Assisted Suicide – Introduction

Introduction/Rationale “No person is entitled to consent to have death inflicted on him, and such consent does not affect the criminal responsibility of any person by whom death may be inflicted on the person by whom consent is given. ”, this is according to the Indiana Code of Criminal Law and Procedure. In ancient days, assisted suicide was frequently seen as a way to preserve one’s honor. For the past twenty-five years, on the other hand, the practice has been viewed as a response to the progress of modern medicine. New and often expensive medical technologies have been developed that prolong life.

However, the technologies also prolong the dying processes, leading some people to question whether modern medicine is forcing patients to live in unnecessary pain when there is no chance they will be cured. Despite the changes in modern medicine, the attitudes toward assisted suicide in America’s courts and legislatures have not altered considerably. Debate over assisted suicide nearly always centers on the “slippery slope” argument. This argument holds that permitting one behavior will lead to a series of increasingly dangerous behaviors.

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Critics argue that if voluntary assisted suicide is legalized for competent, terminally ill adults, the acceptance of involuntary euthanasia for incompetent, elderly, or uninsured people will follow. Assisted-suicide advocates contend that the slippery-slope argument is fallacious. They argue that legalizing assisted suicide would not place patients’ right to life at risk because America is founded on democratic values that would ensure the rights of all citizens. Assisted Suicide is defined as an attempt to take one’s own life with the intentional assistance of another person.

It is a form of euthanasia in which a person wishes to commit suicide but feels unable to perform the act alone because of a physical disability or lack of knowledge about the most effective means. An individual who assists a suicide victim in accomplishing that goal may or may not be held responsible for the death, depending on local laws. The participation of health professionals, especially physicians, in assisted suicide is controversial. Nowadays, assisted suicide is still debatable if it will be legalized or not. However, in Philippines, since it is a religious country.

Assisted suicide remains prohibited for no one can take away one’s life except God and it is clearly stated in the Ten Commandments, ‘Thou shall not kill’. Assisted Suicide or Physician-assisted suicide has its proponents and its opponents. Among the opponents are some physicians who believe it violates the fundamental principle of medicine and believe that doctors should not assist in suicides because to do so is incompatible with the doctor’s role as a healer. Physician-assisted suicide is often abbreviated PAS. It is called doctor-assisted suicide in the UK.

The debate over whether assisted suicide should be legalized in the United States—a nation considerably larger and more diverse than the Netherlands—is not likely to be resolved in the near future. People on both sides of the issue will undoubtedly pay close attention to developments in Oregon, and perhaps other states, in an effort to bolster their side of the slippery-slope argument. Body Many have argued that it would be worse, morally speaking, for health care professionals to engage in assisted suicide, than others because it would weaken the basic values of the health professions.

Others argue that these values include providing relief from suffering and that there are rare times when death is the only means of achieving this goal. Germany actually accepts assisted suicide but is against euthanasia, largely because of the issue of patient control. If the patient is performing, the action that leads to death it is more likely that this was a voluntary choice for the patient. Thus, there is less risk of abuse. Many people thought that assisted suicide and euthanasia is the same but the truth is these two terms are completely different from the other.

The main difference between assisted suicide and euthanasia is that in assisted suicide the patient is in complete control of the process that leads to death because he/she is the person who performs the act of suicide. The other person simply helps for example, providing the means for carrying out the action. In the US, only the State of Oregon permits assisted suicide or physician-assisted suicide. The Oregon Death with Dignity Act allows terminally ill state residents to receive prescriptions for self-administered lethal medications from their physicians. It does not ermit euthanasia, in which a physician or other person directly administers a medication to a patient in order to end his or her life. The Oregon law allows adults with terminal diseases who are likely to die within 6 months to obtain lethal doses of drugs from their doctors. A relatively very small number of people sought lethal drugs under the law and even fewer people who actually used them. Many patients have said that what they want most is a choice about how their lives will end, “a finger on the remote control, as it were. ” Like for instance, the case of Diane, one of the patients of Dr.

Timothy Quill. She was diagnosed with acute myelomonocytic leukemia and she was under Dr. Quill for a period of 8 years. Dr. Quill informed her of the diagnosis, and of the possible treatments. The series of treatments include multiple sessions of chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant, accompanied by an array of ancillary treatments, in which the rate of survival is only 25% and it is very hard to find a bone marrow donor that will perfectly match her bone marrow type. Upon knowing, she decided to control the time of her death and informed Dr.

Quill so that she could avoid the loss of dignity and discomfort, which will proceed to her death. She called Dr. Quill for barbiturates complaining for her insomnia. Dr. Quill gave her a prescription of the amount to take to make her sleep and the amount she will take to commit suicide. Few days after, Diane called her friends including Dr. Quill and say goodbye. Two days after Diane took away her life after they met. This is an amazing example of a case study of an assisted suicide, which really shows the difference between assisted-suicide from euthanasia. Analysis/Author’s Discussion

Approaching the problem of suffering among the dying through the lens of assisted suicide is like looking through the wrong end of binoculars; it narrows and distorts the view. My focus is in reducing the conditions that make assisted suicide seem an attractive alternative to patients facing the prospect of living with an incurable illness and to society struggling to care for the dying. Success will not come with making assisted suicide legal, but rather with making them unnecessary. According to Dr. Ira Byock, as a doctor, his commitment is to do everything possible and anything that is necessary to alleviate a person’s suffering.

In the very rare situations in which physical distress is extreme, it is always possible to provide comfort through sedation. I firmly agree with Dr. Byock for the main role of a doctor is to save life and to heal the sick not to kill or take away people’s lives. The difference between what Dr. Byock do from euthanasia is that palliative care does whatever is necessary to alleviate the suffering while euthanasia is focused on eliminating the sufferer. As a Catholic, being a tool to take away one’s life is a mortal sin and assisted suicide was never accepted as a legal practice here in Philippines.

But for me, I disagree in the practice of assisted suicide and it will always be wrong to help in taking away people’s lives no matter what the reason it will be. Still assisted suicide remains debatable and still a lot of cases are still on-going. Conclusion Assisted suicide brings out some of the deepest feelings amongst human beings. It is a hard decision that nobody wishes to take, and is the power over life and death. Is killing a terminally ill patient justifiable? Who determines the worth of one’s life? God or human? The answer to this question varies, as there are many points of view to this controversial issue.

Thus, assisted suicide is a form of suicide, which involves a person other than the person taking his or her own life. And during which the other person assists in direct or indirect physical means in giving effect to the suicide or, in the event of a statutory definition, in a manner as set out in that statute. The right to assisted suicide is a significant topic that concerns people all over the world. The debates go back and forth, about whether a dying patient has the right to die with assistance of a physician or other person. Some are against it because of religious and moral reasons.

Others are for it because of their compassion and respect for the dying. Some physicians and Christians are also divided on the issue. They differ where they place the line that separates relief from dying and killing. Those among us, who think we would want assisted suicide if we were sick, should ask ourselves whether that is also what we would want for our lover, sister, brother, or child who was incurably ill. Would we want them to die quickly, so that they would not become a burden to us? If not, we need to look deeply into what “success” would look like in this time of living we call dying.

Recommendations •I acclaim not to legalized assisted suicide for as a Christian, to help in taking away one’s life is always a mistake. Since our role as a steward of the earth is to preserve our lives. •We expect physicians to heal and preserve life, not to kill on request. I want to be able to trust my doctor to do what is best for me in every situation by not doing illegal stuffs like assisting suicide. • Since, assisted suicide is a moral issue, I recommend that it has to be resolved on the basis of principles we use to deal with every other question about right and wrong, not a special case. Depression, when present, should be treated. I endorse that patients should be given sufficient time and counseling to enable them to make sure their decision represents their deepest wishes. But at some point we have to decide whether patients are to be permitted to be the authors of their own destiny or not. •The option of “self – deliverance” should not be taken for granted for some might take advantage of it especially the mentally ill people who would grab the opportunity to decide when to end their lives.

Bibliography: http://medical-dictionary. thefreedictionary. com/assisted+suicide http://www. duhaime. org/LegalDictionary/A/AssistedSuicide. aspx Criminal Code of Canada, Revised Statutes of Canada 1985, Chapter C-46 http://www. dyingwell. org http://www. pages. drexel. edu/~cp28/euth1. htm http://www. oppapers. com/essays/Physician-Assisted-Suicide-Case-Study/38054 The Ethics of Assisted Death: When Life Becomes a Burden too Hard to Bear (Lima, OH: CSS Publishing Co. , 1999). http://www. enotes. com/assisted-suicide-article

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