Physician Assisted Suicide Arguments Both Sides Essay

  • Length: 3 pages
  • Sources: 4
  • Subject: Argumentative
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #24541905

Excerpt from Essay :

Assignment 1: Is physician-assisted suicide morally acceptable when a person is suffering from a painful, incurable, terminal condition? 

Premise 1: Physician-assisted suicide is not morally acceptable under any circumstances.

According to the American Medical Association (2018), “permitting physicians to engage in assisted suicide would ultimately cause more harm than good,” (p. 1). The reasoning behind the AMA’s position is threefold. First, the AMA (2018) claims that physician-assisted suicide is “incompatible with the physician’s role as healer,” (p. 1). Second, the AMA points out that there are too many ways the process can be abused. As alternatives to physician-assisted suicide, the AMA recommends improving access to pain relief and emotional support to patients with terminal illnesses.

Another reason for opposing physician-assisted suicide is the rapid pace at which medicine advances. If a person has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, there is still a possibility—however slim—that either a cure or an ameliorative process might be discovered during the course of the person’s life. Moreover, the person should be considered as part of a broader social network. Friends and family members deserve the opportunity to remain with their loved one for as long as possible, providing holistic care. Because the goal of medicine is to heal and treat, not to terminate life, physicians cannot ethically engage in physician-assisted suicide.

Premise 2: Physician-assisted suicide is not only morally acceptable when a person is suffering from a painful, incurable, terminal condition; it is also the compassionate and ethical choice.

Physician-assisted suicide can be considered an ethical part of medical care, so long as it is done under strict and specific conditions. Moreover, physician-assisted suicide respects patient autonomy, which is a fundamental tenet in bioethics (American Medical Association, 2018). In other words, it is unethical to force a patient to continue suffering unnecessarily when death is certainly inevitable based on expert medical opinion. In cases where there is a terminal illness that entails suffering, “death could sometimes be in a persons best interests and a lesser evil than other bad things that might happen to her,” (Kamm, n.d., p. 1). Physician-assisted suicide is the ethical choice because it preserves patient autonomy, alleviates suffering, and promotes the principles of holistic care.

Death is inevitable. To prolong life at all costs is not the goal of medicine or healing. In fact, healing often entails the cultivation of mental or emotional acceptance to confront mortality. Attitudes towards death vary from culture to culture and person to person. A physician’s personal feelings regarding death need not be imposed on patients: doing so would constitute medical paternalism and would violate the principles of…

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