Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Battle Against Ethics

Pages: 4 (1386 words) Published: October 29, 2008
Imagine someone lying helplessly in pain, dying from a disease that has no cure. With no hope that person asks to die, eventually begging their doctors for death. In 1990 the Supreme Court ruled that if patients with no hope for recovery can choose to stop treatment. What if a patient wants to go further? What if the patient wants to end their suffering and pain? World Book Encyclopedia defines physician-assisted suicide as: when a doctor indirectly aids a patient with suicide, relieving their pain and letting them die with dignity. Thousands of people die everyday, and a good number of those people have terminal diseases. They die painful deaths as weak and helpless people. There is a way to change how they die. In 1994 the state of Oregon passed the Death With Dignity Act, which allows terminally ill patients of a clear mind to make the decision to end their lives by physician-assisted suicide. Unfortunately, this is not legal in all fifty States. Actually, no other State but Oregon has passed this law. This can change; all it takes is a compromise to let people die with dignity. In the words of Emillano Zapata, “It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees”.

Physician-assisted suicide is a question of ethics for not only doctors, but the entire United States population. Every argument has two sides, in the case of physician-assisted suicide the two sides are the Right To Die movement and the Not Dead Yet movement. The Right To Die movement focuses on legalizing the practice in other States besides Oregon, which is currently the only State to pass a Death With Dignity Act. On the other hand, the Not Dead Yet movement tries to appeal this law and veto any other law that may come along that is like it.

Every doctor is called upon to take an oath before they begin to practice medicine. This oath is called the Hippocratic Oath. In this oath they have to swear the following; “I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and...

Cited: Braddock III, Clarence, and Mark Tonelli. "Physician-Assisted Suicide: Ethical Topic in Medicine." 20 Feb. 2008. .
Brody, Howard. Pubmed Central. 20 Feb. 2008. .
Greenhaven Press. Physician-Assisted Suicide. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998.
Kosseff, Jeff. "Assisted Suicide Falls Off the Radar." The Oregonian Jan. 2008: A1. Proquest Newspapers. 21 Feb. 2008.
McCuen, Gary E. Doctor-Assisted Suicide. Hudson WI: Gary E McCuen Publications, 1999.
Walker, Richard. A Right To Die. Danbury CT: Franklin Watts, 1997.
World Book Encyclopedia. "Death With Dignity Act." World Book Encyclopedia Millenium 2000. Chicago: World Book Encyclopedia Inc. 2000.
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