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Assisted Suicide for People with Failing Health - Assignment Example

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This assignment “Assisted Suicide for People with Failing Health” will begin with the statement that thanks to the many benefits of modern science and technology, many people who suffer from serious health conditions can be offered treatment which prolongs life…
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Assisted Suicide for People with Failing Health
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Download file to see previous pages As the paper outlines, American society has a strong cultural value of protection of the sick, as can be seen in the Hippocratic oath that doctors take, and the laws against assisted suicide in most US states. These taboos are very important because they provide protection for some of the most vulnerable members of society, but there are occasions on which assisted suicide should be allowed, so long as very strict procedural safeguards are followed. Assisted suicide is currently illegal in all but a few of the United States, but there is some evidence that it nevertheless has been occurring even in states where it is outlawed. A nationwide study in 1998 using a stratified sample of over 1902 doctors found that 18.3 percent of them had received a request on at least one occasion to assist in the suicide of a patient, usually by lethal injection, and that 4.7 percent had actually administered at least one lethal injection, while another 3.3 percent had written at least one prescription to be used for this purpose (Meier et al. 1193). This shows that a sizeable proportion of the patient population wishes to have access to assisted suicide, and a few doctors are willing to admit that they have carried out this wish. This evidence proves that legal sanctions do not prevent assisted suicide and that there is a growing wish in the population at large to have such an option available. A second reason for revisiting the law on assisted suicide, and working out a better way to regulate the whole area of end-of-life-care more thoroughly, is that prohibition in the face of clear demand breeds underground activity which is riskier than a regulated system would be. There may be a much larger number of doctors who have assisted suicide but are not willing to admit this in public, due to the likelihood of severe legal consequences.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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