Physician Assisted Suicide

Topics: Death, Physician, Medical ethics Pages: 3 (999 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Is Physician-Assisted Suicide A Solution ?

Physician assisted suicide (PAS) is a very important issue. It is also important tounderstand the terms and distinction between the varying degrees to which a person can be involved in hastening the death of a terminally ill individual. Euthanasia, a word that is often associated with physician assisted suicide, means the act or practice of killing for reasons of mercy. Assisted suicide takes place when a dying person who wishes to precipitate death, requests help in carrying out the act. In euthanasia, the dying patients may or may not be aware of what is happening to them and may or may not have requested to die. In an assisted suicide, the terminally ill person wants to die and has specifically asked for help. Physician-assisted suicide occurs when the individual assisting in the suicide is a doctor rather than a friend or family member. Because doctors are the people most familiar with their patients' medical condition and have knowledge of and access to the necessary means to cause certain death, terminally ill patients who have made

the decision to end their lives often turn to their physicians for advice. However, studies indicate that many physicians are unwilling to provide their assistance in suicide because it conflicts with their ethical beliefs and because it is illegal. The legalization of PAS is a sensitive, yet complicated, topic which is becoming more and more popular with America's aging population and the terminally ill patients. PAS is a social issue which is here to stay. The legalization of PAS is continually being debated all over the United States and offers a potential for abuse. In 1994, PAS laws of Washington and New York were challenged in federal court and declared unconstitutional. Physician assisted suicide should not be legalized in any state.

As society must understand, PAS is challenged for several reasons.

First of all, the "Right-To-Die"...
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