Death with dignity act - Essay Example

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Physician assisted suicide (PAS) involves a practice by physicians that provide a terminally ill person with some medications, upon the patient’s request intended to terminate the patient’s life. Most deaths by physician assisted suicide (PAS) cases come from terminally ill…
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Physician Assisted Suicide Report 16th, October, Introduction Physician assisted suicide (PAS) involves a practice by physicians that provide a terminally ill person with some medications, upon the patient’s request intended to terminate the patient’s life. Most deaths by physician assisted suicide (PAS) cases come from terminally ill patients who have no hope of recovering. At this point, the patient is in despair and pain and prefer to die now than continue to suffer and will eventually die. Some states have already legalized the PAS process including Oregon and Washington. This paper will argue for the motion that PAS must be a legal medical treatment option for terminally ill patients.
One characteristic of terminally ill patients is excessive pain inflicted on the body by the disease. For instance, cancer patients have to undergo chemotherapy, which is a very painful process. Therefore, patients survive the pain by using strong painkillers that make them loose hair. Other than the pain, the patients lose their independence, sense of self, and failure of some of their systems (“Washington,” 2010). Therefore, legalizing PAS will go a long way to alleviate pain on patients who will eventually die anyway. Smith et al. suggests that PAS does not indicate a poorer end-life-care but love from the loved ones (Smith et al., 2011).
Avoid High Bills Incurred
The US government spends an enormous amount of money to treat terminally ill patients who in most cases are neglected by their loved ones and left to die. On average, end-of-life accounts for 10-12% of all healthcare spending. This includes hospice and home care spending amounting to $3.5 billion and $29 billion respectively (Raphael, 2001). Additionally, insurance does not cover end-of-life care, which rests a big economic burden on the government. As the population shifts to a bigger percentage of Americans in the age bracket of 65 years and above, there is need to legalize PAS law to do away with the increasing number of the terminally ill patients at will.
Respect for Autonomy
Legalizing the bill on PAS will protect people who do not want to suffer lingering and painful deaths by prolonging their lives (UIC, N.d). Most terminally ill patients depend on life support machines such as respirators. Additionally, they have many medical problems including failure of some organs like the kidney. Thus, they require frequent dialysis (Washington, 2010). Therefore, they solely understand the extent of their pain thus the decision of their dying is personal. Legalizing PAS will empower patients to choose when and how they want to die. After all, judges have in the past acted in favor of PAS cases (Religious Tolerance, N.d).
PAS must be a legal medical treatment option for terminally ill patients. Legalizing PAS will allow patients the timing and the manner of their death thus respecting autonomy. Additionally, legalizing PAS will benefit the government by spending less in end-life-care, channeling the balance to other useful developments. Lastly legalizing PAS bill will enable physicians act in compassion and relieve patients of increased agony on a death bed.
“University of Illinois Chicago,” (N.d). “Physician Assisted Suicide,” Retrieved From
“University of Washington.” (2010). “Physician Aid in Dying,” Retrieved From,
Smith, K., Goy, E., Harvath, T., and Ganzini, L. (2011). “Quality of Death and Dying in Patients who Request Physician-Assisted Death.” Journal of Palliative Medicine, 14(4), 445-450.
“Religious Tolerance,” (N.d). “Euthanasia & Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS), all sides to the issue,” Retrieved From,
Raphael, C., (2001), “Financing end-of –life care in the US.” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 94(9), 458-461. Read More
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