The Debate Surrounding the Topic of Physician Assisted Suicide Who gets to make the choice whether someone lives or dies? If a person has the right to live, they certainly should be able to make the choice to end their own life. The law protects each and everyone’s right to live,
In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle establishes that “every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim” and explains this through the dialectic of disposition, particularly between vice and virtue. In chapter four, Aristotle affirms that since “all knowledge and every pursuit aims at some good”, we inherently seek the highest form which is known to both the masses and the educated as happiness through both living and acting well . Thus regardless of whether man is inherently evil or good, we aspire for the highest form of happiness. Through the implications and discourse of vice and virtue, this paper explores the relevance of Aristotle’s moral philosophy in modern day and will be applied to the contemporary ethical issue surrounding physician assisted suicide. By exploring Aristotle’s work through primary and secondary sources, this paper will discuss the greater good and happiness as it relates to not only the patient or physician, but as a member of a greater social circle and that of society because to Aristotle the role of the individual is less important than their social obligations and role. This paper aims to use the rationale of natural law and of Aristotle to explore the prospects of physician assisted suicide as for the greater good and as a modern ethical obligation.
Did you know, about 57% of physicians today have received a request for physician assisted suicide due to suffering from a terminally ill patient. Suffering has always been a part of human existence, and these requests have been occurring since medicine has been around. Moreover, there are two principles that all organized medicine agree upon. The first one is physicians have a responsibility to relieve pain and suffering of dying patients in their care. The second one is physicians must respect patients’ competent decisions to decline life-sustaining treatment. Basically, these principles state the patients over the age of 18 that are mentally stable have the right to choose to end their life if they are suffering from pain. As of right
There are a few different forms of physician-assisted death, such as active, passive, and assisted suicide. To some people they may mean the same thing but in reality, they are quite different. Active euthanasia is when a physician physically injects the patient with a drug that ends their live or in some way is the direct result of the patient’s death. Passive euthanasia is the result of something taken away from the patient that results in their death, such as removing a breathing tube or stopping treatment. Physician assisted suicide is the result of lethal medication given to the patient for them to take on their own time when they are ready to end their life. Some people see these different forms as being the same while others see them as being different. There are four ethical principles that become involved in conflict with these forms of euthanasia. These principles are beneficence, autonomy, non-maleficence, and justice, which act against each other sometimes in the cases of euthanasia. Beneficence is the duty of the physician to have the welfare of the patient is their first concern. This principle sometime goes against euthanasia because of the fact the physicians are stopping treatment, which results in the death of the patient. Many argue this act is the result of not thinking of the patient’s welfare. Another principle is autonomy, according to Steve Pantilat, “Autonomous individuals act intentionally, with understanding, and without controlling influences”
Physician Assisted Suicide 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
OUTLINE Title: Physician Assisted Suicide: Right to life, Right to death I. A. Introduction 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.
According to Mirror News, In October of 2014 a women named Charlotte Fitzmaurice Wise was watching her daughter Nancy Fitzmaurice suffer from pain. She was born with Hydrocephalus and septicaemia which made it impossible for her to walk, talk, eat or drink. She required around the clock care and was fed through tubes. As time went on her health worsened and she would scream in pain even though she was injected with morphine. Wise believed that her daughter was in excruciating pain and deserved to be at peace. Wise submitted an application to end her daughter’s misery, and soon her application would be approved. She was able to relieve her daughter from pain, and made it legal in the United Kingdom for a parent to end their critically ill child’s life if they are disable and can’t speak for themselves.
Physician-assisted suicide is arguably one of the most controversial subjects to discuss or read about within our society. This paper will examine both sides of this discussion, from the aspect of the patient choosing to end their own life based on the quality of their remaining life. Also, the religious factors of the medical staff involved and the moral and ethical duty of the doctors to preserve the life of the patient if there are still means available.
When dealing with Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) ethical dilemmas can come into place. Known as Euthanasia allows physicians to cause death to a terminally ill patient. There are many states that passed the law to allow PAS Oregon and Washington are just two of them. There are five total
The ethics of physician-assisted suicide of terminally ill patients is a very ambiguous topic. Critics see physician-assisted deaths as normalization of the growing death culture that started in 1973 with the legalization of abortion.
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.
Introduction The topic of legalizing Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) has long been a controversial issue in Canada and has recently received increased attention. In 1993, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the provisions of the Criminal Code prohibiting assisted suicide. Two decades later, the Supreme Court of Canada began to deliberate whether to uphold or strike down the law prohibiting doctor-assisted suicide. On October 15th (What is the year), the nine justices of the Supreme Court heard impassioned pleas for overturning Canada’s absolute prohibition against assisted suicide, with proponents arguing laws that consider the act equivalent to murder are a violation of personal autonomy and infringe the Charter of Rights and Freedom that provides for “life, liberty and security of the person” (Connor, 2014). The hearing sparked fresh debates across the country. Opponents argue that legalizing physician-assisted suicide would lead society down a dangerous "slippery slope" that leads to involuntary euthanasia and the killing of people who are thought undesirable. In addition, opponents argue that legalizing physician-assisted suicide gives too much power to doctors and it may reduce the availability of palliative care. The aim of this paper is to make a comprehensive argument in favor of physician-assisted suicide.
Physician assisted suicide should be morally permissible. Patients who are in constant suffering and pain have the right to end their misery at their own discretion. This paper will explore my thesis, open the floor to counter arguments, explain my objections to the counter arguments, and finally end with my conclusion. I agree with Brock when he states that the two ethical values, self-determination and individual well-being, are the focal points for the argument of the ethical permissibility of voluntary active euthanasia (or physician assisted suicide). These two values are what drives the acceptability of physician assisted suicide because it is the patients who choose their treatment options and how they want to be medically treated. Patients are physically and emotionally aware when they are dying and in severe pain, therefore they can make the decision to end the suffering through the option of physician assisted suicide.
Physician Assisted Death The Principle of Autonomy states that patients should have the dignity to be able to make decisions when it comes to their own treatment. (Taking Sides, p. 176). A physician must receive informed consent from their patient before they can move forward with any treatment plan. The Principle of Autonomy also goes on to say that if a doctor were to treat a patient without their consent, they would be treating the patients like an object instead of a human being. If a patient is unable to speak for him or herself then the doctor must perform actions that would be in the patient’s best interest, since the patient cannot make these decisions. (Taking Sides, p.176). Another ethical principle that can be discussed when talking about physician assisted suicide is the Principle of Nonmaleficence. The principle ensures that doctors avoid doing anything that may expose a patient to needless harm. Although this principle states that the physician cannot do anything harmful to the patient, there are certain treatments that can cause harm to patients, for example, surgery. This principle rules out any non-beneficial procedure
Running Head: RIGHT OR WRONG? Physician-Assisted Suicide Physician-assisted suicide occurs when a physician helps in the requested death of a voluntary patient (Smith, 2012). In most cases, the patient is terminally ill. A recent study revealed that pain or unbearable pain is not a major motivating factor for the request (Foley et al, 2001). Rather, the motivating factors are the effects of illness, the patient's sense of self, and fears about the future. Methods used in conducting physician-assisted suicide or PAS include administering overly high dose of narcotics, a sedative or an antidepressant or subjecting the patient to the suicide machine connected to an IV tube. This machine, invented by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, consisted of a saline solution, a sedative and potassium chloride (Foley et al). In 1997, the US Supreme Court determined that physician-assisted suicide was not a constitutional right. However, States were not banned from passing laws allowing it (Smith, 2012). The practice is illegal in 34 States. Four States neither ban nor prohibit it and it is permitted in Oregon and Washington but only within specific and limited circumstances (Smith; Walker, 2001). Both majority opinion and conscience agree that PAS is inherently wrong.