Physician-Assisted Suicide - an Utilitarian Perspective Essay example

1476 WordsJul 28, 20126 Pages
Physician-assisted suicide is “the voluntary termination of one's own life by administration of a lethal substance with the direct or indirect assistance of a physician. Physician-assisted suicide is the practice of providing a competent patient with a prescription for medication for the patient to use with the primary intention of ending his or her own life” (MedicineNet.com, 2004). Many times this ethical issue arises when a terminally-ill patient with and incurable illness, whom is given little time to live, usually less than six-months, has requested a physician’s assistance in terminating one’s life. This practice with the terminally ill is known as euthanasia. Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia is a controversial topic…show more content…
In this case, physician-assisted death is the action in question. Once foreseeable, outcomes are determined, utilitarians review the benefits and the consequences of a physician-assisted death for all the parties involved. Then, a course of action is selected that provides the most benefits and reduces the negative consequences. This approach is direct and logical. New issues and ethical questions have arisen as a result in technological advances in the field of medicine. One of these issues is quality of life for the individual. Is it better to keep a person hooked up to a life machine, if the person has no quality of life? That is there is no interaction with other humans and the person is only being kept alive because the machines are handling vital bodily functions. These advances add to moral dilemma of physician-assisted suicide and to the intense debate if the practice of physician-assisted death is ethical. Furthermore, there are direct and indirect physician-assisted suicide practices. Direct physician-assisted suicide practices include: administering a legal dose of drugs to end a life, withdrawing or withholding life sustaining treatments, and palliative sedation. Indirect physician-assisted suicides are a little bit different in that the physician may give
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