Monday, October 16, 2017

Essay: Should Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?

“Have the courage to live. Anyone can die,” – said Robert Cody. Indeed, sometimes life becomes too tough and hard for us, and that’s when this thought helps me overcome all difficulties. It is always better to be courageous and choose life over death, no matter how bad your living seems to you now. However, there are persons that have no more courage to live. They also have no strength, no health, and, more importantly, no more wish. I mean people with final stages of incurable diseases - those who are unable to enjoy anything in life, to whom it brings only suffering and pain. These patients oftentimes would prefer to die, still they are unable even to commit a suicide. That is when major moral, social, medical, and ethical topic arouses: whether it is right for doctors to help such patients pass away?

Physician-assisted suicide is a heated topic that strikes people all over the world. It evolves numerous discussions and debates about whether incurably ill patients have the right to die with the aid of a medical doctor. In this paper, I plan to prove that Physician-assisted suicide would raise serious ethical issues if legalized. Not only to say that physicians have the sanction to submit this option, but they could also disregard other solutions. Doctors may also disregard or misconstrue patient doubt and even put patients to death who have not petitioned it. What is the past setting of assisted suicide? Should physician-assisted suicide be legalized? How does faith play a part? All of these, among others are the debatable questions surrounding physician-assisted suicide. The goal of this paper will be to understand the motives surrounding physician-assisted suicide.

During the twentieth century, major scientific and medical advances have exceedingly improved the life expectancy of the average individual (Lavi, 2007). However, there have been many cases where physicians can save life artificially, in those cases where the patient suffers from an incurable disease or remains in a persistent vegetative state while they are not able to voice their wishes for continuation or termination of life. Critics or advocates of physician-assisted suicide dispute that each individual has liberty over their own life. Individuals whose quality of life is uncertain, and who have an incurable illness should have the right to decide to seek help. On the other hand, critics say that physician-assisted suicide is not a good practice for the physicians legally as well as mortally.

This subject has become a major concern to the medical professions, legislators, psychologists, as well as the society. Interests in this contentious matter go on to grow more and more disputing whether it should be legalized. Conceivably, everyone would have one’s own idea and view.

However, assisted death is never an appropriate look of compassion. This shows no care for the individual. Most of the social and legal dispute concerning physician-assisted suicide has centered on the issue of individual autonomy and choice over when to end one’s own life. We should help the dying patient to recognize their self-worth and learn to handle their problems, not to assist them in taking their lives. Physician assisted death is a difficult issue in our society today. Assisted suicide has become the topic of public dispute and lawmaking action across the nation. The U.S. Supreme Court has been concerned in important decisions involving the validation of this process. This issue calls into question the ethical values and legal bases for all hospitals and healthcare facilities.

The Webster’s medical dictionary defines the word “Euthanasia” as “the good death”, originating from Greek “eu” (good or well) and “thanatos” (death). It refers to situation when a doctor induces the death with a deadly injection for a patient who is suffering and has requested the doctor to do so (Snyder, 2006). With the interventions of Jack Kevorkian being played out in the news media and in the courts, Doctor assisted suicide has become the focal point of intense public and professional dispute. This attention was focused in Michigan where he was known as “Doctor Death”. Doctor Kevorkian has assisted in over one hundred assisted suicides. There are many arguments for legalizing physician-assisted suicide.

However, providing more and better practice painkilling and other care will certainly help suppress the demand for assisted suicide.

Arguments for legalizing Assisted Suicide include:
  • Freedom of patient’s choice to live or to die
  • Right of person to make serious decisions themselves
  • Unreasonable physical and psychical suffering should be eliminated
  • Ability to monitor dying patients who wish to suicide

Arguments supporting physician-assisted suicide highlight the duty to relieve individual suffering or stem from a vigorous understanding of the duty to respect patient autonomy (Dworkin, 1998). Finally, physician assisted suicide is a complex and serious issue. Through this investigation, the conclusion has been made that assisted suicide would have bad effects if it was made legal. However, they do not outweigh the other vital interests at stake, nor do they merit the risks associated with the validation of physician-assisted suicide.

Euthanasia helps avoiding the grieving process, thereby taking away meaning from bereavement and making the survivor’s healing more complicated. Throughout patients’ lives, especially when they face death, medicine must make every effort to give them care, empathy, and support they need and ought to have.

However, of course such a major issue as euthanasia has more than one angle of view. It may seem rather simple at the first glance – doctors simply should help patients die if they ask about it. Still, in order to legalize this practice government must carefully examine all the probable consequences and analyze situations from all viewpoints. Regulating such massive topic is not something that takes a simple law acceptance. When talking about legal physician-assisted suicide, numerous ethical, medical, social, and even criminal aspects must be considered.

If euthanasia is legalized, any doctor would have a right to kill a patient. This sounds harsh, but that’s what will happen, as initially doctors are those who give and support life, not murderers. Therefore, the thin line between empathy and murderer will be erased. But what if the patient is delusional due to severe pain? What if he is able to live years if treated properly? Patient death would be a mistake in this case.

On the other hand, legitimacy of euthanasia hypothetically may cause a series of violations, for example from children that want a sooner death of their diseased parent, or medical personnel that may help a wrong patient die. Hence, the question requires more accurate and careful examination in order to consider all probable consequences of law on euthanasia on every level. Described here are only two aspects among a great number that must be carefully analyzed before legalizing assisted suicide. And the more in-depth is analysis, the more violations could be avoided and more patients will be saved from suffering.

As we have just discussed, the physician-assisted suicide is a topic that requires serious investigation. This is one of those complex questions that cover numerous fields, from medicine, healthcare, and social values to ethics, morale, and law. Therefore, it is not an issue to simply consider briefly.

Euthanasia has both a great number of advocates, as well as numerous opponents, and both sides have serious arguments. Thus, it is not that easy to say – I think euthanasia must be legalized, before studying all aspects of this significant social phenomenon. However, I have already made my opinion on physician-assisted suicide. I strongly believe that it should be legalized. Still, this law it will function only in perfect society, where everybody is honest and not able to commit violation or crime.

Therefore, to my mind we first must make or society perfect, and only then legalize euthanasia.

Warning!!! All free example essays, research paper samples on any Physician-Assisted Suicide topics are plagiarized and cannot be completely used in your school, college or university education.

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Dworkin, G., et al. (1998). Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide (For and Against). Cambridge University Press.
Snyder, C. (2006). Euthanasia (Opposing Viewpoints). Greenhaven.
Dowbiggin, I. (2003). A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America. USA: Oxford University Press.
Lavi, S. (2007). The Modern Art of Dying: A History of Euthanasia in the United States. Princeton University Press.