Physician assisted suicide or PAS is a controversial topic in the world today. But the important question is, should physician assisted suicides be allowed in cases such as: the patient’s suffering is far too great and there is no chance of them getting better? This is a highly debated issue, that has activist groups on both sides fighting for what they think is the right thing to do. Physician assisted suicides can stop the excruciating pain a patient is in, especially if there is nothing that can be done to stop the pain. Or it can be done for a patient that fully understands that there is nothing that can be done to save their life, so as not to put their loved ones into financial hardship. In this
Physician assisted suicide was brought to mainstream attention in the 1990’s due to Dr. Kevorkian’s “suicide machine," who claims to have assisted over 100 suicide deaths of terminally ill patients with Alzheimer’s disease (Dickinson, p. 8). In the early 1990’s, for the first time in United States history the issue was brought to the voting polls in California, Washington, and Oregon (Dickinson, p. 9). The bill was passed in Oregon; legally allowing physicians to facilitate death of the terminally ill, but voters fails to pass the bill in Washington and California (Dickinson, p. 9). In 2008 voters in Washington State passed the Washington Death with Dignity Act (Dickinson, p. 277). Today
Oregon’s physicians are required by law to recommend hospice and palliative care, but are often not qualified, therefore only thirteen percent of dying patients get to hear their alternatives. (Hendin) Oregon also does not require a psychiatric evaluation when a patient makes a request for suicide. (Hendin) Studies have shown that 13-77% of patients who request assisted suicide are suffering from depression; however, psychiatrists believe that depression is a normal response to a severe illness. (Boyd) Also, patients who are aware they are going to receive a psychological evaluation which may allow them to commit suicide may lie during the evaluation so that they seem fine.
Furthermore, the practice of assisted suicide has a significant possibility of being abused. Assisted suicides are designed to allow those who are seriously ill and suffer from extreme pain to easily end their lives (Braddock and Tenelli 1). Those who lack support from members of their family or friends may feel worthless and hence may desire to end their lives (Pretzer 2). If the patient has no loved ones to confide to and receive support from, they may feel as if no one cares and therefore no reason to live exists. Since assisted suicides are unregulated, doctors may allow patients wishing to die for subordinate reasons, such as the one previously stated, instead of suffering reasons to commit suicide. Moreover, “Patients who want to die for psychological or emotional reasons could convince doctors to help them end their lives” (Messerli 3). As stated before, assisted suicides are not meant to allow those with emotional or mental problems to end their lives. If someone has such problems, they should
1. (problem – PAS): In today’s society, Physician Assisted Suicide is one of the most questionable and debatable issues. Many people feel that it is wrong for people to ask their doctor to help them end their life; while others feel it is their right to choose between the right to life and the right to death. “Suffering has always been a part of human existence.” (PAS) “Physicians have no similar duty to provide actions, such as assistance in suicide, simply because they have been requested by patients. In deciding how to respond to patients ' requests, physicians should use their judgment about the medical appropriateness of the request.” (Bernat, JL) Physician Assisted Suicide differs from withholding or discontinuing medical treatment, it consists of doctors providing a competent patient with a prescription for medication to aid in the use to end their life.
The American movement to expand legal access to physician-assisted suicide has been waging on for decades, making significant progress in humanizing death with dignity and reducing the social taboos against the movement, but has made relatively little progress in creating federally protected access to physician-assisted suicide. It is fundamental that physicians and insurance companies are involved and actively working with the PAS movement
Having the option to die with dignity requires many laws that need to be followed in order to go through with it. It is illegal for a physician to assist a patient with suicide without meeting all required criteria; if done, it could result in severe consequences. According to the Death with Dignity National Center, the patient must me 18 years or older, currently a resident or in the process of becoming one, capable of making and communicating health care decisions for themselves, and diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months (2015). If those criteria are met, the process cannot start right away and there is more that needs to be done. The patient needs to verbally request to the physician two times with a 15-day waiting period in between. A written request to the physician is then required and needs to be witnessed by two individuals who are not family members or primary caregivers, usually two other physicians. The patient is able to abrogate their requests at any time and must be able to self-administer their own medication (Death and Dignity National Center, 2015). These laws ensure that there is no chance that the patient is forced to hasten their death. If at any time in the process that the
Physician assisted suicide becoming legal will not make tons of people go out and use it. Haider Javed Warraich, a clinical researcher, defends this. His article “On Assisted Suicide, Going Beyond ‘Do No Harm’” argues how assisted suicide can be a solution for terminally ill patients who continue to lose control over their lives. Warraich analyzes how barely 35 percent of those who request the medication actually follow through with it.
Advances in medical treatments have raised the average life expectancy of people in Canada. However, it fails to guarantee a perfectly healthy life for people who experience incurable diseases. The rising interest in Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Canada, is an outcome of the desire of people to have a greater control over their lives in terms of their capacity to determine death when the patients are terminally ill.
There is always extortion in everything that is done, so many argue that there will be at least one person that will be killed unjustly. Pro-life advocates argue that if one person is sacrificed it is not worth it; physician-assisted suicide should not be legalized. In Robert P. Jones’s book, Liberalism’s Troubled Search for Equality: Religion and Cultural Bias in the Oregon Physician-Assisted Suicide Debates, he offers insight to different peoples view on physician-assisted suicide, and there was one person, George Eighmey, that contradicted what pro-life advocates are articulating about sacrifice.
In fact, many organizations exist to totally minimize the suffering of terminally ill individuals while also allowing them to be with their loved ones. Organizations such as hospice are far better alternatives than simply killing oneself. Despite my belief on this issue, many believe that such palliative care is not so immediately available to everyone. In her essay, Angell says “[She has] no doubt that if expert palliative care were available to everyone who needed it, there would be few requests for assisted suicide”(114). The notion of expert palliative care not being able to everyone is a very valid concern for patients who are deciding whether or not to undergo physician-assisted suicide. By saying expert palliative care, Angell is referring to hospice organizations
In today’s society, suicide, and more controversially, physician assisted suicide, is a hotly debated topic amongst both every day citizens and members of the medical community. The controversial nature of the subject opens up the conversation to scrutinizing the ethics involved. Who can draw the line between morality and immorality on such a delicate subject, between lessening the suffering of a loved one and murder? Is there a moral dissimilarity between letting someone die under your care and killing them? Assuming that PAS suicide is legal under certain circumstances, how stringent need be these circumstances? The patient must be terminally ill to qualify for voluntary physician-assisted suicide, but in the eyes of the non-terminal patients with no physical means to end their life, the ending of their pain through PAS may be worth their death; at what point is the medical staff disregarding a patient’s autonomy? Due to the variability of answers to these questions, the debate over physician-assisted suicide is far from over. However, real life occurrences happen every day outside the realm of debate and rhetoric, and decisions need to be made.
The issues surrounding assisted suicide are multifaceted. One could argue the practice of assisted suicide can appear to be a sensible response to genuine human suffering. Allowing health care professionals to carry out these actions may seem appropriate, in many cases, when the decision undoubtedly promotes the patient's autonomy. From this viewpoint, the distinctions made between assisted suicide and the withholding of life-sustaining measures appears artificial and tough to sustain. In many cases, the purpose and consequences of these practices are equivalent. On the contrary, if
The topic that my group chose for the AP Capstone group project was Physician Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, as we all thought that it would be a topic that would be interesting to write about. Additionally, my group was curious about the topic, and personally, I have aspirations to have some sort of career in the medical field one day. Another member in our group was very interested in law, and the other was curious about the topic, so we decided to go with the topic of physician assisted suicide and euthanasia. However, we originally thought that the group paper would be a very easy assignment as we, as a group had worked on other papers together before, but having our papers flow together and editing down repeated or unnecessary information was way harder than I
In 1994, Oregon voters passed the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, which exempted, “from civil or criminal liability physicians who, in compliance with specific safeguards, dispense or prescribe (but not administer) a lethal dose of drugs upon the request of the terminally ill patient.” Oregon, to this day, remains the only state within the Union to allow physician-assisted suicide. In 1997, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a landmark case that, although there was no constitutionally protected right to physician-assisted suicide, states have permitted to pass laws allowing it. Thus, the issue of euthanasia remains widely open to philosophical, political, legal, and ethical challenges.