Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Physician Assisted Suicide: Death With Dignity

An individual’s autonomy  in the United States allows a person  to  have  certain unalienable  rights  like freedom of speech and  religion. However, at  the  end  of one’s  life,  most  states have laws  that  restrict  the right to die with  the  aid  of  a doctor. This  is  also  known  as  physician  assisted suicide. Hence, the question should  be asked: Does every  human being  have the  right  to terminate  his or  her life? My firm belief  is that physician assisted suicide is a policy that  should  be  allowed  but  taken  seriously.  In the event of  a terminal  disease, the  patient  should be allowed to  die. However,  not only should a  doctor  sign off on this  request, board members of  a  health  organization  should  review the  patient’s  decision. A  counselor  should  be  assigned to this  patient  with  hopes of  swaying  his  or  her decision  by assessing  their psychological reasoning. By no  means  should  a  person be forced to  suffer through  their last  days.  Frances  Kann  once said, “Therefore, when  death  is a  lesser evil,  it  is  sometimes  permissible for  us  to  intend  death in order  to  stop  pain” (Globalreasoning.com). This  is  a  powerful statement and speaks  to  the  autonomy  that terminally ill people  deserve.  Now, on a broader spectrum, terminally  ill patients  are easily justified,  but  what  about people  that  have  been  battling  with  disorders such  as schizophrenia? This is very debatable, but  the  answer lies  with  the individual person. When people suffer neurological disorders, such as  turrets, his  or her  life can be very painful to  endure. Personally, I  am close to a person with this disorder. Losing control  of your body can  take a toll and possibly make a person want to end his or her suffering. If the severity of a terminal disorder persist, then the patient, doctor, psychologist, and other personnel should  determine if physician  assisted suicide is applicable.

                Physician assisted suicide also has  negative outcomes that  must be addressed. Doctor’s must obey what is called “The Hippocratic Oath”. This degree states that we should treat the ill with the best of one’s ability. Most pro-PAS members take this statement less conservative. I believe that every doctor has  the  responsibility to keep  a patient alive. However, in the event of a terminal illness, PAS may be what is “best for the  patient” if they choose so. The next issue is that corruption could occur by the  government and insurance  companies. Terminally ill patients cost insurance companies millions every year. Insurance companies could set up incentives for families of  PAS, which could sway a patient’s decision. Physician assisted suicide  could open Pandora’s Box. In order to prevent this  development if PAS was  nationally legal, our country would need restrictions and laws that would prevent this  from occurring. The final measure to account for  is the families. When a love one is lost,  the families most often suffer the most emotional pain. Additionally, a family member may not agree with PAS by his  or her religious background. If terms of agreement are met among family members with the patient, then physician assisted suicide may be permissible.


  1. http://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/DeathwithDignityAct

  2. It's so very hard to do absolutely NO harm, when seeking to prolong life. The oath should perhaps be modified: Do no more harm than necessary, in seeking a humane balance between the continuation of life and the acceptance of inevitable mortality.