Should Physicians Be Allowed to Assist in Patient Suicide
Ethical Issues in the Biomedical Science
PHI 352- PK
The issue of physician-assisted suicide has come to be one of the most controversial legal issues in recent history. In my opinion I think that the law is designed to lay out guidelines for the social conduct of individuals in society. Yet, within this definition there are extremes on both ends of the spectrum in which the law encompasses. The question of whether or not physicians can legally prescribe and administer lethal doses of medication to mentally competent patients who suffer from the issue of physician-assisted ...view middle of the document...
A bioethicist is a hospital employee who is educated in philosophy, psychology, religion, law, humanities and social science (Guyer, 1998). This person’s role is to help the medical professionals, the family and patient to make difficult medical decision, especially for those patients that are at the end of their life. Physicians Perspective of Life and Death could be very hard, especially caring of a dying patient.
In euthanasia, physician makes some sort of decision to end the patient’s life. When the physician takes action is sometimes called “active euthanasia” to distinguish it from passive euthanasia, which is withdrawing the treatment to patient to allow patient to die. Physician assistant to suicide means to supply the means, usually medication, to a patient who decides to end his/her life. When it comes to distinguish between the two of them proponents of active euthanasia argue that there are no important moral distinctions between the two practices, therefore both of them should be allowed. Opponents of active euthanasia, but who support the passive form, argue that, when life support is withdrawal, the cause of death is the underlying disease not action by the physician. If it was legal, more than one-third of U.S. physician would be willing to offer active euthanasia with medication and one-fourth would be willing to offer the lethal injection (Meier, et al, 1998). In fact, an increasing number of people in the United States support the painless euthanasia of incurably ill patients if they and their families request it.
How Patients View Euthanasia
Many patients experience hidden psychosocial and existential issue embedded in life experience, for example fear about the future and yearning for care and social connection. Others patients may also fear or painful death, lack of quality of life and most important lack of hope. Furthermore, they might fear physical disintegration, loss of function, and loss of personal relationship.
Most people judge euthanasia to be less acceptable than physician-assisted suicide (PAS), the process in which the physician simply gives the patient means to end his /her life. With PAS, the patient takes action and can until the last minute decide not to go ahead with the act (Rogers, 1996). In the past, most people die relatively quickly as a result of accident or illness. Today, despite advances in palliative care, death is too often protracted, painful, and undignified. In fact, the United States, 80% to 85% of people die in institutions, 70% of those after a decision to withdraw or withhold treatment , and the great majority are elderly (Fraser & Walters, 2000).
Results of public opinion polls consistently supported PAS. In one poll, even 50% of Catholic voted “yes” to the question. Also some recent reports suggested the attitudes to PAS have become more positive with age (Littlejohn & Burrows –Johnson, 1996). In 2005, 70% of 1,010 Americans...