Tara Ford English Comp 111 Physician Assisted Suicide Physician assisted suicide is also called euthanasia. It is a highly debated topic on whether it should be legal or not. Some states have taken different stands on this question, some making it legal to do. I believe that every citizen who is suffering from a degenerative, painful or fatal condition, should have the right to decide if they want the option of a physician assisted suicide. I believe in a society such as ours we should all have the right to die with some kind of dignity.
Although there are several debates against this view point, it is not up to anyone else to make decisions of the ill and infirm. As such it should be recognized that “patients have a right to make their own decisions to preserve free choice and human dignity: this right includes the right to choose assisted suicide” (Ersek 48). Further more having access to physician assisted suicide allows the patient to maintain control over their situation and to end life in an ethical and merciful manner. Even though the benefits of physician assisted suicide for the terminally ill patients are greatly significant, there is still great debate over it.
These include the responsibility of the medical community and those of the religious community. It is necessary to look at both sides of the view to understand this, but more importantly take in to fact of the rights of the individual in pain due to terminal illness. Assisted suicide is a general term and does not necessarily refer to the involvement of a doctor. To be an assistant of a death or suicide of another human being is another issue that is being brought from physician assisted suicide. For my paper I will focus on the medical professional in on the oversight of the management of the assisted suicide.
Assisted suicide is best defined as “the act of intentionally killing oneself with the assistance of another who deliberately provides the knowledge means or both. In physician assisted suicide, a physician provides the assistance” (Gupta2). Many people and groups question the medical community’s right to offer this choice, they believe it is the job of the medical professional to help people and ensure their access to all medical treatments that are available to the patients. These people do not believe it is not within the ights of the medical field to help patients die, but to help them to improve or at least continue life no matter what the quality of life is for the patient. I believe that this ignores the fact that some terminally ill patients suffer from a great deal of pain and no longer wish to live their lives artificially prolonged expensive, painful and debilitating treatments and would rather die quietly. For these people it would be most beneficial for the medical community to offer some kind of solution to the pain and prolonged life that may wish to commit suicide and are not capable to do it those selves.
Being kept alive by technology against wills seems cruel and inhuman, epically if pain is a constant factor. It is the right of everyone to decide when he dies as well as the right to have no more pain and undo suffering. Cancer, advanced aids, and other terminal conditions often are incredibly painful and enduring. People with such illnesses can often survive for long periods of time, because of advanced treatments. The treatments that they have to endure can be very crippling in them selves.
Some of the people who suffer from such terminal conditions have the right to make the argument that they should be able to choose the right to have an assisted suicide. They may not want to put them selves through the pain and suffering, and they may just want the right to cope with the end of their life at home where they are most comfortable. No matter what the case, the people who are suffering do not see a light at the end of the tunnel. They know that their death is imminent. They are also certain that the remainder of the time will be spent in pain and putting their families in pain watching them suffering until their time has come.
By having a doctor writing a prescription to a terminally patient, a doctor can allow the patient to end their life in a safe, effective and painless way. A lot of patients, who are suffering from chronic, painful, fatal conditions that would eventually bring death, have a strong belief that the only way to stop the suffering for them and their family watching them is suicide. Before the thoughts of a physician assisted suicide the patients would attempt suicide on their own, an act which was not as painless or successful as the doctors option to helping out.
The option of the doctor’s choice would be much more painless and faster than the patient attempting it on their own. As one study shows, “Medical illness was a factor in half the suicides in people ages 50 and older and 70 percent of those ages seven years and older. Increased life expectancy, chronic illness, technology advances, and expanded treatment options have all complicated the process of dying” (Mackelprang 315). There is always a good chance that a suicide attempt could go very wrong and have a worse effect on the patient than before the attempt.
Although an unsuccessful suicide attempt is a worse case scenario, it should be noted that many suicide attempts are not painless. For patients removing life support, the process is very slow and painful. The suffocation process is not the humane way for any one to have to die. If the patients who were thinking about attempting suicide on their own were given the option to a more merciful, effective and proven way to end their life it would put them and their family, who wonder how much suffering that their family member is going through, more at peace during this awful time of their lives.
Aside from any other concern, it is noted that many types of cancer, other degenerative diseases, and fatal conditions not only cause pain in their selves but the treatments are also very quite painful. If a patients does not want these treatments, who has the right, including courts, to tell the patient that they have to do the treatments? Who has the right to tell a person they have to die in pain and suffering? Instead of having people try to try to attempt suicide by them selves, why don’t we give them a more humane option, which is guaranteed to have a result that is effective and painless?
There should be some control over this matter. It should not be one doctor’s opinion to decide if the person has a chance at a normal life, but the person should get a second and third opinion. This should be monitored very closely to make sure that it is not misused. But when you think of taking your loved one off of life support and the fact they could live for weeks to months suffering, and you feeling like there is not a thing you can do to help them. What kind of life do they have suffering and not being there at all, not responding to anything just living a life less end of life?
Than is it the right of the family to step in where the patient can not do so. While people that are for the right of the physician assisted suicide as a personal freedom and private choice, many on the other side of the debate think of the issue in terms of religion and ethics. In the medical field many doctors and nurses alike have concerns about assisting someone to die since it is their job to try to help save lives. Still, despite the many concerns, most doctors when questioned- based study did make it clear on how they felt on the subject that people should be able to die with dignity and that this was very important to most people.
In this study “60% (of physicians) said that physician-assisted suicide should be legal in some cases” (Gupta 4). For many Americans, who are opposed to this debate, their reasons are not on the sole factors of the medical field responsibility to help these patients out, but the are basing it on the vague notions of the moral and religious doctrine. These opponents refer to the bible and Christian tradition’s understanding as suicide and murder being acts of grave sins.
Like other debates, stem cell research in particular, the concept of life is God’s gift and despite any political or social claims we have to personal freedom, such freedoms are trumped by ethics, morality , and religious beliefs. The right to die with dignity is trumped by the need adhere to religious code and although one can not criticize individual belief, it should be noted that t he benefits of seeing someone die (who my have commuted suicide anyway) with peace and grace is something that is, in some ways, holy and justified.
In sum this debate is so complex because the core value on both sides is rooted in two different areas. In general it seems more reasonable to base our decision on the right of the individual to die with dignity and not suffering than on Religious. When we have animals and they are in pain and suffering we take them to the vet and they put them to sleep in a humane way. So as a society we would rather see our family suffer more than our own pets. I feel that if a person is of sound mind they should have the right to choice if they want to have a physician assisted suicide or if they want to live their life out in pain.
I would not want my family member to die with no dignity or life. It is very hard to lose a loved one and can be the hardest thing we can deal with or teach or children to deal with. But what kind of life does the family member have to be with you if the can not eat or talk or even get out of a bed. The have no choice at a normal life. They have no chance to ever get out of bed ever again. How embarrassing it is to have some one bathe, feed and change us. When we no longer can do anything at all for ourselves what so ever.
Is this how you you like to think about your life ending, knowing that you have to have your family stop their lives to take care of you night and day. They no longer can spend time with their loved ones because they have to tend to you all the time as you can do nothing for yourself. This will probably never get decided in the near future which means a lot more attempts on suicide done by the patients own hand.
Ersek, Mary. “Assisted Suicide: Unraveling a complex issue. ” Nursing 35. 4 (2005): 48. Academic Search Premier. Gupta, Deepak. Euthanasia: Issues Implied Within. ” Internet Journal of Pain, Symptom Control & Palliative Care 4. 2 (2006):2. Academic Search Premier. Mackelprang, Romel W. “Historical and Contemporary Issues in End-of-Life Decisions: Implications for Social Work. ” Social Work 50. 4 (2005): 315. Academic Search Premier. Miller, Nora. “Death with dignity or a criminal act? ” A Review of General Semantics 63. 1 (2006):106. Academic Search Premier. Spinney, Laura. “Last rights. ” New Scientist 186. 2496 (2005): 46. Academic Search Premier.