Soc 120 Final Paper

Topics: Murder, Ethics, Human rights Pages: 7 (2545 words) Published: June 21, 2013
Death and Physician Assisted Suicide
SOC 120
Instructor Name & Title
April 11, 2011

Death and Physician Assisted Suicide
Murder is wrong, as one has chosen to take the life of another human being. Suicide is wrong, as one has taken one’s own life. It is not debatable that both of these forms of death are not acceptable within our society. Death of any form is considered bad, however, murder and suicide are both considered extremely bad as both are methods of murder as they are conscious decisions to take a life. In every view, taking a life is frowned upon and yet in some cases death through Physician assisted suicide may be viewed as acceptable. In some circles Dr. Kevorkian was viewed as a hero while in other circles he was viewed as a murderer. This is the country where freedom is assured, freedom to choose what we want to do, freedom to say what we want, freedom to be what we want as long as these freedoms are thought to be within our realms of normalcy within our society. If we are in the freest country in the world, then having a physician assisted suicide for the right reasons should be an option. We live in a country where the death penalty is enforced, and supported by a majority of the people in our society. Some people don’t want a convicted offender to die painfully, so they have changed the methods of death to be less painful. We attempt to lessen the pain of someone who did something heinous enough to justify being sentenced to death, yet we won’t take the pain from someone asking to die to prevent severe pain.

The decision of a person to terminate their own life is not a decision that one comes to easily. Let’s not confuse this with suicide whereas a perfectly healthy person decides to end their life prematurely based on a mood or feeling that one may be having at any particular moment. This decision is made after one has suffered or is suffering for extended periods of time and there is no hope in sight for that person’s condition to improve. Understand that the decision to take someone off life support may also be considered physician assisted suicide. Family members typically make these decisions and do so based on conversations had with a patient or based on living wills.

From an ethical standpoint choosing to terminate one’s life is not a decision that affects too many people other than the family involved, if there is any. This practice is not about what is right or wrong by society’s standards, but what is right or wrong for the person making the decision. “Rather than looking at the consequences of an act, deontology looks at the reason for which an act is done, and the rule according to which one chooses to act. Deontology doesn’t deny that acts have consequences; rather, it insists that those consequences should not play a role in our moral evaluation of such acts.” (Mosser, K., (2010), Ethics and Social Responsibility, Chapter 1, section 1.7).

In a case such as physician assisted suicide the doctor is indeed breaking the law and an oath to save lives. The doctor assisting could be sentenced to jail time, fined, and have their medical license revoked. The person asking for death does not want anyone to get into trouble, but instead wants their own suffering to end. This topic is so very controversial in the fact that it seems as if one person is simply taking the life of another. Would one want to see their own mother, father, sister, or brother suffering if they did not have to?

Imagine a loved one has become sick. The initial symptoms of this sickness are sharp stabbing pains throughout the body. The pain radiates throughout the body for minutes at a time causing extreme discomfort and intolerable pain. After several months of going back and forth to specialists for test after test it is determined that the doctors are unsure of what it is that is causing this. Medication is given to try to help with the pain, but there are no...

References: Mosser, K. (2010). Ethics & Social Responibility. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc
Gomez, C. (2000), AMA, Anti-Euthanasia, Pro-pain control. Retrieved from:
Wolf, S., (2008). Confronting Physician Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia: My Father’s Death. Source: Hastings Center Report
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