The Ethical Principles Of Physician Assisted Suicide

1214 Words5 Pages
Physician-assisted suicide (PAS), refers to self-administration of medication prescribed to a patient by their physician to end his or her life, and euthanasia, the administering of lethal drugs by a physician to end a patient’s life (Lachman, 2015) are extremely controversial topics. For several decades, supporters for the legalization of PAS and euthanasia have served as advocates for terminally ill patients who wish to have an alternative to a long, drawn out, painful death. These supporters have argued that death with dignity should be an option for these patients based on the ethical principles of autonomy and self- determination. With PAS being legal in several European countries as well as several US states, this provocative…show more content…
Dr. Kevorkian makes a compelling argument when he states, “They cut off their feeding and their water. And they let ‘em die. And it’s all legal. The United States Supreme Court has validated the Nazi method of execution.” (Ferguson & Levinson, 2015). It can be inferred Dr. Kevorkian was outraged by this practice as well as the fact that the medical profession labeled this as legal and ethical. In his opinion, this method lacked compassion and violated the ethical principal nonmaleficence- do no harm. Throughout his campaign, Dr. Kevorkian sincerely believed he was providing a needed service. He truly thought he could gain support from the courts and win the publics approval by passionately arguing that self-determination was a basic human right. (Ferguson & Levinson, 2015). His campaign started in 1990, when he assisted a patient suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Janet Adkins, end her life. He continued until 1999, when finally a judge stated, “Consider yourself stopped”, (Ferguson & Levinson, 2015), as he was being sentenced for his conviction of second-degree murder for euthanizing Thomas Youk. Although he was a very controversial figure, his methods and ideology brought this topic into the headlines and generated discussions in the medical and legal communities and in the public arena over the role of physicians in PAS. Despite his confrontational attitude and behavior, Dr. Kevorkian raised important questions about caring for the terminally
Open Document