Physician-Assisted Suicide

Good Essays
Physician-Assisted Suicide
Imagine a frail elderly woman laying in the nursing home in pain. This woman is 80 years old and has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and her heart cannot withstand treatment via radiation or chemotherapy. She has less than six months to live. Day in and day out you pass her room and hear her crying out from the immense pain. The pain medications are no longer working. She’s tired of fighting, tired of hurting, and tired of waiting to die. After consideration and discussions with her family she has decided to ask the doctor to help and end her life. The doctor feels remorse for the elderly lady and wants to help but cannot decide if it is the ethical thing to do because he knows that what he’s being asked to do is considered physician-assisted suicide.
How is physician-assisted suicide any different than regular suicide? Does the fact that a person is terminally ill make it right? Who gets to decide if it is right? These are questions people may ask themselves when deciding whether or not they think physician-assisted suicide is ethical. Whether it is requested or not, many would say it is unethical for a physician to deliberately cause death to a person. Physicians take an oath to first do no harm. Others may say that a person has the right to make his or her own decisions about his or her life. In this paper, I will explore each side of physician-assisted suicide and how it relates to virtue ethics, along with how I feel relativist would see the issue.
Does physician-assisted suicide differ from regular suicide? Physician-assisted suicide is when a physician aides in a patients death by providing the necessary means for a patient to end their life. This is usually done in the form of prescriptions. Regular suicide is when a person intentionally does something in order to end his or her own life. So, if I were asked, is there a difference. I would respond with no. The only difference I see between



References: Arthur E. Chin, M., Katrina Hedberg, M. M., Grant K. Higginson, M. M., & David W. Fleming, M. (1999). Legalized Physician-Assisted Suicide in Oregon- The First Year 's Experience. The New England Journal of Medicine , 577-583. Mosser, K. (2010). Ethics & Social Responsibility. San Diego: Bridgepoint Inc. ProCon.org. (2013, May 28). State-by-State Guide to Physician-Assisted Suicide. Retrieved July 12, 2013, from ProCon.org: http://euthanasia.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000132

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Powerful Essays

    Physician Assisted Suicide

    • 2492 Words
    • 10 Pages

    In the medical field there are massive amounts of treatments for various diseases. Some treatments are going to help the patient feel more comfortable; however, some are going to counteract the problem, and others are going to help kill the patient. Physician assisted suicide is defined by medterms.com as “the voluntary termination of one 's own life by administration of a lethal substance with the direct or indirect assistance of a physician.” Any person wishing to undergo assisted suicide in Oregon must be at least 18 years of age and have a terminal illness. This illness must be within its final stages and leave the patient with less than six months to live. Within these six months a patient can request the treatment, but must orally request twice, and provide a written request once as well. In order to receive this treatment, however, a second physician must give a second opinion on the length the patient has to live. In her article, “Physician-Assisted Suicide: Compassionate Liberation or Murder?” Vicki Lachman talks about the option that patients have to request a lethal dosage of medication. She explores the moral conscience of nurses, the ethical and moral issues, and the legal issues that surround a patient’s request for lethal dosages.…

    • 2492 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Physician-assisted suicide, the practice that allows physicians to prescribe medications to terminally ill people to end their lives, is illegal in forty five states and Washington, DC. Oregon in contrast, is one of the five states that have legalized this procedure. One of the most recent and publicized cases of euthanasia (as it is also known) happened there, in 2014. The patient, a former California resident had to move to Oregon so she could get a physician to prescribe the drugs for her. Her story led to a bill that legalized euthanasia in California. The bill was signed into law by the California governor on October 5, 2015. Assisted suicide is also permitted in Washington,…

    • 4278 Words
    • 18 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Human Euthanasia

    • 1909 Words
    • 8 Pages

    Euthanasia is the ever controversial topic in debates in ethics. It is the taking of someone’s life upon request by that person, who has a terminal illness. Laws have been passed to legalize this act, however, there are still many that don’t approve of this and considers human euthanasia as an immoral act and a form of murder. Those who support this act believe that the wishes of the terminally sick patient should be respected. Thus, they respect the personal autonomy of human kind. They are those people who respect the dignity and honor of a person as citizen of this country. The abuse of euthanasia by doctors is nothing to fear. Specific conditions can be established under which a person may ask for and be granted euthanasia (Zimmerman, 2005). Euthanasia can be a fast and peaceful way for terminal patients to die on their own terms and be at peace with it.…

    • 1909 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Emperor Penguins

    • 1001 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Physician-assisted suicide has been and still is one of the biggest issues in the United States and other countries. Euthanasia is known as “act of bringing about the death of a hopelessly ill and suffering person in a relatively quick and painless way for reasons of mercy.” The debate over euthanasia and assisted suicide focuses more on cases with older people, although it can involve younger adults with terminal diseases, or even children. Surveys have shown public opinions about this controversial practice, 71% of respondents say that a physician should be legally allowed to end a patient’s life if both the patient and relatives make such request. Although formal norms against euthanasia are still strict, according to an estimate by the American Hospital Association, 70 percent of all deaths in the United States were quietly negotiated with the patients, family members, and physicians agreeing not to use life-support (Schaefer, 301).…

    • 1001 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Second, we must not confuse VAE with Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS), as the two are quite different. With VAE, it is the doctor who administers life ending medications, with the patient’s permission, while with PAS, the patient is the one who ultimately ends their own life.…

    • 1727 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Physician assisted suicide (PAS) should be protected by law as a right to patients that suffer from a life threatening illness, or pain so severe that they are unable to function as a happy human being. One could argue that forcing someone to remain alive in such conditions is torture, and denying the patient his natural right to die. As far as ethics go, it should not be a question of whether it is right or wrong to commit suicide, the patient will do that if he wants it badly enough. The question at hand is why any person would allow another to suffer in ways unthinkable, when there is a way for them to die peacefully. Whether the question is of the rights of the physician, the rights of the patient, or the ethics of the act, it should remain an option for any terminal patient.…

    • 698 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    To the advocates of pro-life and those who support pro-choice, I pose the question of the moral of Physician-assisted suicide. To abort the sick and the old for society is the goal and the purpose of Physician-assisted suicide. Physician-assisted suicide was originally brought to public attention by Dr. Jack Kevorkian also known as Dr. Death. Dr. Kevorkian was thrust into the limelight after violating the Hippocratic Oath and assisting in the suicide of a Janet Adkins, an Alzheimer’s patient, with his homemade suicide machine, built from junkyard scraps. In recent years, Physician assisted suicide has become a feasible solution to individuals with terminal diseases or the elderly, but it that a good…

    • 113 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Lo. B. (2009). Physician-Assisted Suicide and Active Euthanasia. In B. Lo, Resolving Ethical Dilemmas: A guide for Clinicians (4th Ed.). (pp.153, 157-159.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.…

    • 991 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    An ongoing argument in the world of medicine concerns euthanasia and the right to die. There is an important distinction to make that will be useful later on in describing the difference between active euthanasia and physician assisted suicide, because they are not the same thing. Euthanasia, more specifically voluntary or active euthanasia, pertains to an intervention, such as lethal injection, requested by a mentally competent patient so as to precipitate death. Physician assisted suicide on the other hand is when a doctor prescribes a lethal dose of medicine that the terminally ill patient requests and ingests at their time of choice that will end their life (Scherer and Simon 13). Many arguments have been made as to why this should be legally permissible. Some say that it helps end one’s suffering. Others say that the act is abiding by doctor’s oath to help patients. Robert Young claims that it does not go against moral codes by stating, “It is sometimes morally permissible unintentionally to occasion harm despite the harm being foreseen, provided there is a sufficiently grave reason” (Young 84). On the contrary, legalizing active euthanasia is morally wrong, many physical complications almost always occur, and it goes against the Hippocratic Oath. For those reasons, we believe active euthanasia should not be legalized. This issue is pertinent in many people’s lives and if Euthanasia is legalized, it could lead to the de-valuation of human life.…

    • 3029 Words
    • 13 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Emanuel, E.J. (1999). Symposium of physician-assisted suicide: What is the great benefit of legalizing euthanasia of physician-assisted suicide. Ethics, 109, 629–642.…

    • 1811 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Better Essays

    Physician Assisted Death

    • 2942 Words
    • 12 Pages

    “A physician can sometimes parry the scythe of death, but has no power over the sand in the hourglass.”…

    • 2942 Words
    • 12 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Physician Assisted Suicide

    • 1683 Words
    • 7 Pages

    Should a person with a terminal illness be allowed to die with dignity, taking their own life with the help of a medical doctor? Many people believe that physicians should maintain a person’s life as long as possible. Dying patients and their doctors have the right to choose to discontinue any treatment that serves no purpose except to delay an inevitable death. Euthanasia is intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering. According to Carrie Snyder, “As of 2011, active euthanasia is only legal in three countries: the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland and in the US states of Washington, Oregon and Montana (Snyder)”. Physicians should be allowed to help terminally ill patients end their lives to stop suffering and the prolonging of their death.…

    • 1683 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    When we think about the idea of physician- assisted suicide, we most likely feel as though that the act itself should be considered murder. During 1997, The President at the time Bill Clinton signed into regulations “The assisted suicide funding restriction act”. The regulation omitted the use of federal monies to pay for physician assisted suicide, as well as euthanasia, and also mercy killings in the United States. According to the New England Journal of Medicine Physician assisted suicide is now currently legal in three states, they are Oregon, Washington,…

    • 631 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Medically Assisted Suicide

    • 1473 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Medically assisted suicide is an event in which a physician honors a patient’s request for a lethal dose of medication. It has become a very emotional and controversial issue for many in the United States. The only state legally allowing medically assisted suicide is Oregon since 1997. Although some feel it is unethical and morally wrong, medically assisted suicide should be legalized to patients who are terminally ill because it would relieve them from constant and unbearable physical and psychological pain in a respectable and painless way.…

    • 1473 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Best Essays

    Central Theme: To persuade my audience that physician-assisted suicide should be an option offered to terminally ill patients.…

    • 1705 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Best Essays

Related Topics