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Title: Ethics Paper
Description: What do you think is right?


granobulax - November 3, 2008 02:13 PM (GMT)
“Physician-assisted suicide,” is it murder by the doctor? Perhaps it’s merely suicide by the patient. Possibly, the issue is as simple as being a humane way to die. Depending on the situation, maybe physicians assisted suicide could be a unique combination of several different ethical principals. This is a debate has been raging for many years and does not appear to be going away any time soon.
To start, what exactly is physician-assisted suicide? Generally, it’s referred to as a practice where a doctor supplies a patient with a lethal dose of medication, per patients’ request, with the patients’ intent of killing themselves (Braddock, 2008). At this time, Oregon is the only state in the US where this act has been legalized. On October 27, 1997, the death with dignity act was passed in Oregon which permitted Oregonians to end their own life by means of voluntary self-administration of deadly drugs, which have been prescribed by a physician for the purpose of ending the patient’s life (Oregon.gov, 2008).
To best comprehend the ethical pros and cons of physician-assisted suicide would to view it in real life context. For example, a woman of thirty-two that resides in Oregon is in end stage breast cancer. She is in terrible pain and has asked the doctor for a quick, painless death. What are some of the ethical reasons for or against the doctor in aiding the woman to an easier death?
Those who are for physician-assisted suicide have many reasons to believe that the prescribed death of a human being would be completely ethical and even a humane way to end life. In addition, many supporters of physician-assisted suicide believe it to be compassionate. The thirty-two year old patient is terminally ill with cancer her pain simply cannot be alleviated through pain management. To these supporters, she is enduring unneeded pain and suffering. The act of physician-assisted suicide, as requested by the patient, would then be a compassionate act in many people’s eyes.
The patient’s own personal liberty is another argument in favor of physician-assisted suicide (Braddock, 2008). At what point does a terminally ill person gain the right of his or her own personal liberty over a society which is primarily based on preserving life? For those who advocate the use of physician assisted suicides, their personal belief is that to deny a terminally ill patient the right to end his or her life is a direct violation of that persons’ personal liberty to do so.
According to many supporters of physician-assisted suicide, the terminally ill persons’ autonomy should also be respected. The time and circumstances surrounding ones own death is a very deep and personal choice to be made. This side of the argument simply states that a person that is cognitive, and competent to make the decision for them selves, should have the right to choose to life or death. In these special situations, it is believed that everyone is in charge of his or her own life, so why should the thirty-two year old woman suffer needlessly when the she can choose to opt out of excruciating pain?
Then there’s justice. Out of those who are terminally ill, there are some that are connected to various complex machines that are essentially keeping that person alive. These people have the choice to remove these life support machines and die peacefully. Justice comes into play for those who are not on life support and want the same right to die as those who simply have the option to “Pull the plug.” Simply stated, if a terminally ill patient has the right to disconnect from life support devices and die, why not our terminally ill patient whom is in extreme pain?
As with all ethical problems, there is a negative side to the argument. This encompasses those who are not in support of such extreme measures such as physician-assisted suicide. The largest argument against physician-assisted suicide would be the sanctity of life (Braddock, 2008). Within many religions, such as Judaism, suicide is considered on of the most heinous of all sins. The act of assisting in suicide is also explicitly prohibited. It is stated in the book of Leviticus 19:14 "Do not put a stumbling block before the blind." This line has been interpreted as a metaphor to not aide another person in committing a sin (Wikipedia, 2008). According to the majority of religion, the practice of nonmaleficence is imperative to proper care of another human being. This viewpoint is held by many religions as well, and to participate in physician-assisted suicide would be considered one of the greatest of sins a person could commit.
There are also those who believe that letting someone die via “Pulling the plug,” is a passive way to die. This still constitutes a natural way of bringing about death and as such, is ethical. For physician-assisted suicide to take place, the act of killing is taking place. This is an active method of death; therefore assisted suicide would not be considered a justifiable condition for an ethical manner of death.
Another aspect to drawbacks of physician-assisted suicide would be that perhaps a doctor would try to push a patient into committing suicide. If assisted suicide ever did become legal in other states besides Oregon, then there is likelihood that in order to save money in the health care industry, a physician may push family or patients into assisted suicide. For example, the physician does indeed assist the thirty-two year old woman to commit suicide and notices that he saved himself a lot of money. What’s to say he won’t attempt to “Suggest” the procedure to other of his terminally ill patients? This would be a highly unethical situation that would inevitably occur. Continuing to ensure the safety of patients and family by the continuation of the illegality of physician-assisted suicide would be optimal.
All of these debates make for quite a complicated conundrum. On one side, there are the advocates for the patient. On the other side, there are the providers of the preservation of human life. The decision for this action can be a very difficult one. If the decision is made to go through with the assisted suicide, then the patient may be relieved of all of her pain. If the decision to not assist the patient with suicide is made, then many ethical complications may be avoided.
In the end, the procedure is legal in Oregon and all of the parameters are met. The female patient was given a lethal dose of medication and she administered it to herself. The physician followed all of the proper protocol and helped his patient by being her advocate. While her life was cut slightly shorter, she did not have to endure the pain that went with her last natural days.
While this situation is completely fictional, it happens every day. This is the compelling conflict of doing what is thought to be right and what is legal. Outside of Oregon, the practice of Physician-assisted suicide is completely illegal. Had the patient asked for a doctor to assist in suicide in another state, this scenario would likely have not happened. Personally, I do not agree with physician-assisted suicide, but I respect the decision for a person in pain to want to end his or her misery. Everyone in this scenario followed through with what needed to be done but that in of itself is a major conflict amongst the public. Perhaps, someday this issue will be resolved, but in the mean time, the debate will rage on. If I had the personal choice of making the decision of another person’s life given the conditions that the patient in my scenario went through, I don’t know how I would have reacted, but I do realize that these kind of tough decisions are made every day.

pinhead 2 - November 3, 2008 02:54 PM (GMT)
wow i'm not reading that it;s too long

granobulax - November 3, 2008 07:20 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (pinhead 2 @ Nov 3 2008, 02:54 PM)
wow i'm not reading that it;s too long

Tis the fate of Wolvie and I... -_-

super_wolverine_Man - November 3, 2008 08:07 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (pinhead 2 @ Nov 3 2008, 02:54 PM)
wow i'm not reading that. I'm lazy.

Yep.

super_wolverine_Man - November 3, 2008 08:12 PM (GMT)
This papers very well written. You argued your opinion very throughly, yet you lack some kind of evidence that supports your claims. Give me some factual information, rather than just arguing your side. You need something concrete like statistics. You know what I'm saying?

granobulax - November 3, 2008 10:57 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (super_wolverine_Man @ Nov 3 2008, 08:12 PM)
This papers very well written. You argued your opinion very throughly, yet you lack some kind of evidence that supports your claims. Give me some factual information, rather than just arguing your side. You need something concrete like statistics. You know what I'm saying?

Unfortunately, a lot of the subjects argued in this paper are subjective data and thus have few statistics worth noting. I didn't actually argue for either side in this paper, rather I showed an arguement for both sides and presented my opinion at the end of the paper.

I'm glad you liked the paper, what are your thoughts on the subject of the paper? For or against? What would you do if asked to do an act such as this if you were a physician?

Oh, and for a good read, you should check out M Bisons' Stalin paper. Very informative.

super_wolverine_Man - November 3, 2008 11:24 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (granobulax @ Nov 3 2008, 10:57 PM)
QUOTE (super_wolverine_Man @ Nov 3 2008, 08:12 PM)
This papers very well written. You argued your opinion very throughly, yet you lack some kind of evidence that supports your claims. Give me some factual information, rather than just arguing your side. You need something concrete like statistics. You know what I'm saying?

Unfortunately, a lot of the subjects argued in this paper are subjective data and thus have few statistics worth noting. I didn't actually argue for either side in this paper, rather I showed an arguement for both sides and presented my opinion at the end of the paper.

I'm glad you liked the paper, what are your thoughts on the subject of the paper? For or against? What would you do if asked to do an act such as this if you were a physician?

Oh, and for a good read, you should check out M Bisons' Stalin paper. Very informative.

Oh, I know. I just thought that it would make your essay more crediable had you had something concrete to illustrate the conflicting viewpoints you have shown in your paper.

I read m bisons essay. It was very informative, and I enjoyed reading it.

I'm not really in the mood to tell you my opinion, right now. No offense.




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