The Hippocratic Oath is often invoked against the morality of physician involvement in deaths of patients. That oath declares: “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.”(2012 Kennedy)
There are different ways a person can be involved in assisting in the death of a terminally ill individual. Euthanasia, a word associated with physician-assisted suicide, is defined by the Webster Dictionary as “the act or practice of killing for reasons of mercy.” There are two types of euthanasia, passive and active. Passive euthanasia is when life-saving measures are withheld and the terminally ill person is allowed to die of natural causes. A family member choosing to take a loved one off life-support, which leads to death, would be an example of passive euthanasia. There is little controversy or debate over passive euthanasia. The constitutional right of a patient to refuse treatment was established in 1976 by the Supreme Court’s In active euthanasia, a person causes the death of a terminally ill patient. For example, a person who gives a dying friend a lethal injection would be performing active euthanasia. active euthanasia is presently illegal, Physician-assisted suicide occurs when the individual assisting in the suicide is a doctor rather than a friend or family member. Studies indicate, that many physicians are unwilling to provide their assistance in suicide because it conflicts with their ethical beliefs or because it is illegal. Much of the controversy surrounding physician-assisted suicide focuses on the debate over whether the practice should be legalized. Oregon is the only state in which physician-assisted suicide is legal. In 1994, voters in that state approved a referendum called the Death with Dignity Act, which was enacted in 1997. This law allows doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication to mentally competent, terminally ill patients to use to hasten their own deaths. Between 1998 and...
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