Physician Assisted Death As A Person 's Ethno Cultural Identity

1673 Words7 Pages
As complex an issue as physician assisted-death is, it is also one of great merit that offers an opportunity to explore a better understanding of the human experience. Physician assisted-death is often coupled with the term euthanasia and although it can be seen as a form of euthanasia, it differs in that the patient is in the control of the process through which they commit the act of suicide. In the consideration of the role of a human service professional during the procedure that is physician assisted-death (PAD), it is important to note the cultural and socioeconomic differences that affect both the understanding of PAD and a patient’s decision about the matter. A person’s ethno-cultural identity will give them a certain view on what…show more content…
Suicide in Greek and Roman culture was widely accepted because of their view on what it meant to be of good health. Good health was equated to physical health. When one was of poor health, their quality of life was in decline and they would become of no use to the State, and therefore to commit suicide was an act capable of understanding. As suicide was an acceptable norm in these societies, assisted-death was also documented as being a suitable procedure, “Roman literature records numerous references to physicians helping their patients die, either through providing poisons or cutting veins, to facilitate a quick and relatively painless death“ (Rosenfeld, 2004). Though these practices were widely accepted, they were not without criticisms.
The shift in the Western cultural acceptance of suicide and physician assisted-death began with Hippocrates’ philosophical perspective on medical illness that addressed poor health by attending to pain symptoms and making adjustments to more than just the physical well-being of the individual - a practice which was not fully indoctrinated, but which gained momentum by the second and third centuries (Rosenfeld, 2004). Similar to early Greek and Roman beliefs in assisted suicide, Japanese and Italian villagers had institutionalized practices condoning suicide. “ the Japanese and Italian villagers, on the other hand, were taken to a high mountain where their children (usually an elder son) facilitated their deaths by pushing
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