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Assisted Suicide

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Assisted Suicide is when a person seeks help from another person to aide them in killing themselves. Generally, this is done by a physician for those that are terminally ill with no chance of making a recovery and with great likely hood their death will be drawn out and painful. There are two main reasons why assisted suicide is such a large issue. The first one being that health care professionals take a Hippocratic Oath to cure the sick, not assist them to die; and many see aiding a person in death is harmful.

The other reason is that murder and suicide are both illegal in the United States. In the eyes of many people helping someone end their life is wrong and it's the same as murder. They believe that no matter the reason no one should help another take their own life.

In America, this became a nation wide issue in 1998 when Dr. Kevorkian became popular in the news for airing a video tape of him administering the lethal injection into one of his patients. He and many others believe that if a person is terminally ill and will die sadly, slowly, and/or painfully they should have the right to some diginity before they die. In Switerland, a person doesn't even have to be a physican to help with assisted suicide. Legislation states as long as the act is unselfish then it's legal.

Dying with dignity is the soul agruement of the defence side. Stating no one should have to with stand intolerable amounts of pain. A person shouldn't be traped in their own bodies as it slowly wares, gives out and dies. No one should have to suffer on their death bed. They see it as some what as a torture to make someone stay alive to indure the cural pain. Yet, when an animal is sick and in pain we allowed it to be put down to avoid any real pain and fear to fill the last days of the animal's life. If these rights are given to animals, they should be given to humans as well.

I personally, agree with the defence on assisted suicide. I remember having to watch my grandmother die, painfully. I remember seeing her eyes tear up when she would drift in and out of her drug-induced coma. I laid

with her on the morning she died. Finally, once death came for her you could see the pain leaving her face as she was taking her last few breaths. I knew then, it would have been much better for her, if she could have been medically aided in the processes and not had to indure the pain she did.

Materstvedt, Lars Johan. "Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: a view from an EAPC Ethics Task Force." Palliative Medicine 2003: 97-101


This article is mainly the EAPC (European Association for Palliative Care) explaining the differences between Euthanasia, Physician Assisted, and Palliative Care; and the places around the world that have passed legislation in favor or against the three options. It explains that, Euthanasia is defined as killing a person on request and is defined as a doctor intentionally killing a person by the administration of drugs, at that person's voluntary and competent request. Physician-assisted suicide is defined as a doctor intentionally helping a person to commit suicide by providing drugs for self-administration, at that person's voluntary and competent request. Palliative Care is known for having several definitions all depending on where and who is running the program in the area. Although, in 1989 in the first EAPC newsletter, defines Palliative Care as an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. Palliative Care may provide some medication to put the patient in an unconscious state but, this is rare and the patient is not allowed to be so for very long and under great amounts of monitoring. In general only light sedatives will be used.


I believe the author's credentials are legitimate. He seems to be using what he knows and what he sees as the best solution to an issue to explain this controversial topic to the readers. In turn making the article biased toward the idea of having the sick and or elderly going more for Palliative care rather then euthanasia or assisted suicide. His use of the word kill over and over seemed to make it clear that he thinks the other two options are murder to a degree. The article does explain the big differences in the three types of ways to go about dying other then natural way, which is very useful in my essay.

American Society of Clinical Oncology. "Physician desire for euthanasia and assisted suicide: would physicians practice what they preach?" Journal of Clinical Oncology. 1997 Vol. 15, 428-432


The title of the article is very specific. The goal was to research Oncologist to see if they could ever see a situation in their life where they would or could choose either euthanasia or assisted suicide and do they believe that either is humane enough to be used on their patience. Almost half of the doctors could see themselves needing to use either choice. From the pro-half of the doctors, almost 85% found it to be a practical way to end suffering and be comfortable in its use for a patient. For those who could not see a situation in where they would need to, want to, or desire to go on with either, still sees both as safe and an ethical use for death.


After reading the article I gathered that many Oncologists are comfortable with their sick patience using either euthanasia or assisted suicide. Many have even thought of one or the other as a possible solution to themselves if ever becoming terminally ill. I personally, was a little surprised to see that the percentage of those that would or could use wasn't higher by 10 or 15%. The article did state that those that wouldn't use either or had a hard time allowing it to be used on their patience were more often then not catholic. This making it clear that religion is the main reason many are not comfortable with the idea of euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Ganzini, L. "Attitudes of Oregon psychiatrists toward physician-assisted suicide" The American Journal of Psychiatry. 1996; 153:1469-1475.


The article discusses euthanasia from the view point of psychiatrists. After the state of Oregon's passage of the ballet to the legalizing assisted suicide, the American journal of Psychiatry wanted to seek out the opinions



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