Assisted suicide - Research Paper Example

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Since the mid-1970s, countless arguments over whether physician-assisted suicides are ethical or not, have raged within the medical field as well as among the general public and popular media. Though the arguments weigh more or less evenly against each other, it is the…
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Assisted suicide
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Download file to see previous pages In physician-assisted suicide, the physician prescribes the lethal dose, knowing the patient intends to end their life.
The argument in favor of euthanasia usually justifies itself by citing compassion for the pain and suffering of terminally ill or respect for “patient autonomy.” (Hendin, 2004). The online Medical Dictionary defines “patient autonomy” as:
“Patient Autonomy: The right of patients to make decisions about their medical care without their health care provider trying to influence the decision. Patient autonomy does allow for health care providers to educate the patient but does not allow the health care provider to make the decision for the patient.”
These two bases are often made ineffective. The physician may have the best intentions in their heart for the patient and yet harm the patient unknowingly. And on the other side, patient autonomy is useless if the patients are not made aware of the options available to them by a physician who is trained to do so.
Although it might be true that the concerned physician is indeed compassionate to his or her patient’s needs, it is also possible that the physician does not know best. It has often been seen that due to lack of experience or skill, the physician has misdiagnosed the patient’s illness and perhaps sent someone who could have been cured to his or her death.
This argument is meant to be an assertion of the patient’s right to choose death over life. But can any member of society, one who is inextricably connected to other members of the society, really be allowed to exercise their freedom of choice in any manner they choose? If that was true, it would be completely acceptable for us to say, murder our neighbor just because we chose to.
In its favor, Peter Rogatz in “The Positive Virtues of Physician-Assisted Suicide” states that human dignity is often at stake for patients. Even if they are not terminally ill or are not suffering from ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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