Issues on Physician Assisted Suicide

The issue of whether doctors should be allowed to assist patients in suicide has been a very sensitive and emotional topic for people on both sides. With machines to substitute organs and blood, there is no doubt technology have saved and prolonged many lives. Although medical studies on improving life have increased, many patients have lost their will to live, or some feel pressure to end their lives with the growing cost of medical care. Questions on the value of life have risen; people’s rights, whether doctor-assisted suicide is allowed, and who would decide for the person are all issues that play significant roles in the debate. Nevertheless, despite the weak opposition of positive effects for doctor-assisted suicide, doctors who grant patients lethal medicines or injections lose control of their judgment and often kill patients without their knowledge. If assisted suicide became legal, in many states, it could endanger lives.
Although assisted suicide is morally wrong, many people feel that terminally ill patients should be given the privilege of early death. The fear of pain has been the main factor when terminally ill patients want doctor-assisted suicide. “Society can ask for three things: that doctors be humanitarians and not merely scientist, that life support mechanics and other aspects of modern medical technology not be used where there is no hope, and that when the patient is suffering from severe pain it be relieved by medicine even if this means shortening the life of the patient” (Barnyard 89). However, relieving a person from pain can be done in other ways. People who want doctors to have more compassion must realize if doctors face people wanting to be put to death every day, they may lose their morals. Furthermore, a person may feel the pressure to commit suicide if assisted suicide is ever made legal. Because of these pressures, a person may not be reasoning rationally.

“A patient must be mentally alert, within six months of death, and a doctor must certify that a patient’s decision is not coerced to do a physician-assisted suicide” (Leone, Daniel 42-3). It is also hard to prove that a patient is spiritually alert. They may have been influenced strongly by another person. If they also are experiencing depression, their decision for assisted suicide may be an impulsive choice. Doctor-assisted suicide should never be made legal

If doctor-assisted suicide was legalized, it would be virtually impossible to control. One place where it would be hard to control would be in the court system. “No one knows for sure what the medical world will be like once the legal shackles against assisted suicide are removed, but we can guess” (Leone, Bruno 95). With so many different people, conditions, and cases the courts would not be likely to give each request for death a fair amount of time to investigate. Eighteen years ago, after David Rivlin broke his neck in a swimming accident at age twenty, he decided that he’d had enough and wanted to die. Intellectually unimpaired, but so severely paralyzed he depended on a machine to breathe, the judge granted him his wish. She justified it by saying it would not be an illegal assistance in Rivlin’s suicide, it would be the granting of his legal right to refuse medical treatment. When his doctor turned off his respirator he quickly died. Five days before he died, Rivlin said, “I don’t want to live an empty life, lying helplessly in a nursing home for another thirty years” (Smith 50). Rather than search for a way to get him out of a nursing home, the court sanctioned his death. With not enough time and people in courts to analyze each individual situation, assisted suicide may slip out of the government’s control. Moreover, there are fears that the poor, minorities, and disabled might be more easily encouraged to die rather than receive inadequate health care

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