Argument Against Physician Assisted Suicide

Essay by SikosmHigh School, 11th gradeA+, October 2006

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Physician assisted suicide should not be legalised. Assisted suicide is no better than suicide, in fact it is even worse: how can physicians, who have made oaths to promote life and health, even consider helping a patient to die? Doctors must live by the Hippocratic Oath; this goes against what a doctor stands for and is just murder. It is wrong to kill someone else even if they ask to be killed - even if the death is painless. In a state of weakness, confusion and despair, how can it be known conclusively that patients asking for euthanasia understand what it is they are asking? Death is irreversible; physicians cannot lay the responsibility on the patient and say "he wanted to die!" when there is a possibility that they misunderstood. If legalised there is a danger that patients could be coerced into accepting suicide in order to make room for other patients in hospitals, cut costs and free up resources.

Patients who could be considered for assisted suicide may not want to die, but feel that they are a "waste of time and space" and do not deserve further help. Everyone has an inalienable right to life, however, and no one deserves to live more than anyone else. As medical research is on-going and fallible, physicians may find cures for diseases once incurable and also misdiagnose patients. It is often said by proponents of assisted suicide that it lets people die with dignity; but it is not dignified, it is the coward's way. We should be commending those who are brave enough to live even while suffering.

All doctors take the Hippocratic Oath or other similar oaths: "To practice and prescribe...for the good of my patients, and to try to avoid harming them...To keep the good of the patient...