Ethical Perspectives On Physician Assisted Suicide Term Paper

Length: 4 pages Sources: 4 Type: Term Paper Paper: #87927259 Related Topics: Euthanasia, Population, Christian Ethics, Terminal Illness Published September 21, 2022
Excerpt from Term Paper :


Euthanasia can be defined as the process of helping a person end his own life. It can be desired by a person who is perhaps in pain already or expects to be in pain in the coming future due to some terminal illness. It is a concept that goes against the traditional Western code of medicine based on the Hippocratic Oath and Christian ethics, which shaped Western society sine the time of the Middle Ages. In todays post-Christian culture, there is more debate about the ethics of euthanasia. Physician-assisted suicide has actually been legalized in several states, such as Oregon and California (ProCon, 2022). The primary reason for social support for euthanasia today in some states is that voters see it as a way to end the suffering of an individual who is resigned to dying and wants to die as peacefully as possible on his or her own terms (Buiting et al., 2009). Thus, euthanasia can be seen in negative terms by those who oppose it for ethical reasons, and it can be seen in positive terms by those who support for different ethical reasons. It is ultimately a controversial and divisive topic.

The difference between passive and active euthanasia is that the former involves taking life-support away from an individual while the latter involves giving the individual a life-ending intervention, such as a chemical that will kill. Passive euthanasia has more support among physicians than active euthanasia, which some still associate with Dr. Kevorkian, aka Dr. Death (Vaughn, 2012). The reason more physicians tend to support passive euthanasia than active euthanasia is that there is more ethical justification for passive euthanasia within the Western tradition of ethics. There is no moral obligation, for instance, in Christian ethics to provide life support that is viewed as extraordinary or overly burdensome (Holmes, 2007). Physicians therefore tend to see passive euthanasia as more acceptable within the context of the Hippocratic Oath, as death is a natural and inevitable phenomenon and the purpose of medicine is not to delay the inevitable but rather to help the person return to health when possible. However, some physicians do support active euthanasia, as they see it from a different ethical perspective, namely the perspective of Ethical Egoism in which a persons autonomy is seen as the most important factor in making decisions (Holmes, 2007).

My beliefs regarding euthanasia are that it should not be pursued actively but that passively it can be accepted. I believe that we have traditional standards and principles that we should follow and that when we do not follow them our society becomes chaotic and unstable. The issue of suicide is one that our standards and principles…is not permitted. Euthanasia is not legal in my state of Kentucky, which prohibits what are called mercy-killings and any other attempt to end a persons life other than to allow the natural progression of things to take place. This can be contrasted with Oregons Death with Dignity Act, which permits active euthanasia. In Oregons state law, the requirements that must be met for euthanasia to take place are these: The person must be: 1) 18 years of age or older, 2) capable of making and communicating health care decisions for him or herself, and 3) must be diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months. So it cannot be a case of a person who is 18 walking in and saying that he wants to die because he is depressed. There has to be a terminal condition with a prognosis of six months. No such requirements exist in my home state because in my state euthanasia is not permitted, period.

Euthanasia is thus a topic that many people disagree about; some states have legalized it, with conditions needing to be met, of course, as can be seen with the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. Other states continue to prohibit the practice. Ethical systems offer different perspectives on the topic, but traditionally in the West it has not been supported…

Sources Used in Documents:


Buiting, H. et al. (2009). Reporting on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in the Netherlands. BMC Med Ethics, 10(18), 10-18.

Holmes, A. (2007). Ethics: Approaching moral decisions. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

ProCon. (2022). Historical timeline. Retrieved from

Cite this Document:

"Ethical Perspectives On Physician Assisted Suicide" (2022, May 18) Retrieved October 6, 2022, from

"Ethical Perspectives On Physician Assisted Suicide" 18 May 2022. Web.6 October. 2022. <>

"Ethical Perspectives On Physician Assisted Suicide", 18 May 2022, Accessed.6 October. 2022,

Related Documents
Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Kantian View Thanks to
Words: 1189 Length: 3 Pages Topic: Business - Ethics Paper #: 80307457

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 Should It Be Permissible for
Words: 1398 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Death and Dying  (general) Paper #: 27493310

Physician-Assisted Suicide Should it be permissible for one to take his life? Previously and now in many cultures, suicide has been considered as a best option in some certain situations of life. For example, in flashback we see Cato the Younger took away his life instead of living under Caesar. For stoics, suicide was a preferred and rational act and there was nothing immoral in suicide instead it was a best option

Physician-Assisted Suicide Is a Humane Approach to
Words: 1160 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Healthcare Paper #: 21812008

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 and Active Euthanasia
Words: 902 Length: 3 Pages Topic: Death and Dying  (general) Paper #: 9358887

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 Physicians-Assisted Suicides: The
Words: 3218 Length: 10 Pages Topic: Death and Dying  (general) Paper #: 87386004

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 and Ethical Issues
Words: 924 Length: 3 Pages Topic: Death and Dying  (general) Paper #: 6399658

Perhaps the most reasonable objection to physician-assisted suicide relates to the subjective element of quality of life and the degree to which that perception (on the part of the patient) is susceptible to temporary influence, such as from clinical depression or temporary physical pain or disability. To overcome that objection, it would be necessary to outline objective principles and guidelines capable of allowing physician-assisted suicide in justifiable situations while