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Assisted Suicides Paper - Essay Example

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The average life expectancy of Americans is increasing due to the better nutrition and emphasis on the improved healthcare. People are able to live longer and be healthier; however, despite of all advances, the number of people suffering pain because of diseases who do not want to live in increases as well…
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Assisted Suicides Paper

Download file to see previous pages... The debates over the right of patients to shorten their lives with the help of physicians will continue and there is probably no right or wrong side.
Assisted suicide is a crime because it involves the death of the person who would live otherwise. Not a single person should be eligible to take away the life of another person, even though this other person is not willing to live. Drugs and medical devices are development to be safe and effective - the intended usage of drugs is to help patients to overcome diseases. Nevertheless, patients who physical and emotional pain caused by the diseases that cannot be cured, do not want to suffer and should be granted the right to stop their sufferings. For example, if the patient is unconscious and there is no hope that the condition will ever improve, the relatives might want to make a decision to stop his/her life. From the religious point of view, any assistance in this direction is a murder. From medical point of view, assisted suicide is wrong as well - the objective of healthcare is to make people healthier, not to kill them. However, from ethical standpoint, it is almost impossible to label assisted suicide as murder or as a good deed because the rights and obligations of each side need to be taken into account.
Moreover, the competent people should have the right to choose death - for example, through allowing to hasten death by treatment refusal. Suffering is not merely the physical pain, there are also psychological burdens and assisted suicide is the only possible way to relieve sufferings. Even though it is the human nature to have the interest in preserving life, the terminally ill individuals lack this interest and acquire the desire to die - the prohibition of assisted suicide might limit the personal liberty.
From the other side, it is unethical to take the life of other people and morally wrong because of religious beliefs. It is also worth to make the distinction between two important concepts - active killing (assisted suicide) and passive (letting die). Assisted suicide is, therefore, equated to active killing. The most important point of argument is that assisted suicide has the potential to be abused - some groups of people who lack access to care might be forced to chose assisted death as the cost-saving strategy.
In 1990, Dr Kevorkian has invented the Mercitron - the machine with improvements over the noose, shotgun and barbiturates which allowed the patients to choose the time and place of death and ensured the painless demise. He did not test the machine on animals or human beings until he assisted the suicide of Janet Adkins in June 1990. Afterwards, he was prohibited to assist suicides for eight months. Dr. Kevorkian's machine and assistance has caused debates in the whole country regarding the right of the physician to help people die and usage of medical devices and drugs not to cure but to kill people. The act he has done has led to the overview of existing laws.
Michigan has become the first place in the world to legalize the assisted suicide. After the criminal trial of Dr. Kevorkian the Commission on Death and Dying has reached the conclusion that the practice of assisted suicide should be legalized (Walsh, 1994). The number of restrictions has been set to safeguard against the abuse. Oregon has developed the "Death with Dignity" which came into effect in 1998. Since that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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