Physician Assisted Suicide

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Assisted suicide, in recent times has got great publicity in the media. But the debate about the issue goes way back in the history. The question of “whether it is legal to assist in death of a patient who is terminally ill and suffering from incurable pain?” has been one of the most controversial topic. Different religions, countries have different views about this. It is legal in several countries such as Australia, China while illegal in others such as India, Canada. Even among the countries where it is legal, they have very different laws regarding the issue.

Throughout the literature, there have been many arguments both in favour and against physician assisted suicide. One of the most common argument is that doctors are supposed to save lives and not take them. Hippocratic Oath states that physician’s duty is to use treatment to save the patient and not do any harm (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009, p. 149). They also argue that assisting in the patient’s death is not only against the ethical traditions but it may also prevent patients from seeking help due to fear(Ersek, 2004). While, people in favour of assisted suicide emphasize the importance of principle of autonomy. They argue that It should be the patient’s right to decide if he wants to live or die. By preventing patients from ending their life, healthcare providers are imposing their own views onto their patients(de Vocht & Nyatanga, 2007)

Another argument that people against assisted suicide provide is that it may lead to involuntary Euthanasia. The slippery slope argument says that assisted suicide if legalized may result in end-of-life decisions being made without patient’s consent(Dieterle, 2007, p. 129). While people in favour of assisted suicide argue that Slippery Slope is a complete exaggeration and Death with Dignity Act in Oregon is a living example of that(Sharma, 2008) . Involuntary euthanasia is far from being reality in Oregon(Dieterle, 2007). Time has come for us to stop worrying...
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