Physician-Assisted Suicide: Ethical or Immoral?

May 9, 2011
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Death is a natural part of life that happens every day. If it does not occur naturally, you have what is called a murder. Say you’re a seventy year old cancer patient who has tried everything. You are near your death and in a lot of pain, but now you have to play the waiting game. Instead of waiting for your death to approach, you could end everything in that moment. It’s quick, easy, and painless. Physician-assisted suicide is illegal right now in all states except Oregon and Washington. If it were made legal though, it could help a lot of suffering patients in as little as five minutes.

It has been a big controversy in the courts in deciding if physician assisted suicide should be illegal or legal. People have said it’s considered murder because it is unnatural and the patients requesting such services do not always have the mental ability to make choices for themselves. Since it is only legal in the states of Washington and Oregon, it is not a commonly discussed topic for doctors in the United States. This then can cause mistakes and the inability to improve the quality of this procedure. If physician-assisted suicide was made legal then discussions about this topic would help to better the procedures. Physicians are also expected to do no harm to a person’s life and to try and preserve; however, physician assisted suicide is diminishing that. Religious communities and churches are also tremendously against this and say that it is totally unethical.

A man, who got a lot of publicity for physician-assisted suicide is Jack Kevorkian, also known as “Dr. Death.” He made a “Suicide Machine” that would inject people with lethal doses of medications and they would then just drift away. It was as easy as putting your dog to sleep and, if you think about it, it is exactly the same. His first patient that he tried his suicide machine on was Janet Adkins. She had Alzheimer’s disease and asked him to do it so she wouldn’t have to go through the rest of her life with the pain and not remembering anything. Dr. Kevorkian did his procedures in Michigan because at the time they did not have any laws against physician-assisted suicide. After he did this, he was convicted of first degree murder. At this trial though, he was not sentenced to anything until after he used his machine on Thomas Youk, a patient who had Lou Gehrig’s disease. He performed the lethal injection on him on the CBS program 60 Minutes. After it was broadcasted he was then convicted of second degree murder on March 26, 1999. No more assisted suicides were committed after this and now the question is, was this the right thing to do?

In 2008 the state of Washington made it legal for physicians to assist patient suicide if it is asked of them. There have been 341 cases documented and all is going well with this issue in Washington. A concern has been that a “slippery slope” would occur and people would start abusing this law and actually committing murders through physician-assisted suicide. There are only a mere four cases of abuse documented in Michigan, but Michigan does not have a law to make it legal so this could have been an effect of it being illegal. Freedom of choice takes a major role in this law because people are able to manage their own life and chose when to die if it is necessary.

We should all fight for the ultimate civil liberty of having the choice of when we die or not. A person dying from cancer or in emotional and physical pain from Alzheimer’s disease would greatly appreciate being able to end their pain and suffering. It just seems like the correct and moral thing to do. We need to quit waiting and go through with making physician-assisted suicide legal, so patients can quit playing the waiting game with death.

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heyhowyoudoing said...
Apr. 24, 2015 at 9:20 pm
Physician-assisted suicide is illegal and immoral. If a patient is suffering and is in pain, then the physician can administer pain medication to help with that pain, not murder them. Death is a natural part of life, but when someone dies who did not have the right to die dies then that is murder. Physician-assisted suicide murders innocent people because God is the only person who can take someone away. If doctors try to use PAS to end people's life, then they are playing with God and trying to... (more »)
Unknown said...
Nov. 2, 2014 at 10:36 pm
Hello, I'm currently a student who has been reading about Assisted Suicide. I wanted to voice out my opinions so I hope someone could read this. In my opinion, I believe that people should have the right to die. I know that for one, it's illegal in Canada to do the procedures of Assisted Suicide, but if we were in the patient's shoes who suffers from severe illness that of course has no cure; waiting for their death would be the most painful and scariest part to go through. Using and aiding the ... (more »)
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