Can We Choose When to Die? Physician Assisted Suicide Essay Example

“The right to die should be a matter of personal choice” (Michael Irwin). Physician assisted suicide (PAS) allows people who have an illness to end their life by taking medicine prescribed by their doctor in order to end suffering. Although some people may think PAS violates the Hippocratic Oath, it gives terminally ill patients the chance to end their suffering and donate their organs to others who are ill but still have the chance to heal.

PAS has many benefits for those who have a lifelong sickness. “The right of a competent, terminally ill person to avoid excruciating pain and embrace a timely and dignified death bears the sanction of history and is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty” (ACLU AMICUS BRIEF IN VACCO V. QUILL). People who have incurable illnesses rely on PAS in order to escape the pain. “When healing is no longer possible, when death is imminent and patients find their suffering unbearable, the physician’s role should shift from healing to relieving suffering in accord with the patient’s wishes” (Marcia Angell). Surviving family members have stated that PAS more efficiently prepares them for their loved one’s death and therefore have more time to grieve. “Families of people who chose aid in dying reported that they felt more prepared and accepting of their loved one’s death” (Weir). Even though PAS is a form of suicide, it hasn’t shown to negatively impact the surviving family members in any way. These patients are so ill and they cannot physically do anything, so PAS is a way to help them release their pain and help other sick patients while doing so.

These incurable patients are able to help other terminally ill patients who have the chance to get better after the incurable patient’s death by PAS. “These developments create a new pathway for organ donation” (Ian M. Ball). PAS would take place in the hospital, which would enable these patients to donate their organs to those who have a better chance of living than they do. “The availability of first-person consent of organ donation would help ensure that such donations reflect the patient’s preferences” (Ian M. Ball). Humans have the legal right to decide whether to live or die no matter how controversial suicide is. “[PAS] must be a choice for both patient and physician.” (Marcia Angell). These patients are never going to be able to heal or continue their normal lives again; this can be a financial burden on the surviving family members of these patients would like to have PAS but the physician refuses. Despite all of the benefits of PAS, there are still a few problems such as a violation of the Hippocratic Oath that people worry about.

Many people think that PAS should not be legalized in all states because it interferes with the Hippocratic Oath. The oath proclaims “I will keep [the sick] from harm and injustice. I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect” (Edelstein, 1943). Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) is a way of keeping a patient out of harm’s way by stopping the insufferable agony and discomfort. The patients that considered for PAS are unable to function in most ways of life and therefore would rather end their distress instead of dealing with unbearable pain. If a physician refuses a patient's request to terminate life, that patient may begin refusing medicine or stop eating as another way to die sooner. PAS needs to be researched more by those who say it violates the Hippocratic Oath because these patients are miserable and unable to live a healthy life.

Although some may think Physician Assisted Suicide violates the Hippocratic Oath, it gives terminally ill patients the chance to end their suffering and donate their organs to others who are able to heal. Unnatural death should not always be looked at negatively because these incurable patient’s will also be contributing to the life of another terminally ill patient whose life can be saved.



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