Physician Assisted Suicide : Kindness Or Killing?

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Beverly Unruh
Researched Academic Argument Essay
August 5, 2014

Physician Assisted Suicide: Kindness or Killing?

Legalization of physician assisted suicide has been a highly debated topic over the past two and a half decades. It has evoked many emotions and differing opinions from the public. Surveys show that two-thirds of Americans are in favor of physician assisted suicide in terminally ill patients. But when the issue is at the polls, usually less than fifty percent vote for passage of physician assisted suicide (Quill). It is a topic that hits close to home as many have had loved ones die of a terminal disease or a long, lingering illness. This paper will review the terms of the issue, the history of the issue, encourage the reader to consider better options available to a dying person than physician assisted suicide. Physician assisted suicide is defined as the process where the physician prescribes a lethal dose of medication that the person himself must administer to cause death (Snyder). Euthanasia is defined as the process where the physician actively administers a lethal dose of medication to a patient with the specific intent to cause death. It is sometimes referred to as a “good death” (Darr). Terminal illness can be defined as a disease that will cause the patient to die within six months of diagnosis (Drickamer 148-149). Palliative care is the medical specialty that treats the dying patient holistically (Quill). In 1990, physician assisted
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