the “death with dignity act,” and states she would be loved to the very end, implying she should not have used PAS. Also, she states that the Netherlands was the first country to have passed euthanasia legally. The last final point that was given was the use of the word “dignity.” Dignity implies honor or choice, meaning death without the use of PAS is none worthy. This author seems to be biased and not very detailed. Also, she seems to just state facts,
Before beginning, it is necessary that we clarify the difference between euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. Most use these terms inter-changeably when debating, although closely related, they are very different. Physician assisted suicide is when a medical professional prescribes a lethal dose of medication to a patient, usually one with a terminal illness, and then the patient has the ability to go home and proceed with taking the medication to
Physician-assisted death has been a hotly debated subject in the later 20th and early 21st century. The subject of physician-assisted death and euthanasia brings about a multitude of ethical dilemmas and causes people to dig deep into personal morals and self-evaluation. In this paper the different types of euthanasia will be defined, Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act and similar the laws enacted in Washington, Montana, and Vermont will be assessed, and the roles and viewpoints of healthcare professionals will be discussed.
People who agree with physician assisted suicide and euthanasia agree that overly ill people should have the right to end self suffering with a simple, dignified, and quick death. People argue that the right to euthanasia should be up to the person or persons suffering. Their right should be protected by the same constitutional rights that guarantee rights like freedom of speech and same sex marriage. People who oppose physician assisted suicide and euthanasia agree that doctors should have the moral responsibility to make the decision to keep their patients alive. People argue that their is not a difference between euthanasia and murder, claiming that the legalization of euthanasia will unfairly target the disabled and poor. This will only
Physician Assisted Suicide/Dying is a medical practice surrounding the accelerated process of death among patients who – typically – have a terminal medical disorder that will either end the life of the patient, or have them live in suffering, pain, in a state of life they deem less than minimally good, or less than a life worth living. According to a study done in 1995, approximately 88 percent of physicians interviewed claimed that they had received at the very least, one request for PAS/D. (Maas, et al., 1996) As the practice becomes more commonly considered – and more importantly more commonly accepted – it is logical to assume these percentages will have increased. This increase due to not only more patient requests, but also due to the
Finding common ground on questions like euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) will never be possible, given the strong religious convictions that many Christians, Jews and Muslims have always had against any form of self-destruction. For them, suicide is a sin and killing is always wrong, except of course in wartime situations or when the state has to use force in policing and maintaining order. Their views are based on the Bible or other sacred writings as well as strongly-held religious traditions and convictions, and therefore are not going to change quickly or easily. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, assisted suicide is not a right, and it remains illegal in most states. Liberal Oregon is one exception to this rule, and even though its law permitting PAS was challenged in the courts for many years, in the end the Supreme Court did not forbid the states from passing such laws altogether. Poor quality care in hospitals and nursing homes at the end of life makes suicide appealing to many people, especially those with painful and lingering terminal illnesses which contemporary medicine cannot cure. Many states since already allow patients to refuse treatment in these situations, to die without having to endure extraordinary lifesaving measures, and to withhold food and water from comatose and brain dead patients. Over the last thirty years, the overall trend has been increasingly liberal or libertarian in allowing individuals greater freedom of choice over how
Advocates for physician assisted suicide generally highlight the “no difference” arguement. From this view, there is minimal difference between physician assisted suicide and refusing or stopping treatment (Johnson 3). The belief is that withdrawal of treatment that leads to a shortening of the patient’s life are ethical and legal; therefore, physician assisted suicide should be too. (Boudreau 8). Courts claim that allowing patients to withdraw medical treatment, even when the withdrawal is expected to shorten the life of the patient, is not approving a right to die or a right to physician assisted suicide. The Supreme Court claims that banning withdrawal of treatment “rejected the sanctity-of-life ethic that had long been a part of our law.”