Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia the Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

(Foley, 54; Braddock and Tonnelli). This again, is an argument based more on conjecture rather than solid evidence. While it is true that depression may accompany many serious and terminal diseases and there are anecdotes about patients who changed their minds about suicide after treatment; no credible studies are available about how often it happens or even if antidepressant treatment would make patients requesting death, change their minds. (Angell, 52)

Kathleen Foley, in her article "Competent Care for the Dying Instead of Physician-Assisted Suicide" observes that advances in modern medicine have made it possible to alleviate almost all kinds of pain and even when it is not possible to eliminate pain entirely; lessening it to a manageable level is almost always possible. She, therefore, feels that the problem is lack of proper pain management training for doctors and the solution is greater access to pain relieving medicine for everyone, rather than a need for physician-assisted suicide (Foley, 53). There is no arguing with the suggestion that every effort must be made by a doctor to relieve the pain of a patient and the best available palliative care be provided to them. However, there are many terminal conditions such as full-blown AIDS and several forms of cancer in which no amounts of medicines can alleviate the nausea and pain. In such cases, no one except the patient herself can decide whether her suffering is bearable or unbearable. If a patient requests help from her physician to end her suffering by hastening a dignified death in such circumstance, the only humane thing for the physician to do would be to accede to the request.

The anti-PAS lobby has also contend that people who want to end their lives, have the choice of committing suicide themselves rather than asking for assistance in suicide from physicians. This is perhaps the most callous argument of all. Peter Rogatz counters this objection with an appropriate query: "Are patients to shoot themselves, jump from a window, starve themselves to death, or rig a pipe to the car exhaust?" (Rogatz, 33) Terminally ill, bed-ridden patients usually do not have the energy or the means to go out and look for appropriate poisons or a gun to end their lives. Many of them desire a pain-less dignified end of their lives and their physicians can provide them with the best possible advice to do so. When such a choice is not available, some patients do try the afore-mentioned violent means of suicide, with traumatic consequences for their families; and for the survivors if the effort fails. (Ibid.)

Most of all, as pointed out by Marcia Angell, the universally accepted ethical principle in the field of medicine, is respect for each patient's autonomy, which always takes precedence over other conflicting principles. For example, patients can legally exercise this right of self-determination by asking for withdrawal for life-sustaining treatment, and are required to give their informed consent to any treatment. (Angell, 51)

As argued in the preceding paragraphs, physician-assisted suicide is a humane act that helps terminally ill patients to bring a humane end to their pain and suffering by hastening their death, when all other efforts to do so have been exhausted. We also saw in this essay that all arguments against PAS do not carry sufficient weight to justify its continuing illegality. The changing values of human society and advances in medical science have greatly extended human life-spans; they make it imperative that relatively benign forms of euthanasia such patient assisted suicide may be allowed.

Works Cited

Angell, Marcia. "The Supreme Court and Physician-Assisted Suicide -- the Ultimate Right." The New England Journal of Medicine. 336:1. January 2, 1997: 50-53

Braddock, Clarence H. And Mark R. Tonelli. "Physician-Assisted Suicide." Ethics in Medicine: University of Washington School of Medicine. 2001. April 27, 2007.

Foley, Kathleen M. "Competent care for the Dying Instead of Physician-Assisted Suicide." The New England Journal of Medicine. 336:1. January 2, 1997: 53-58

Hillyard, Daniel, and John Dombrink. Dying Right: The Death with Dignity Movement. London: Routledge, 2001.

Rogatz, Peter. "The Positive Virtues of Physician-Assisted Suicide: Physician-Assisted Suicide Is among the Most Hotly Debated Bioethical Issues of Our Time." The Humanist Nov.-Dec. 2001: 31+.

Young, Robert. "Voluntary Euthanasia." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2007. April 27, 2007

Physician-Assisted Suicide…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Physician-Assisted Suicide And Euthanasia The" (2007, April 27) Retrieved December 5, 2016, from

"Physician-Assisted Suicide And Euthanasia The" 27 April 2007. Web.5 December. 2016. <>

"Physician-Assisted Suicide And Euthanasia The", 27 April 2007, Accessed.5 December. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Physician Assisted Suicide Physicians Assisted Suicides The

    In an article in the British journal Lancet, the doctor stated that he liked Helen right off the bat, and then issued this statement: The thought of Helen dying so soon was almost too much to bear… on the other hand, I found even worse the thought of disappointing this family. If I backed out, they'd feel about me the way they had about their previous doctor, that I had

  • Physician Assisted Suicide Physician Assisted Suicide Is

    Because so many other countries in the world look toward the Netherlands and their assisted suicide policies, medical officials there continually review and revise (if necessary) the guidelines to keep stringent watch over physicians and patients. Many other countries that are considering their own assisted suicide laws keep track of what happens in the Netherlands, and alter their own legislation accordingly. The Netherlands policies are not perfect, but they indicate

  • Physician Assisted Suicide The Kantian View Thanks to

    Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Kantian View Thanks to modern developments in medical technology, people in advanced countries today live longer and stay healthy until they are relatively older. The technology, however, also allows some people to hasten their death and make it relatively pain-free. As a result, many patients suffering from unbearable pain of certain incurable illnesses from time to time ask their physicians to help them commit suicide. Any physician who

  • Physician Assisted Suicide and Active Euthanasia

    Physician-Assisted Suicide, And Active Euthanasia In Favor of the Moral Permissibility of Active Physician-Assisted Suicide According to Mappes and DeGrazia, Brock's support for voluntary active euthanasia is largely based on two ethical values that he regards fundamental (402). The values in this case include the well-being of an individual and individual autonomy or self-determination. Self-determination according to Brock has got to do with letting individuals chart their own destiny, that is, allowing

  • Physician Assisted Suicide a Review of Relevant Literature

    Physician-Assisted Suicide A Review of Relevant Literature and Popular Opinion Physician-assisted suicide has become a hot topic of late and many people think it is about these physicians becoming killers. This is not true, however, despite the opinions that many hold. The main problem is that many feel that physician-assisted suicide will give doctors too much control over the deaths of their terminally ill patients. This is not the case, however, as

  • Physician Assisted Suicide Is a Humane Approach to

    Physician-assisted suicide is a humane approach to dying and should be adopted legally in all states. Anyone who is terminally ill should have the right to choose how they die, specifically since they face death every day. Physician-assisted suicide is no more harmful than other methods of patient care that address patients needs, rights and desires. Given the fact that most terminally ill patients have a limited life to live,

  • Physician Assisted Suicide for the Most

    At the very least, those that hold different opinions on physician-assisted suicide should agree that medical treatment must never be at odds with moral treatment. Even though medical treatment is specialized and often differs from the way human beings usually treat each other, medical treatment should never be placed in the position where it goes against the basic moral ideals of how human beings should treat each other. As pointed out,

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved