Ethical Issues of Assisted Suicide


It is also squabbled that assisted suicide for fatally ill people undergoing severe pain can be differentiated from euthanasia used for the purpose of genocide on the basis that it is on the basis of the principles of self-respect, respect, and reverence and is selected and performed by the dying persons, instead of being forced on them in opposition to their will. (End of Life Issues and Care) Some would disagree that assisted death already happens in secrecy. For instance, morphine drips apparently used for pain relief is a secret form of assisted death or euthanasia. That PAS is unlawful avoids an open argument, in which patients and doctors could take part. Making PAS legally lawful will encourage open discussion. (Ethics in Medicine: Physician-Assisted Suicide)

The pain experienced by friends and family of the patient is frequently equivalent to or more than the patient himself. Observing a loved one in such suffering for so long is very hard. The stress drawn out for so long is emotional and physically challenging. Generally, the death of patient takes place abruptly or followed by a period when the patient has lost consciousness. The patient gets a chance to say his final goodbyes and end his life with dignity if it is physician-assisted suicide. (Should an incurably-ill patient be able to commit physician-assisted suicide?)

Legal arguments assert that it would be in the best concern of dying patients to be able to control methods that are presently being used secretly for assisted suicide. This set of laws would also defend the doctors who are presently fulfilling unlawfully the patient desires out of sympathy. Medical arguments squabble that fit incurably ill patients desiring to opt for assisted suicide may feel deserted by doctors who decline to help them. The censure that medical doctors who help in suicide would be disobeying the Hippocratic Oath is disproved on various grounds. First, the original Oath barring killing also banned abortions, surgery, and charging teaching fees, all of which have been changed to meet modern realities. Second, assisted suicide, unlike euthanasia, does not entail the ending of life by a doctor, as it is the dying person himself or herself who takes the steps to end his or her life. Third, the Oath necessitates the doctors to take all steps required to reduce pain, and some understand this to include assisted suicide when that is the only way pain can be reduced. (End of Life Issues and Care)

Making assisted suicide and euthanasia legally lawful will not create any dangerous effects for the society and suitable protection can reduce those possible dangers. For instance, in spite of the present ban, assisted suicide takes place. Explicitly allowing assisted suicide in agreement with the necessary protection can thus hearten doctors to converse without restraint with their patients and to discuss with professional colleagues. Permitted consultation with an approved psychiatrist would enhance the identification and cure of many patients who are dejected. Thus, when it is done under cautiously defined situations it would lead to larger professional responsibility and lesser cases of insults. Though there are some criticisms against legalizing assisted suicide or euthanasia, the number of improper deaths is small, and the chances to lessen pain in other cases outweigh the cost. The significance of criticism suggests the requirement for protection, but should not prevent authorizing assisted suicide and euthanasia. (When Death is Sought Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in the Medical Context)

The discussions concerning protection and the greasy slant holds that it is possible to safeguard people from criticism through suitable laws which would give control by an arrangement of state legislation and professional regulation by soothing care consultants and ethics committees that would have professionals and community representatives. Many methods for protection have been planned and in general have affirmation of diagnosis, prognosis, treatment options, and decision-making capacity; evaluation for optional means of lessening pain; nondirective counseling; education of physicians; and education of the public. It is also disputed that extensively used and generally believed legal end-of-life interferences like maintaining or retreating treatment, double effect, and terminal sedation are also subject to the greasy slope or to criticism and yet are thought to be manageable by standards of care and suitable law and supervision.

Similarly, financial concerns may be a feature in needs for legal interferences as well as in needs for assisted suicide and yet are not thought of as a validation for banning these other interferences. The protection argument posits that concerning mental health professionals to offer suitable and complete treatment planning would enhance quality of care and minimize the prospective for criticism regarding all end-of-life interferences that may concern the time of death. Concerning the matter of dejection which, if taken care of, can change a fatally ill individual's demand for assisted suicide, it is pointed out that first, cure of dejection does not always alter the wish for assisted suicide, and second, psychologists can play a significant part in evaluation and cure of dejection and other psychological factors that may have an effect on judgment and wishes for a range of interferences that have an effect on the time of death including but not restricted to assisted suicide. (End of Life Issues and Care)

Making assisted suicide or euthanasia legal must support eventual procedure: for instance, necessitating that the attending doctor discuss with his colleagues and that the patient willingly and constantly wish for assisted suicide or euthanasia, get psychological assessment and advice, and experience unbearable pain with no hope for relief. There should also be provisions for the patient's medical situation: for instance, that assisted suicide or euthanasia can be permitted only if a patient is fatally ill or has an untreatable disease. A board or committee should appraise the patient's wishes before assisted suicide or euthanasia is done. Course of action should mention the types of cases that would not subject doctors to any punishment. Doctors can evade penalty by providing evidence that they acted aptly in special conditions; proving that the doctor reacted sympathetically and proficiently to a deliberate wish made by a competent patient would form a protection to criminal trial. Finally, there should be a test period of voluntary active euthanasia or steps to make the practice legally lawful in a few states, in order to get data on the result of the practice. (When Death is Sought Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in the Medical Context)

2. Is physician-assisted suicide appropriate in cases of unrelenting suffering, or should it be a last resort

Ethical predicaments hitherto unknown to earlier generation of doctors has come from medical advances. Physicians are compelled to ask questions that never needed to be asked before, as new life-sustaining techniques and practices became available. The main question is the extent to which to go for saving a life. The ethical customs that have been in place for centuries are disputed by other questions. Can doctors be allowed to end a patient's life if suffering is vast and a patient's condition is incurable? (Newman, 1999) Many patients with advanced and incurable illness find that they cannot reckon on dependable care with only reasonable saddles on loved ones. People may desire for a suicide to great pain, debasing nursing home conditions, or family insolvency. Patients contemplate the effect of their endurance and death on their loved ones, and monetary and emotional pressures can influence decision-making. (Lorenz, Lynn, 2003)

But assisted suicide and euthanasia must be made lawful only if all methods of decreasing the pains have been worn out allowing a person to undergo inconceivable pain. Hence, it is essential to legalize physician-assisted suicide as a last option and only with stringent regulations or precautions. These precautions will save the individual requesting euthanasia and will lessen the incidences of misuse. Before physician-assisted suicide is thought about, all likely actions must have been taken to assuage the pain. (Howard; Fletcher; Gostin; Meier; Miller, 2001) American Medical Association recommends physician-assisted suicide, as a last resort, only after the following issues have been carefully looked at and exhausted or discarded by the patient: All suitable standard and experimental allopathic and osteopathic therapies; all pertinent culturally receptive alternative therapies; all sedative care options, such as hospice; All-inclusive pain management and All-inclusive psychiatric, psychosocial and spiritual support. (Principles regarding Physician-assisted Suicide)

Some authors agree to the view that physician-assisted suicide should be approved in situations where medical treatment could not offer any advantage and where legally the physician can pull out treatment, including food and water. The argument that if death is in a patient's best interest then death comprises of a moral good and should be used as a last option comes from the critics of the AMA's position against legalizing euthanasia namely Len & Lesley Doyal. The statement that there is no ethical or constitutionally identifiable difference between a doctor's pulling the plug on a…