Argument for Physician-Assisted Suicide
Doctors should be granted permission to assist terminally ill patients in ending their lives (assisted suicide)
Physician-assisted suicide is the process through which doctors allows terminally ill patients to die by denying them extreme medical measures such as CPR or giving them a lethal dose that allows them to die faster and painlessly (Dworkin & Bok, 2013). The right to assisted dying is a topic that has many views across the globe as some are against for moral and religious reasons while others support it out of empathy and respect for the dying. However, Patients suffering from terminal illnesses and painful grave conditions should have the right to choose assisted suicide or euthanasia, as these conditions prevent them from living their lives as healthy people (Quill, 2014). This paper aims at elaborating on the reasons why their doctors or physicians should make assisted dying available to patients.
First, the right to die is an important aspect of this argument. A competent, terminally ill person reserves the right to make a decision as to whether to continue in suffering or to opt for a much easier option which is assisted suicide. This right may be deemed to be as essential as any other basic human rights thus his is equivalent to a denial of any other human right. A state’s illegalization of euthanasia in the case of competent, terminally ill patients who wish to have a dignified, painless death interferes with protected liberty interest (American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), 1996).[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
It is argued that prohibition against killing patients stands as the first promise of self-restraint sworn to in the Hippocratic Oath and therefore that assisted suicide is in itself contrary to the basic foundation of the practice of medicine, which is to protect human life. However, over a period of many years since the establishment of the Hippocratic Oath, it has been modified sometimes as some of its contents became less and less applicable to the changing periods of the modern world.
Although medical technology has improved significantly, for example, patients with lung failure can use respirators and other medicines that serve to prolong the patient’s physiological processes, for the terminally ill, this only serves to prolong their suffering and agony (Nitschke, 2001). An example is the case of Lillian Boyes, a patient who has rheumatoid arthritis who asks her doctor’s assistance in dying, as she can no longer withstand the pain since the pain medicine is not sufficient in alleviating the pain (Quill, 2014). Assisted dying is the only means to an end as there is no cure for terminal illnesses.
There is the financial aspect of terminal illnesses. Maintaining patients’ suffering from terminal illnesses comes at a high cost. Not only are there expenses brought about by the regular hospital visits, medication and medical procedures which even the more financially able who have medical insurance, may not be covered under their specific cover, there is also the disadvantage of loss of income (Quill, 2014). A terminally ill patient may not be able to work, losing the source of income. This may also be made worse in the case where the sick person was the principal breadwinner. The family is forced not only to find a way of providing for themselves but also to be able to cater for the growing medical expenses. Also, upon their death, they leave their families in financial ruin due to the massive debts owed to the hospital.
Terminal illnesses have the tendency of reducing able, versatile, and healthy to weak individuals who are left with no option other than to rely on their relatives for food, personal hygiene and other dehumanizing aspects of life (Orfalli, 2011). Moreover, their lives continue to deteriorate to the point where they cannot see, move, or hear and eventually death. Such an individual should be allowed to die in dignity by granting them euthanasia.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
There is also the question as to whether the decision on how much is too much should be left in the authority of an institution as formal as the government. For the patients and their loved ones, at some point they are faced with tough decisions to make: When should we stop doing all that we can do to save this life? When do we stop undergoing therapies and let nature take its course? When are we unduly influenced by our fear of death and letting torturous medical methods excessively prolong the dying rather than preserve the living? These intensely personal and emotionally straining decisions should not be left to governments, judges or legislators. (LA TIMES, 2005)
In conclusion, terminally ill patients are usually in a huge dilemma on how to live their last days as they have to choose between living out the rest of their days in agony and pain or a slow death (assisted suicide). Of which, many choose the latter. Assisted suicide has several ethical reasons among them being, dying in dignity, saving cost and liberty interests. Therefore, physician-assisted dying is crucial in maintaining patients dignity among other aspects discussed in the paper.[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
Dworkin Gerald, R. G Frey, and Sissela Bok. Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Print.
Orfali Robert. Death with Dignity. Minneapolis, Minn.: Mill City Press, 2011. Print.
Quill Timothy, E, and M. Pabst Battin. Physician-Assisted Dying. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. Print.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). (1996, December 10). LA TIMES. (2005, March 22).
Los Angeles Times – Euthanasia – ProCon.org [Web log post].
Nitschke, P. (2001, June 5). Philip Nitschke, Ph.D., MBBS – Euthanasia –