Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Ethical Value of Physician-Assisted Suicide (Summary/Breakdown)

Group Members: Caleb Hough, Gavin Hillsman, Michael Harber, Robby Sabir.

Topic: The Ethical Value of PAS.


Michael Harber - Introduction to PAS (I.E: Background/Historical Information).

Robby Sabir - The Ethical Value of the "Pros" of PAS (I.E: Supporting Information).

Caleb Hough - The Ethical Value of the "Cons" of PAS (I.E: Opposing Information).

Gavin Hillsman - Modern-Day Application and Practices of PAS (I.E: Statistical Information).

*conclusion and introduction to the presentation were a collaborative effort*


We will be presenting the topic of the ethical value of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) and what factors must be considered in this process as far as ethics and morality are concerned. Our presentation includes background information about PAS in order to provide the audience with the necessary knowledge prior to discussing other details about this process. Additionally, the generally understood weighting factors (I.E: Pros and Cons) involved with  PAS will be presented to the audience along with the modern day applications and legalities involved with this process.

*presentation includes a discussion topic at the end for the audience to think about*

Discussion Video (Link):


  1. Very good article from Time mag that gives an overview of PAS that I used for my presentation:

  2. Make-up Post: 3/3/16

    I have pondered on the bioethical issue of physician assisted suicide. Should humans have the right to die? Physician assisted suicide is when a doctor assists a patient with a chronic disorder in their death. Here are some pros and cons.
    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.

    -The nurse or doctor can move onto another patient that has a chance at living instead of spending their time helping a terminally ill patient.
    -Pain of the patient's family can be reduced.

    -Vital organs can be saved and used to save other patients.

    -Without physician assistance people may commit suicide in messy, horrifying, or tramatic ways.
    Here are some cons I researched:
    It would violate the doctor's hippocratic oath.

    -It decreases the value of human life.

    -It could open the floodgate to non-critical patient suicides and other abuses.

    -Many religions believe that if you commit suicide you are sent straight to Hell. Therefore, it is harder for the famililes.

    -Doctors and familis may be prompted to give up on recovery much too early

    -Government and insurance companies may may put undue pressure on doctors to avoid heroic measures or recommend the PAS procedure.

    -Doctors' could be given too much power

    In fact, a struggle of power between the physician and patient are cumbersome. Some physicians may not have the best interest of the patient. On the other hand, the patient may not be mentally capable of making this decision in their state of condition. Advocates of assisted-suicide laws believe that mentally competent people who are suffering and have no chance of long-term survival, should have the right to die if and when they choose. If people are have the right to refuse life-saving treatments, they argue, they should also have the freedom to choose to end their own lives.

    Opponents say that such laws devalue human life. Medical prognoses are often inaccurate, they note — meaning people who have been told they will soon die sometimes live for many months or even years longer. They also argue that seriously ill people often suffer from undiagnosed depression or other mental illnesses that can impair their ability to make an informed decision.
    Physician-assisted death, also known as physician-assisted suicide, is currently legal in Oregon, Washington and Montana. Other states, among them Hawaii, Pennsylvania and Vermont, are considering legislation to allow physician-assisted deaths for people with terminal illnesses
    In the long term, the debate will heighten as more states pass laws to allow doctors and patients to make this difficult decision.