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Physican Assisted Suicide Essay, Research Paper

Physician-assisted suicide occurs when a physician helps a person take his or her own life by giving advice, writing a prescription for lethal medication, or assisting the individual with some device which allows the person to take his or her own life. The physician lends expertise, but the person does the act.

I think that there are many arguments against it. Firstly, there is the old case that all human life is sacred. Not animal life maybe, but all human life is a sacred thing and it s not for humans to decide when another human being should die. I am against physician-assisted suicide because I think that anyone trying to remove a life from the earth is like killing. Any act designed to hasten the death of the patient is equivalent to murder. (Asci, 1996) Another argument against the idea of physician-assisted suicide is the difficulty of doctors to accurately diagnose a terminal illness. I think that doctors, despite some public opinion, is not always correct, and they does make some mistakes. Patients with chronic or terminal illness who seek physician assisted suicide are typically depressed or anticipating extreme suffering. (Firshein, 1996) Many drugs prescribed to patients with terminal illness usually have a nasty side effect, such as depression, or clouding the patient s vision so that he or she would not be able to make any normal judgments. In these cases, it would be uncertain to say if the person had been in a normal mind frame when he or she made the decision of physician assisted suicide. This is compounded by the fact that the terminally ill patients have emotional burden. They think they are disturbing their family, and taking up a hospital bed which might be used better on another more important person with something to live for. These situations happen quite often and it might cloud their judgment. The doctors and governments could easily abuse physician assisted suicide if physician assisted suicide is legalize. For example, if a doctor wished to make a patient feel as if he or she wanted to die, the doctor could. But the doctor could also make the patient feel that he or she wanted to live. Therefore, I think that the government puts a dangerous power into the medical profession s hands. The medical profession itself is also against physician assisted suicide as it argues that it goes against all codes that it has ever sworn to; their aim is to preserve live, not terminate it. Doctor should never be permitted to put down the stethoscope and pick up the poison pill and assist in the execution of their patients. (Verhovek, 1999) Finally, physician-assisted suicide is dangerous and it is an unenforceable law. Many doctors will be able to find ways around the system, and maybe press a case to a patient that they might dislike say that the patients have no hope and should wish to die. In this way, the doctor could be basically just murdering the patient and using physician assisted suicide as an excuse.

Permitting physicians to participate in assisted suicide would ultimately cause more harms than good. Physician assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious society risks. Instead of participating in assisted suicide, physicians must aggressively respond to the needs of patients at the end of life. Patients should not be abandoned once it is determined that cure is impossible. Patients near the end of life must continue to receive emotional support, comfort care, adequate pain control, respect for patient autonomy, and good communication

Legalizing physician-assisted suicide will change the way our society thinks about suicide. We will think physician assisted suicide as good rather than bad and dignified rather than tragic. Legalizing physician-assisted suicide will also change how physicians view life, and will, because of cost-cutting demands of managed care, place doctors in a conflict of interest situation. Managed care may give many doctors financial incentives to encourage ill patients to choose assisted suicide. Already many patients requesting physician-assisted suicide are not terminally ill with cancer or plagued with pain, but rather significantly depressed individuals that could best be treated with anti-depressants and support rather than with lethal injections.


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