Physician-Assisted Suicide

Essay by TL777College, UndergraduateB+, April 2002

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Physician-Assisted Suicide

"Whose life is it anyways?"

A plea for death by the late Sue Rodriguez from British Columbia Canada, a patient with ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease) with every intention of taking her own life. Sue was aided in her suicide by A Canadian Physician in violation of Canadian law. Throughout North America, Committing suicide or attempting to commit suicide is not a legal offense. However, helping another human to commit suicide is a criminal act, with only one exception, the state of Oregon. Oregon is the only state, which allows patients, which are terminally ill and in intractable pain to receive a lethal prescription or dose from a physician, causing death. This is called Physician- Assisted suicide or PAS.

The ethics of PAS continue to be debated. Some argue that PAS is ethical. Often this is argued on the grounds that PAS may be a rational choice for a person who is choosing to die to escape unbearable suffering.

Furthermore, the physician's duty to help their patient at all costs may be a scapegoat to justify the act of providing this type of assistance. These arguments are mostly based on the notion of individuals having the right to govern themselves, patients argue the fact that if they have the right to choose the course of their life, why can they not choose or decide how it will end? This is known as Respect for autonomy. Many patients argue about Justice. Justice requires that we all should be treated equal. So if someone has the right to refuse treatment to hurry death, why can't the complete opposite go into affect to have certain drugs administered inducing death instead of withheld. Others argue that PAS is unethical. Often these opponents argue that PAS completely contradicts the traditional duty...