Physician-Assisted Suicide: the Law and Professional Ethics

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The discussion to make physician-assisted suicide legal has created mixed reactions among the US citizens. Despite its ethical prohibitions, some people continue to express their interest in the act. People have increasingly shown their concerns and fears regarding how their lives will end. Some people have voiced out their opinions on euthanasia, and surprisingly, a section of them continue to advocate for the legalization of the process. Others have expressed their disgrace in the debate surrounding legalization of the process as it is against the ethical code of living. As a result, the American College of Physicians (ACP), continue being attentive to all concerns raised by people. It makes sense that patients suffering from some terminal, painful illnesses and patients from tragic accident experience a lot of pain and some may prefer death to life. Cases of this type lead to a debate on whether physicians should be allowed to terminate life.

In a society where the laws of land give everyone a right to life, a discussion about whether people have the right to end their lives under whichever conditions have attracted divergent views among citizens. Although it is the wish of most people to live long and enjoy life, some life situations like excessive pain after an accident or a long severing resulting from terminal diseases may make life unbearable forcing some people to prefer death to life. As a result, most Americans are concerned whether on whether dying patients have the right to acquire assistance from a physician (Emanuel et al. 78)

The debate has drawn its fair share of critics as against work ethics for the physicians and patients who subscribe to the belief that one has the right to die peacefully should have their concerns addressed (Battin and Margaret P 67). However, before the rights of such citizens are treated, difficulties posed the procedure should be discussed. For instance, it has proven quite hard to control euthanasia. Whatever the case, the decision to grant terminally ill patients the right to euthanasia should be considered. Patients autonomy should be respected, and the argument that is aiding patientr's sickness is in line with the role of a physician to relieve pain and suffering in ailing people.

It is argued that allowing physicians aide in the death of a pertinent is a breach of their ethical traditions. Although it is quite understanding as the traditional physicians work ethics are centered in caring and protecting patients lives, the wish of the patient should be granted (Quill et al. 246). The suffering of dying patients may be unbearable as a result of nausea, extreme pain and other physiologic conditions like anxiety and depression (Emanuel et al. 80). In such circumstances, some patients prefer to be given the freedom of timing the time of their demise. Medical assistance to such patients should be checked. Similarly, the role of medicine to relieve pain through induced death under patients wish should be considered. The main subject in euthanasia debate should be the patient and not the physician.

The possibility of people taking advantage of the right to physician-assisted death is still a significant concern. Sometimes people undergoing solvable problems in life such as stress resulting from family and marriage conflicts and tough economic times may choose death over living. The rights to euthanasia should be limited to conditions of extreme pain and possibly long time coma and severe memory loss. Measures prohibiting people from taking advantage of medically and physically and psychologically solvable problems should be put in place. Such an action can bring order and prevent people from taking power. The decision to end life should be exclusively left to patients to avoid cases of ill-fated physicians killing eternally ill patients in life supporting machines and intensive care units (Battin and Margaret P 70). Patients expressing the will to euthanasia should have their conditions examined to determine their fate. For instance, patients suffering from some diseases or in stages of illness can be advised appropriately upon medical cross-examination. Should such patients choose euthanasia, their wishes can be granted.

A judge named Stephen Reinhardt backed the claims whether anyone has the right to assisted suicide in the United States. When presented with the case whether any person has the right to euthanasia, Judge Reinhardt ruling stated that any adult person who has lived almost all his/ her life has the paramount liberty to select a civil and humane death instead of being subjected to a natural diapered state when if they are terminally ill. This was one of the landmark rulings that defends aided suicide. People should therefore not be subjected to severe suffering by denying them the right. Human beings suffering from terminal illnesses have rights just as healthy people and should be not be subjected to inhuman suffering when they can choose to end their lives peacefully.

Nonetheless, terminating life should not be the case in the United States. Continued improvements in medicine have produced drugs capable of treating severe human pain. Although medicine may not address some conditions today, future advanced in the area may come up with such medications. Additionally, society should learn to give people nearing the end of their lives good care both emotionally and physically. A 1997 research in the United States by IOM about approaching death found out that there was insufficient end-of-life care in the country. Research from proceeding years has backed up the claims. Cases of patients receiving poor or no care at all during their weak moments are quite familiar. The society should learn to give adequate care and support to their ailing and terminally suffering people. Adopting such a culture would reduce the number of people seeking aided death.

The observation that most people worry about how they will die should be looked in to keenly. Americans should consider subscribing to programs that take care of people in their end of life moments. Disease prone and ailing older adults should be moved to nursing homes where they can receive quality care and diet in their dying moments (Quill et al. 245). Americans should also prioritize palliative care which takes care of terminally ill people and families. People should be encouraged to plan for palliative care programs which would take care of their conditions in case they become terminally ill.

Finally, research in the United States has documented the elderly and people who have cancer as prone to subscribing to euthanasia drugs. For instance, research in Oregon State in 2014, established that 69% of people taking lethal medication had cancer while 68% of all those taking the drugs were above the age of 65 years. From the findings, the government and the society should increase their support care and compassion to such groups of people. Aided death should be used severe critical conditions of acute suffering and for elderly people with terminal illnesses. The country revises physician-aided suicide law and sets in combat regulations to allow terminally-ill people choosing euthanasia death path enjoy their right.

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Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Law and Professional Ethics. (2019, May 31). Retrieved April 13, 2024 , from

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