What Is Assisted Suicide?

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Assisted suicide in the United States was brought to public attention in the 1990s with the case of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Kevorkian was charged with murder for facilitating more than forty suicides in Michigan. The charges were dropped, however, due to Michigan not prohibiting self inflicted death or the physician assistance of the act at the time (Dembosky). The definition of physician assisted suicide is the voluntary ending of one’s own life by the administrating of a lethal medication with the aid of a physician. Doctor assisted suicide is the practice of providing an able patient with a prescription for medicine for the patient to use with the purpose of ending his or her own life (Will). In most cases of physician assisted suicide, secobarbital,…show more content…
Secobarbital is the medication most commonly prescribed to the terminally ill patients. Euthanasia is a fatality due to an intentional toxic dose of medicine prescribed by a physician (Will). Some of the reasons individuals choose to end their life are terrible suffering, fear of pain, fear of losing of control, fear of being a burden, and the fear of the loss of “Dignity.” Most of the physician-assisted suicide cases in Oregon are linked to apprehensions about lack of independence and control, not the fear of suffering. The most common reasons for requesting euthanasia in the Netherlands were loss of autonomy and "tiredness of life," compared to that of pain and discomfort (Dembosky). Suffering may be expressed by sadness, anger, loneliness, depression, grief, unhappiness, melancholy, rage, withdrawal, or yearning. Patients facing terminal illness suffer in different ways; some experience pain and nausea, while others face depression and anxiety. A major concern is that one's life has ended biographically but not yet ended biologically. Many aspects of suffering cannot be adequately controlled with standard pharmacologic involvement. Physician assisted suicide is an act of consideration that values a patient’s choice and meets an objective (Dembosky). There are many guidelines in place that an individual must meet before acquiring…show more content…
During the process of physician assisted suicide, the physician supplies the guidance and medication, while the patient completes the final act. As George F. Will states, a physician must respect the patients’ knowledgeable choice to abstain from life maintaining treatments. Dr. Lynette Cederquist, who provides pain management for cancer patients at San Diego Cancer Center, is pushing to change California law to allow physician assistance in dying. Advances in public health and medical capabilities for prolonging life intensify the interest for “ending of life” issues. With the reduction of heart disease and stroke, the prevalence of individuals living to experience “decrepitude’s encroachments” have increased. As a result, California legislature has approved a bill for the legalization of assisted suicide. There are many guidelines in place that an individual must meet before acquiring the prescribed medication. A major concern is the financial aspect, as a lower income patient may “choose or be pressured into taking these life-ending drugs instead of pursuing more expensive life-sustaining treatments" (Wagner). There are currently forty-eight states in the United States of America lacking physician assisted dying, but there is a clear desire for the passage of physician assisted suicide in state
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