Physician Assisted Suicide
SOC120: Introduction to Ethics & Social Responsibility
September 30, 2013
Physician Assisted Suicide
All around the world, many patients have talked about the End of Life issues such as the right to die with their physician. Physician Assisted Suicide is considered a very touchy subject in healthcare because many believe that the physician doesn’t have a right to aide in a person’s death while others do believe that the physician has a right due to the fact that he can help in the death process in a safe, professional and dignified manner. The question still remains upon whether a physician should or should not assist with Physician Assisted Suicide.
Having worked in healthcare, I know that the patient has a right to refuse any kind of care that he or she do not see as a necessary requirement to his or her care. He or she also has the right to die if that is what they want. There has always been a debate on the ways a person can and should die which is as old as humanity. In technologically advanced societies the debate of physician assisted suicide has taken on a new dimension.
If a patient has a terminal illness such as cancer, they have a right to refuse treatments that would prolong their lives. According to the Nursing Ethic article by Sage, patients also have a right to receive high-quality Palliative care to help them care for their end of life issues. Here in the United States we have many hospices which provide in-home or hospital-based Palliative care for people who have reached that end of life stage who are unable to take care of themselves anymore. It is Hospice’s job to make sure that the patient is kept pain free and comfortable until the patient dies whether it is through giving them pain killers or sedatives to keep the patient calm, however, if the patient is still coherent, they have the right to refuse even medications that they don’t want...
References: 1) Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: Knowledge, attitudes and experiences of nurses in Andalusia (Spain). Nursing Ethics. Sep2012, Vol. 19 Issue 5, p677-691. 15p. 7 Charts.
2) Physicians Should 'Assist in Suicide ' When It Is Appropriate. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. Spring2012, Vol. 40 Issue 1, p57-65. 9p.
3) Ethics, the Illegality of Physician Assisted Suicide in the United States, and the Role and Ordeal of Dr. Jack Kevorkian before His Death. Review of European Studies. Dec2012, Vol. 4 Issue 5, p203-209. 7p.
4) Emotional and Psychological Effects of Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia on Participating Physicians. Issues in Law & Medicine 21.3 (Spring 2006): 187-200.
5) Mosser, K. (2010). Introduction to ethics and social responsibility. San Diego, Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
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