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Physician Assisted Suicide in the United States - Research Paper Example

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In the paper “Physician Assisted Suicide in the United States” the author analyzes debates on the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. Physician-assisted suicide is defined as physicians who provide “the knowledge and/or means” through which the patient commits suicide…
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Physician Assisted Suicide in the United States
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Download file to see previous pages The question then can turn to the reason for the action, whether passive or aggressive, that will end in death. One must contemplate whether or not it is always considered suicide if an action will inevitably end in death. If this is true, as Durkheim points out, then a soldier who bravely enters into a situation that is likely to end in death, but will save others, would also be committing suicide. However, the nature of the outcome is also not a part of the definition or the result of an action. In order to define a death a suicide, then, it is important to consider the intent of the action that will come to the result in death. In considering the different frames of action and thought when suicide is approached, it then shifts to consider the differences that can be appreciated in the reasons that one might wish to end their life. According to Holmes and Holmes, suicide is defined by taking an action that ends one’s life. They do not embellish or extend the discussion in the way that Durkheim does, but they simply define the term as an active pursuit of the outcome of death. They further clarify the ambiguity of the term by saying “suicide is a behavior that differs from one person to another and from one time to another and has different motivations and anticipated gains” (2). Therefore, in defining suicide, one must understand that no clear definition applies, but that it is fluid and flexible depending on the variables involved in the event or events that lead to death. Every year, an approximate 30,000 people commit suicide within the United States. Suicide is the 11th most common cause of death, with homicide ranking at 14th. Suicide is the third leading...
According to Hendin and Foley, “the World Health Organization recommendation (is) that governments not consider the legalization of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia until they have demonstrated the full availability and practice of palliative care for all citizens” (2). This perspective of the argument does not completely deny the use of such assistance, but does suggest that because of inadequacies in the current system, the potential for abuse of assisted suicide does not allow for its use as a treatment.  Doctor Jack Kevorkian became the symbol for the other side of the debate in which the idea of helping people to pass more quickly when faced with a long term illness with no hope found a leader and a face in which to center the debate. In 1990, his first assisted suicide was conducted in which an Alzheimer’s patient named Janet Adkins was helped by Dr. Kevorkian to die. His methods were centered on devices that he built that made it easy for patients to push a button and deliver a dose of medications that would end life. Therefore, when he was charged with murder tin the death of Adkins, Michigan, which had no laws against suicide at the time, had to release him as he did not, himself, deliver the medications that killed her (Nicol and Wylie 151).  Dr. Kevorkian aided more than 130 people towards self directed deaths and became known as ‘Dr. Death’ because of his activism and participation in assisted suicide (Nicol and Wylie 24). Dr. Kevorkian often become an adversary to the opposing opinion on the topic. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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