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Assisted Suicide

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Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

Assisted suicide is one of the most controversial topics discussed among people every day. Everyone has his or her own opinion on this topic. This is a socially debated topic that above all else involves someone making a choice, whether it be to continue with life or give up hope and die. This should be a choice that they make themselves. However, In the United States, The land of the free, only one state has legalized assisted suicide. I am for assisted suicide and euthanasia. This paper will support my many feelings on this subject.

"Physician Assisted Suicide is when a physician supplies information and/or means of committing suicide. This can be a prescription for a lethal dose of sleeping pills or a supply of carbon monoxide gas. These are just some examples of what a physician might give to a patient requesting to be assisted in committing suicide. "

"Active Euthanasia involves causing the death of a person through direct action, in response to a request from that person. Involuntary Euthanasia is used to describe the killing of a person who has not explicitly requested aid in dying. This is most often done to patients who are in a persistent vegetative state and will probably never recover consciousness. "

To have assisted suicide/euthanasia legalized there would have to be some guidelines that would have to be set in place. It would have to be determined that he/she is terminally ill, or if they are suffering with an incurable pain. Also, they may have lost the capability to do things they once did in their everyday lives. Also, the patient would have to be of sound mind and free from depression. After these criteria are met then assisted suicide should be considered.

Ethics is an issue that is involved here. It is often argued that physician assisted may be a possible choice that a person who is suffering from an incurable disease might have to make. They may be suffering due to the symptoms of their disease. A doctor's main priority is to make his or her patients feel better. However, there are cases where a doctor can only do so much. There are some ailments that they can't make go away with a pill or needle filled with an anti-biotic. In these cases that can't be cured, assisted suicide or euthanasia are the only options. Either they die a slow painful death being kept alive by machines and pain medications or they die an even more painful death at home with no medications because they can't afford them. A doctor takes an oath that he or she will do everything in their power to keep a patient alive. But they also take an oath that they will do whatever is in the best interest of their patient.

Assisted Suicide/ Euthanasia may also be seen as being unethical. The individual's who lobby against assisted suicide always use the doctor's oath that they have to preserve life as their first argument. While this may be true, they often leave out the part where they have a duty to act in the best interest of their patient. The activists also use individuals on Medicare, such as the elderly or poor as an argument. They feel that they may be pushed into assisted suicide because caring for them in a hospital would be too expensive and would just eat up government funds.

There are some arguments for assisted suicide and "Respect for autonomy is one of them. A competent person should have the right to choose to live or die. Justice is another. Competent terminally ill patients are allowed to hasten their deaths by refusal of medication. Physician assisted suicide may be a compassionate response to unbearable sufferings. Although society has a strong interest in preserving life, that interest lessens when a person is terminally ill and has a strong desire to end life. Lastly, legalization of assisted suicide would promote open discussion. " These arguments make it hard to go along with the arguments against assisted suicide.

There are also those who oppose Physician Assisted Suicide. "Sanctity of life is an argument that points out strong religious and secular traditions against taking human life. Passive vs. Active distinction is an argument that states there is an important difference between passively "letting die" and actively "killing". There is also the potential for abuse, burdened family members and health care providers may encourage the option of assisted suicide. Professional integrity is also involved. The overall image of practicing medicine may become tarnished if physician assisted suicide is linked to the medical profession. Lastly, fallibility of the profession is a concern. Physicians will make mistakes. There may be uncertainty in diagnosis and prognosis. There may be errors in diagnosis of treatment of depression, or inadequate treatment of pain. Thus the state has the right to protect lives from these inevitable



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