Weeds vs. Flowers

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Corie Kellar
MWF 11-11:50
The Views of Assisted Suicide
When thinking about assisted suicide, I think about the conditions that these people are in that make them see that decision as the best one. This leads me to ask, would it ever be acceptable to purposefully administer lethal means to another so that they may terminate their life to end pain and suffering? I believe that any individual has the right to say what they want for the betterment of themselves. The differences of beliefs are very understandable from the doctor’s point of view, to the patient’s point of view, but when it comes down to the person that is really dealing with the suffering and the pain, I think that they should be able to determine that physician-assisted suicide is their best alternative.

Dr. Jack Kevorkian is a firm believer in physician-assisted suicide, giving his patients the dignity and respect that they deserved in making this last major decision for their life and how they wanted to end it. His patients thought of him as a hero because he aided them in their major time of need, and they felt very comfortable with him because they didn’t have to worry about feeling awkward when bringing up this method of help. The family members of Kevorkian’s patients were ultimately happy that he provided such ease to their loved ones, and showed nothing but care and respect for those individuals. This decision is a heavy burden to bear because of the feelings that the majority of people feel is wrong and immoral. Dr. Kevorkian was convicted of second degree murder in 1999 because of assistance with euthanizing one of his patients Thomas Youk, who suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1998. He was provided with financial support by an organization called “The Hemlock Society” for his lawsuit, and they also referred patients to him for their aid in finding a caring physician that would end their suffering.

Stemming from the publicity of Kevorkian’s trials, the issues of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide was brought out into the lime light, and really started becoming a public and social debate, but I think it all comes down to the main aspect of patient autonomy and self -determination. Like Sue Woodman says in her book, “Many who once considered death too unpalatable to contemplate are beginning to realize that living can be worse than dying. As a result, more and more suffering people are asking their physicians to help them die, not keep them alive” (Woodman). She also states that “For these reasons, the right-to-die movement has emerged as an urgent social concern for the next century. It is the last frontier for personal choice or, as some regard it, the ultimate human rights crusade” (Woodman).

Then there is the opposing side to this issue in which people feel that physician-assisted suicide violates medical ethics. The American Medical Association has consistently condemned physician-assisted suicide as an unethical practice. It is believed by some that it undermines the trust between the doctor and the patient because they expect physicians to heal and preserve life, not to kill on request, but I would want to be able to trust my doctor to do what is best for me in every situation, including assisting me to die with dignity if life becomes an intolerable burden, and I choose not to live any longer. From the religious aspect people believe that it is God’s place to decide the time and place of a person’s death, but if a person is bleeding to death from an accidental cut, should we just watch and let death occur? Intervening would challenge God’s prerogative to determine the time and place of death. This premise is not really associated with explicit principles or careful reasoning, but based on intuition or a feeling, and can’t be truly sound. Other religious beliefs say that ending life to relieve suffering interferes with the role that suffering plays in God’s plan because the extreme view that all...
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