Essay Example on Physician-assisted death is a Contentious Topic









Physician-assisted death is a contentious topic in our world today We ask the question should people have the legal right to choose when to end their lives The practice of physician-assisted death is known as a doctor knowingly and intentionally providing a person with the knowledge or means or both required to commit suicide including counseling about lethal doses of drugs prescribing such lethal doses or supplying the drugs Canadian Medical Association Although it is legal in some countries such as Canada Belgium and Switzerland it is still outlawed in most Additionally it is legal in six of the 50 US states In the states where it is still illegal such as Wisconsin performing an assisted death can result in being charged with a Class H felony which results in up to 10 000 dollars in fines and six years in prison In the countries and states where it is legal the patient must be diagnosed as terminally ill with less than six months to live The lethal dose must be given by the patient not the physician This is to prevent the physician from being in charged with murder or a felony 

The debate of whether terminally ill or suffering patients should have the right to end their suffering has been debated since the beginning of time This debate dates back to 380 BC when a Greek man by the name of Hippocrates wrote a set of physician rules called the Hippocratic Oath In his oath it states I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked nor will I advise such a plan Hippocrates As we entered the modern era many people s opinions began to change The community is greatly separated on on whether to legalize PAD Physician Assisted Death or to leave it the way it has been Recent polls show that the public is almost divided 50 50 with 51 9 of people against it CNN It is the state s choice to decide whether it is justified or not As of now six states have chose to allow it with six others in the process of legalizing it Currently there is one state the state of Montana that allows it but only under court ruling which can take months to go through The most preeminent argument for Physician assisted death is it reduces suffering of people with fatal illnesses In a terminal illness state the process of dying can be very long and painful process To have the option of PAD one would have to be declared terminally ill with less than sixth months to live According to the state of Oregon the main reason for using Physician assisted death is the loss of autonomy which means that they loss control of their bodies 

The second most popular reason for physician-assisted death is a loss of dignity State of Oregon Most would think that pain would be the main cause but it is not reported on the list at all It is the inability to function and be a part of society that pushes patients to choose physician-assisted death The second argument for physician-assisted death is that it eases the pain and suffering that one s family goes through 48 percent of PAD users in the state of Oregon stated that their reason for using physician-assisted death is to avoid being a burden on their family The process of dying can sometimes take months even years to go through Emotionally that is very hard to deal with especially if there is no chance of there being a positive ending 

As stated by Margaret Pabst Battin an expert on PAD and euthanasia Having to watch a loved one s symptoms get worse sometimes over a long period of time can be very harrowing sometimes it is the family members who are in even greater emotional need than the patient Pabst Battain Not only is it the emotional burden on the family but the financial one as well Long term care such as nursing homes or assisted living homes can become very expensive According to Emily Mullin of U S News the average nursing home costs 248 dollars per day which add up to over 90 000 dollars annually Mullin If the patient can t afford to make these payments that cost could end up on the family causing a huge financial burden

Many believe that legalizing PAD is a violation of a person s basic human rights Article 2 of the human rights act directly protects our right to life It states that nobody including the government can try to end your life Equality and Human Rights Commission This includes physician-assisted suicide because the government is indirectly taking your life by providing you with the means necessary to complete the action By legalizing physician-assisted suicide it opens the door for euthanasia which certain people are calling legal murder By definition Euthanasia is the practice of ending somebody else s life to relieve pain Nordqvist This theory of opening the door for euthanasia is known as the slippery slope theory The slippery slope theory claims that legalizing physician-assisted suicide would eventually lead to non voluntary or involuntary euthanasia Beckford Non voluntary and involuntary euthanasia means that the person being killed was not given the choice between life or death but was forced to die

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