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Philosophy and Physician Assisted Suicide - Essay Example

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Philosophy and Physician Assisted Suicide

The utilitarian approach states that the value and worth of the action is determined by its consequences and overall good. The utilitarian approach specifies what are to count as the best consequences. Ethics and medical ethics as a part of it is aimed to save a "life" and not allow patient to "die". Life is valuable: it cannot be restored or reproduced. In this case, it is morally wrong to deprive a person a chance to live (Dowbiggin 37). All scientific and medical innovations and discoveries become useless as well as medicine itself if we follow the concept of "God's will". In terms of rational legitimacy, physician assisted suicide and active voluntary euthanasia ought to be legal if it causes happiness and the good to others. In this case, physician assisted suicide and active voluntary euthanasia are ought to be legal because financial burden and moral sufferings caused by a terminally ill increase sufferings, and death is in the best interest of society. It is right to let a person to die when living would make no one happy and someone very unhappy. It is important to note that it is more unethical to allw relatives to suffer with mortally ill hopeless members of the family (Dowbiggin 38). For instance, in some cases of terminal cancer palliative care is the only possible way to prevent sufferings of patients. For instance, there are some cases in medical practice, when patients remain in a "persistent vegetative state" and will never alive. Geisler (1990) explains that:
the term "coma" refers to a condition in which the eyes are closed, the person cannot be aroused, and there is no sleep/wake cycle. A vegetative state is a condition in which there is no awareness including awareness of pain and suffering, no rationality or emotionality ... In cases like these, the use of medical technologies raises questions about the moral appropriateness of death (63).
Active euthanasia can be used as the nly possible tool to relieve sufferings and pain, and as the best interest of the family and the patient. In this situation, the problem is that it is impossible to develop the ethical and moral law which will be suitable for all the cases and can be applied in all situations (Garrett et al 28). Contemporary practice with fatally ill patient has sometimes led to the prosecution of the medical staff involved, although a line of jurisprudence has emerged according to which it may be permissible to treat some patients for dying, rather than to intervene to keep them alive. The main question and argument against euthanasia is "who should accept a decision to "kill" Some critics state that patients who want to pass away should be allowed to do so (Garrett et al 29). On the other hand, this way can be used by physicians and relatives to "kill" patients. For instance, "The Oregon victory was followed by referendum defeats in Michigan and Maine, and a 1997 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that denied a constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide" (Dowbiggin 163). In this case, strict control and legal rules should maximize and ensure the good and happiness.
In spite of the fact that only God can decides when the life should end, many seriously ill patients have a fundamental right to stop suffering and pass away without pain. At one time or another in their lives, most people reflect on their relationship to a higher order of existence, whether one ...Show more


Physician assisted suicide is one of the most controversial problems in medical practice and philosophy. Critics underline that there is no right or wrong opinion about active euthanasia because much depends upon the conditions and causes which force people to look for this problem-solving method…
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Philosophy and Physician Assisted Suicide essay example
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