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Physician Assisted Suicide - Research Paper Example

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Physician Assisted Suicide

In this paper, we shall look at this debate from the point of view of those who are for physician-assisted suicide. It is our opinion that physician assisted suicide is the right of the person who requests it so long as this person has a very valid reason why his life should be ended. Physician assisted suicide is not a new occurrence and it has in fact existed for as long as suffering has been a part of human reality. Since time immemorial, physicians have been receiving requests from their patients who are suffering to end it all by helping them to die. It is a fact today that some fifty seven percent of physicians have received a request from their patient to assist them to die in one way or the other. In most of these cases, physicians have declined the requests of their patients and have instead suggested alternatives to this course of action. One of these alternatives is the availability of modern medicine, which can relieve their pain because in the past, before the coming of this medicine, unrelieved physical pain may have been better and the physicians in those times do not seem to have had much choice in the matter. Another alternative would be for a patient to be given access to the best care possible by the government and this would most likely eliminate their desire to have a hastening of their deaths until such a time when their lives end naturally. The debate about the legalization of physician-assisted suicide as a means of ending a patients’ suffering remains controversial to this day and the history of this debate suggests that it is periodically given intense attention especially when the cases have the attention of the media. Because there is always the fear that a physician might misunderstand their patient’s wishes, there is currently very little support for physician-assisted suicide. However, physicians need to know how to respond to a request from their patients because whether they like it or not, the requests will keep on coming and some cases may be so bad that they will have no other choice other than assisting them to die. As the debate on physician assisted suicide continues, there are two principles, which are agreed upon within the medical circles. The first is that the physician is obliged not only to relieve the pain and suffering of their dying patients, but also to ensure their dignity. The second principle is the fact that a physician must do all in his power to ensure that the competent decision made by their patients to forego treatment that sustains their lives is respected. One of the most important events that took place in this debate happened in 1997 when the United States Supreme Court made a decision concerning it. Firstly, it recognized that there was no right in the federal constitution to physician-assisted suicide, and secondly, it made the affirmation that the legislature at the state level may choose to legalize it. There are several arguments why some people are in favor of physician-assisted suicide among those patients whose suffering cannot be relieved by modern medicine. One of these arguments is that it helps to protect patients who know that they are dying but do not want to suffer deaths that are lingering and painful. Furthermore, it has been argued that physician assisted suicide is in line with respecting the independence of a patient in making decisions concerning ...Show more


Over the years, there has been a lot of debate about physician-assisted suicide with those who are for it stating that the patient has the right to ask their physician to help them die a dignified death free of any pain or being a burden to their families…
Author : xking
Physician Assisted Suicide essay example
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