Physician Assisted Suicide
ITT Technical Institute
Professor Jeremy Pilarski
November 10 2014
The Right to die debate; is the common name of this current issue. It’s legal in the state of Oregon since 1998. Since then more than 341 terminally ill people have taken advantage of it to hasten their deaths. According to Humphry (2013, September) “The Washington Death with Dignity Act, Initiative 1000, codified as RCW 70.245, passed on November 4, 2008” http://finalexit.org/assisted_suicide_laws_united_states.html. He also stated “On December 31, 2009, the Montana Supreme Court ruled in a 4-2 decision that nothing in state law prevents patients from seeking physician-assisted suicide”. Also, Humphry (2013, September 7) “In May 2013 the Vermont state legislature passed the “End-of-Life Choices” law, a provision allowing patients who have been diagnosed by two doctors as having six months or less to live to request a doctor-assisted death” http://finalexit.org/assisted_suicide_laws_united_states.html.
Also it is legal around the world in these countries, Switzerland in 1941, Belgium in 2002 and Netherlands, since l984.
According to Lerner & Lerner (2006) “Physician-assisted suicide refers to the practice of a physician prescribing or regulating, upon a patient's informed request, a lethal dose of medication for the purpose of ending that patient's life” (p. 459). They also stated “Physician-assisted suicide differs from euthanasia in that patients, and not physicians, ultimately control their own means of death” (p. 459).
November 1 of 2014 Brittany Maynard, a 29 years old woman from Portland Oregon, decided to cut her life short after being diagnosed with a terminal illness, to be more specific, terminal brain cancer. She was given six month to live. She took a lethal drugs prescribed by her physician and kill herself.
In the last three month of her life, she gained twenty five pounds, just for the use of prescribed medication. She was having two seizures daily, and her recover was gradually more difficult every day. Her prognosis was limited to six months of life, and the doctor told her the at one point she will lose control over herself, that the brain tumor will keep on growing and her brain will be crush against the skull.
Since Brittany find out her fate, she become an advocate for the right to die with dignity act.
Like every argument there is at least two sides, ones that support the physician assisted suicide and another that oppose it. The support side stated according to Lerner & Lerner (2006), “Most proponents of physician-assisted suicide agree that the practice must be regulated by both law and the medical profession to prevent abuse and promote safety. Proponents assert that assisting some patients to hasten their deaths does not violate the ethical duty of physicians” (p. 461).
They also stated the patients' tremendous amounts of pain and suffering will end,
the patients die knowing that it was their choice, the patients can die with dignity rather than a shell of their former selves, health care costs can be reduced, pain of the patient's family can be reduced. Vital organs can be saved and used to save other patients and without physician assistance people may commit suicide in messy, horrifying, or traumatic ways.
One the other hand we have those that oppose the physician assisted suicide; according to Lerner & Lerner (2006), “opponents of physician-assisted suicide assert that the practice undermines in society the value of individual life. Many disability advocates claim that physician-assisted suicide enforces negative social stereotypes about what people consider a valuable and meaningful existence. They claim that by giving terminally ill patients a means of avoiding debilitation physicians are reinforcing attitudes that debilitation makes life unbearable or less worthy. Some worry that elderly and disabled patients may be pressured into