When a patient has a disease that has no known cure they endure a lot of pain and suffering. Many times they get to the point where they want to give up because they are tired of dealing with the nonstop pain and suffering. This can lead to them beginning to think about committing suicide with the help of a physician. Other people who have mental illnesses are really just lonely or dealing with depression but they consider suicide with the help of their physician as well. The physician will give the patient lethal drugs needed to do this. The ethical model that I will use to prove my position on assisted suicide is utilitarianism. My stance is that I don’t agree with anyone helping someone commit suicide no matter what the case may be.
Suicide with the help of a physician is not legal across the country. Right now, it is only legal in Oregon, Vermont, Washington and California. In Montana, if a physician is going to help a patient commit suicide it can only be granted by a court decision. I feel that any physician that helps someone commit suicide is a direct violation of the Hippocratic Oath. The Hippocratic Oath is a code of medical ethics that doctors usually take before they start to practice medicine. Part of this oath means to do no harm.
Any physician that helps a patient commit suicide is doing just that. The Hippocratic Oath is against a doctor killing their patients. When a physician takes The Hippocratic Oath they take a pledge that they won’t harm any patient. This is why physician assisted suicide is an ethical issue. I feel that if a patient is suffering from mental illness, depression or suicidal thoughts no physician should agree to assist in their suicide I don’t think they should be allowed to go through with it. What I think should happen is those patients should have to go through counseling. After they begin counseling hopefully at some point they will no longer want to end their life.
Traditionally, physicians are supposed to treat and heal their patients. If a physician assists their patients in ending their life they will be using what’s supposed to heal their patients for the sake of aiding them in committing suicide. I think that if a physician assists a patient in committing suicide that will take away their credibility. Patients could potentially think that their physician won’t work as hard to cure them or provide them with quality care or service.
Another issue with assisted suicide is how it will affect people in certain categories than others. People that don’t have health insurance and disabled people might consider physician assisted suicide due to a situation with their finances. Many people don’t have healthcare and the reason they don’t is they can’t afford to pay the monthly costs, let alone the copayments and deductibles. That doesn’t mean they don’t have medical conditions that they need to receive treatment for. If physician assisted suicide were legal in more states I think many of these people would use it to take their lives. This would be due to the fact that they can’t afford the healthcare they need to be treated for their medical conditions.
Those people that are for physician assisted suicide look at this subject from a different point of view. When it comes to someone that is terminally ill physician assisted suicide puts an end to their pain and suffering. They are able to die with dignity and they get to decide when it happens. Some people have the opinion that if someone wants to die they should be allowed to. They also look at unnecessary pain and suffering is inhumane. When it comes to those that are for physician assisted suicide and the Hippocratic Oath it’s been noted that the Hippocratic Oath has been modified multiple times. Because of that people feel that letting a patient go through unnecessary pain and suffering in does harm to them. That in itself goes against the oath of not doing any harm to the patient.
For those that agree with physician assisted suicide they don’t think the physicians will provide any less quality of care to their other patients. In fact, to some it makes the physician look more sensitive to their patients and their feelings because they sympathize with them enough to help them put an end to their pain and suffering. It’s also been said that physicians assisting patients commit suicide has nothing to do with them being able to provide quality care to their patients.
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