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Physician-Assisted Suicide

Thesis Statement:

Physician-assisted (PAS) suicide has been approved in six states; however, it remains illegal in the rest
of the country due to several reasons: the potentiality in opening the door to legal recourse, new
opportunities for abuse against at-risk populations, and ethical implications in opposing the foundational

values of the Hippocratic oath.

800-1000 word essay
(Confirmation Bias)

5 sources (reliable Sources if possible)
Use 3 quotes in essay.

The essay has to be well structured.

Physician-Assisted Suicide

Physician-Assisted Suicide is one of the most debated topics globally due to
various implications that they have. Despite being approved in various states in the United
States, a physician-assisted suicide remains illegal across the rest of the country due to several
reasons and ethical implications. Thus, it is easy for physician-assisted suicide to open the door
to legal recourse and new opportunities for abuse against at-risk populations as well as ethical
implications in opposing the foundational values of the Hippocratic oath. The physician-assisted
suicide involves doctors intentionally and knowingly providing a patient with the means or

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knowledge or both necessities needed to commit suicide (Pormeister, Finley and Rohack, 2017,
p.1). This means also include counseling about deadly doses of drugs or prescribing procedures
such as a lethal dose or supplying drugs.

Despite being related to euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide demands that an
individual of sound mind, voluntarily expressing his or her desire to end life and requesting
doctors or physicians to provide a dose of barbiturates that will terminate their his or her life.
Therefore, physician-assisted suicide has a different aspect that requires the person or patient to
self-administer the drugs that will end his or life. This paper provides the ethical implications of
opposing the foundational values of the Hippocratic Oath, legal recourse and new opportunities
for abuse against at-risk populations.

Physician-assisted suicide is an intentional act of ending one’s life with the help
of someone who shares the means or the knowledge to do it. Assisted suicide has many legal and
ethical implications that the physician must take into consideration when helping someone to kill
himself or herself. Physician-assisted suicide is considered immortal. Even though someone can
approve physician aid-in-dying, doctors provide the medications that will terminate the life of a
patient, after meeting specific criteria. However, the physician cannot administer the drugs or
medication. Therefore, it is only the person who is willing to die can administer the drug taking
it. Thus, patients must be critically ill with less than six months to live (Emanuel, 2017, p.340).
The implications of physician-assisted suicide are diverse, and they should be legally binding to
avoid both legal and ethical repercussions. The patient must have the mental capacity to know
about their actions and resulting consequences. Many people view it as an ethical and moral act.
However, the law requires patients to make two verbal requests and a written request with two
witnesses and physicians. Physicians must validate that the patients meet all the procedures.

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According to Sulmasy, Daniel et al. (2018, p.3), “people fear physician-assisted
suicide will become an ethical slippery slope.” This is because legalizing it for the competent
persons who are fatally sick to take doses on their own will open the way to offer the technique
to individuals who are no longer mentally fit. It will open doors for people who are distressed to
terminate their lives and yet they are not terminally ill. There should be a mechanism to
safeguard the ethical slippery slope through a legal framework. It also affects the way suicidal
doctors will be perceived in society and how they think about their suicidal impulses. This opens
doors for recourse and cases of how the patient was treated. If relatives think the patient was
mistreated, it may open doors for recourse as well as cases of fraudulent activity. There should
be sufficient safeguards in place to protect the patient in the case of coercion or abuse. However,
the laws protect the physician more than the patient. According to different advocates, there
should be adequate documentation regarding many strong factors such as whether there was
inadequate health care coverage may have been a coercive influence, demographic information,
the underlying diagnosis as well as whether the person was enrolled in the hospice. This leaves
room for unanswered legal and ethic questions in potential cases of abuse and the burden of
proof on the patient (Sulmasy, Snyder and Mueller, 2017, p.577).

Therefore, physician-assisted suicide is tragically flawed and puts at-risk
populations such as disabled at great risks if legalized nationwide. This is because it does not
protect the patients and does not offer the care that patients deserve and need. Physicians to
follow the treatment method of dying patients have used the Hippocratic oath as the foundational
code of ethics. This allows them to use their judgment and ability they believe will benefit the
patients. However, “permitting doctors to partake in assisted suicide would cause more harm
than good because it is incompatible with doctor’s role as healer” (Quill, Arnold and Youngner,

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2017, p.560). This will be hard to manage and would cause grave societal risks. At-risk
populations such as disabled people feel that people will want to terminate their lives because
there are viewed economically dependent. There should be a legitimate concern that guard
against them through better support. There are religious arguments against suicide since there is
the sanctity of life; however, many believe it should hold to only the believers (Quill, Arnold and
Youngner, 2017, p.560).

In summary, allowing physician-assisted suicide will open the doors for recourse,

legal and ethical implications as well as open doors for terminating lives of the at-risk
populations. There should be improved health care through advancing technologies despite
helping to take away the pain of patients; it remains illegal in most parts of the United States
because of many loopholes associated with physician-assisted suicide. However, the process is
still useful as it can open the doors for the patient to seek help and create time between the
intention and act. This can provide time to reconsider and meet a psychological caregiver to help
find treatment to ease the pain.

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Works Cited

Emanuel, Ezekiel. “Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: focus on the data.” The Medical
Journal of Australia206.8 (2017): 339-340.
Pormeister, K., M. Finley, and J. J. Rohack. “Physician-Assisted Suicide as a Means of Mercy: A
Comparative Analysis of the Possible Legal Implications in Europe and the United
States.” Va. J. Soc. Pol’y & L. 24 (2017): 1.
Quill, Timothy E., Robert M. Arnold, and Stuart J. Youngner. “Physician-Assisted Suicide:
Finding a Path Forward in a Changing Legal Environment.” Annals of internal
medicine167.8 (2017): 597-598.
Sulmasy, Daniel P., et al. “Physician-Assisted Suicide: Why Neutrality by Organized Medicine
Is Neither Neutral Nor Appropriate.” Journal of general internal medicine (2018): 1-6.
Sulmasy, Lois Snyder, and Paul S. Mueller. “Ethics and the legalization of physician-assisted
suicide: an American College of Physicians position paper.” Annals of internal
medicine 167.8 (2017): 576-578.

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