Assisted Suicide

Topics: Euthanasia, Death, Medical ethics Pages: 6 (2527 words) Published: June 20, 2013
Assisted Suicide

Today there are millions of people who are living with a terminal illness. Many of these people are basically waiting to die. Modern medicine can either do nothing more to help them or they have enacted their right to refuse treatments. Whichever the case may be the question arises: should we have the right to choose to die? This paper will be examining euthanasia and assisted suicide. It will begin by first defining what euthanasia; it will also be looking into the different types of euthanasia; there is passive and active. Next I will share my own personal feeling on the issue of euthanasia. I do believe in certain circumstances that euthanasia should be allowed; after all the law does support a human beings right to determine what will be done their own body. Each person is going to have their own view of the issue; my opinion on it is not going to be the same as someone else’s. Then this paper will define and describe the special populations that are presented on the Pro/Con website as well as how this population might be adversely affected by euthanasia. I will discuss my own beliefs regarding euthanasia and these special populations. And finally this paper will look at the laws concerning physician assisted suicide in Texas. It will compare and contrast theses laws against Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. In George D.Pozgar’s book Legal and Ethical Issues for Health Professionals it defines euthanasia as “an act conducted for the purpose of causing the medical death of a person who is suffering from an incurable condition, such as providing a patient with medication to hasten his or her death” (2013, pg.535). The actual word euthanasia is a Greek word meaning a good death. There are two different types of euthanasia; passive and active. There are also two different categories; which are voluntary and involuntary. Passive euthanasia is usually consider more ethically and morally acceptable by many because it is allowing the patient to die because treatment is withheld. This can include such things as stopping feeding and hydrating tubes, ventilators as well as any other life saving device. Active euthanasia is different because since it takes measures that directly cause the patient’s death such as giving them medication to end their life. Active euthanasia is looked at as always wrong. I found an article on ProQuest that compared two cases of euthanasia one case was passive and the other one was active. The first case was of Dr. Claudio de la Rocha. In October of 1991 he had a patient that had lung cancer and was on a respirator. His patient had informed her family members that she wanted to have her breathing tube removed so she would not have to suffer any more. Her family supported her decision and informed Dr. Claudio de la Rocha of this information. The standard procedure was to remove the tube and administer 40mg of morphine in 3 doses to make sure that the patient did not have the feeling of suffocating. The doctor did this but he also then gave her potassium chloride to make her heart stop which was not part of the standard practice. He was convicted in criminal court for administering a noxious substance. He was given three years’ probation and his sentence was suspended. In 1995 he had a hearing before the Discipline Committee and he was charged with professional misconduct. His penalty was a 90 day license suspension but that could be lifted if he wrote a guideline on how to withdraw life support from terminally ill patients. Dr. Claudio de la Rocha’s case was an example of passive euthanasia. While he did still administer potassium chloride which stopped the heart it was reviewed as a passive case. The article then goes on to look at the case of Dr. Nancy Morrison. She had a patient that had undergone six different operations for his esophageal cancer and was being treated for a severe infection in 1996. His family also requested that he be...

References: Aungst, H. (2008). ‘Death with dignity’:the first decade of Oregon’s physican-assisted death act. Geriatrics,63(12), 20-22 retrieved from EBSCOhost :
Gorman, D. (1999). Active and passive euthanasia: The case of drs. claudio alberto de la rocha and nancy morrison.Canadian Medical Association.Journal, 160(6), 857-60. Retrieved from
Pozgar, G. D.  (2012). Legal and Ethical Issues for Health Professionals (3rd ed.).  Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.  (2012).  Euthanasia  (
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