Euthanasia in all its forms has become a topic for extreme public debate. Sadly, the issue is not a public one at all but a very personal and excruciating decision that requires self- and social mediation to develop. Over the last few years, organizations have become decidedly split at least publicly falling into two camps, those who believe active euthanasia should be allowed to all who believe their life is not worth living and that the medical and legal communities should support this and those who believe that all acts including even the most passive acts of euthanasia, such as the removal of feeding tubes should be legally and morally banned. The "truth" of the matter is that there are many more middle road positions that support a more personal emphasis on the subject. Medical ethics aside, it is not unusual for this issue to be stressed as a demonstratively personal issue, and on that has little if any bearing on public scrutiny, unless that public is personally involved in making a life ending decision about the life or death of their loved one, suffering needlessly. Life and death decisions by proxy are something many people will likely face, especially with the advent of life saving technology that frequently brings people back from clinical death, to the brink of death and sometimes to life, but more often to somewhere in between, a state of in need of perpetual life support.
My view on medical responsibility is that they should allow the individual and family to make decisions that are right for them, and do so with compassion, rather than extreme coarseness. In short many contend that personal responsibilities to make decisions regarding euthanasia are difficult enough and that the medical responsibilities need to be kept in check, within a compassionate reality. This topic will likely be debated long into the future, especially as technology for advanced and aggressive medical care continues to "improve." Debates are truly as universal as the concepts of "life" and "death" yet it is also clear that in the middle, where most people lie on the subject there needs to be a reevaluation of the import of dignity, and this means dignity as it is defined by the dying individual and his or her loved ones. Physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia is one of the most controversial issues in bioethics, as well as among the general public. The desire to end ones life once it has past the point where you believe its quality to have been reduced to such a degree that you simply feel you are a burden to those who love you, would seem like a rational idea, in another time. There are clear and concise arguments associated with both sides of the debate. This work will briefly outline reasons why physician-assisted suicide should be legal and viable as an option for dying patients and it will also support this with reasoned research and personal opinion. It is not to say that ethical decision making should not be a part of the discussion, but just that highly legalistic intervention is a challenge to individual dignity and decisiveness.
Physician-assisted suicide is a natural response to the modern creation of a death denying society, reflective of the recent historical emphasis on the physician and his vast skill as the heroic. Modern medicine is seen as having all the answers, as it is capable of reversing the probability of death in so very many cases, even when it is only partly true and the return from the dead is not always pretty, nor does it usually offer the patient a real return to the life they know or a life without dependence.
From the perspective of this recent history, physician-assisted suicide and even voluntary active euthanasia are just one more necessary and justified step in this process. It is as if what modern medicine has expropriated from individuals could be returned to them through physician-assisted suicide: control over their own deaths.
Physician-assisted suicide is the culmination of a movement that responds to the nature of the allopathic medical movement, completely and totally expressive of technology, skill and often the desire to save a life that is greater than the weight of the quality of that potential life.
The process of dying is a very personal one and during that process the value of ones life is often questioned as dependency becomes the common denominator, often coupled with intractable pain. (Kamisar 1121) Individuals…