February 12, 2009
By Salma_H SILVER, San Diego, California
Salma_H SILVER, San Diego, California
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Salma Hashi

There are many ways to regard the term physician-assisted suicide. Some refer to it as 'death with dignity,' others, 'euthanasia.' Assisted suicide needs no other name, seeing as it does refer to the process in which a certified physician provides a terminally ill patient the wherewithal to commit suicide, upon the patient's request. This process not only violates the Hippocratic Oath , but would also open floodgates to trivial patients' suicides and other, more perilous abuses.
When doctors first receive their medical degree, they are obligated to make a sworn statement, called the Hippocratic Oath, in which they must swear to 'do no harm.' Physicians also swear not to give anyone a lethal injection if asked. Aiding a patient in dying by providing them with the lethal injection to end their lives would violate this oath.
If physician assisted suicide were to be legalized, there would be pressures put upon patients to use this method as opposed to more effective treatment. For instance, in Oregon, a 54 year old woman named Barbara Wagner was denied effective treatment for her lung cancer, and instead was offered a lethal injection by the Oregon Department of Health. Note that Oregon had legalized physician-assisted suicide with the help of the Oregon Death With Dignity Act in 1997. The law requires the patient to first write a request for a lethal dose of medicine from the doctor, which must be witnessed by two people. Even though witnesses are required for the request, there is none required at the death. So there is a chance that an heir or a 'stressed-out' caretaker could carry out the injection without the patient's consent.
However, some insist that assisted suicide should be an option for a person who is enduring an incurable ailment, and is looking for an escape. They claim that a physician's duty is to relieve pain, and aiding patient in killing themselves would do just that. But they fail to see that this method goes against exactly what the physicians are really supposed to do: preserve human life. Killing, or helping kill, the patient is the exact opposite.
As I had mentioned earlier, abuses of the privilege would follow if assisted suicide were to be legalized. Mentally unstable individuals would request the lethal injection, even though they themselves are able to receive help from psychiatrists and counselors. Likewise, doctors may offer euthanasia to worse patients, as opposed to effective treatment. They may just give up on possible recovery way too early,
and denies the prospect of the exposure of a physician error .
In many countries, physicians are barred from using this method because of this risk of physician error and the fact that it demeans the value of the human life. The only places where physician-managed death is legal are the Netherlands, Oregon, and Washington. The latter had legalized it just recently, because of Initiative 1000, which has since redefined suicide as a medical treatment .
In summary, assisted suicide has many perils that would end up hurting
the people administering the injections as well as the people surrounding, including abuses of the injections by doctors and patients alike and violations of the Hippocratic Oath, which all physicians have gone by throughout time. Suicide itself is considered erroneous, why would assisted suicide be any different?
Protect the vulnerable.

The author's comments:
This is an argument essay that I have done for my english class, for I am preparing for the AP English Lagnuage and Composition Exam. This was a practice essay to prepare.

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