Althoughmost people hope to stay healthy and have a long life, death presentsa less rosy reality. Many people die of health issues and in painfulconditions. Individuals who have failed in their attempts of suicidereport that they would not have the courage to try again.Physician-assisted suicide is also called euthanasia, mercy killing,or good death. It requires the fulfillment of three conditions.First, the person seeking death has to be terminally ill. Secondly,he or she must be experiencing intense pain. Finally, the patient hasto choose voluntarily to end his or her life to escape the extendedsuffering (Ganzini 78).
Assistedsuicide occurs in cases where there is a conflict of interest. Therelatives or the spouses of terminally ill patients get tired ofnursing the victim therefore, they prefer a quick solution to thesituation by death. However, a typical assisted death occurs underthe supervision of physicians because they are impartial and haveenough health details of the patient. Besides, doctors know the bestapproach to end a sick person’s life (Lewy 129).
In acase of active euthanasia, the physician causes death byinjecting a patient with a lethal dose or removing a life supportmachine. In passive euthanasia, the physician only fails toprovide intervention that would prolong a patient’s life, such asnot putting the patient on life support or failure to treat secondaryillnesses. In the case of voluntary euthanasia, the patientgives information and consent to the conduct of a life endingprocess. In contrast, during involuntary euthanasia, thephysician decides and provides advice to cause death (Lewy 130).
Tenyears ago, Jack was diagnosed with stomach cancer. On his eleventhyear, the disease deteriorated. He lost half of his weight and beganvomiting blood. All his medication became ineffective, and he couldno longer walk. He started experiencing a higher degree of pain thanbefore. Afterward, the doctors approved his request to live the restof his days at home, and his wife Lisa took care of him. Jack hadforeseen a possibility of a horrible end for his life, so hestockpiled lethal medication and had a loaded gun by his side as aprecaution. When his pain became unbearable, he resolved to killhimself. However, he was too weak to pick the gun or to take themedication. He asked his wife to assist him, and she declined.Besides, his family refused to support him as well because they wereafraid of being prosecuted for murder. On day, they found him dead onhis bed (Fieser).
Thesis:Physician-assisted suicide could have helped jack in avoidingprolonged suffering.
Historyprovides a substantial account of struggles to identify how best todeal with such death conditions. The key question is whether it isjustifiable to kill people diagnosed with terminal illnesses as astrategy to ease their misery. Currently, the issue has beenassociated with a notion of, ‘the right to die’ or death with‘dignity.’ If Jack had managed to pull the trigger, or take thelethal medicine, that would result in suicide. People commit suicidefor various reasons, especially, mental health problems (Orentlicheret al. 3).
Theprimary advantage of physician-assisted suicide is the ability toexercise autonomy, given that people have the right to control theirlives. Consequently, it provides individuals with the right to decidewhether to terminate their lives through active or passive means.Secondly, euthanasia enables people to die with dignity as itprovides the right to choose the best way to perish. Human dignity isa foundation of humanity hence, people should not endure humiliatingand degrading health conditions, including, at their time of death.During death, humans encounter the loss of control over their bodies.As a result, their ability to cope with intense pain declines andleads to anguish (Lewy 131).
Third,euthanasia helps in providing mercy to the dying individuals andassisting them to ease their suffering. Similar to the way animalsare relieved from their misery during the end of life situations, thesame is demanded human beings. The major criticism is that euthanasiais against the moral tradition that calls for fortitude and enduringthrough difficult circumstances by facing fear. Finally, mercykilling helps in instilling the golden rule, which stipulates thatpeople, should do unto others what they would like done to themselvesin return. As a result, people who would like to be assisted duringtheir deaths should help others in similar conditions (Ganzini 81).
Theprincipal weakness of physician-assisted suicide is its associationwith the injustice of intentional killing. Active euthanasia is wrongsince it is deliberate. Societies, throughout human history, havecondemned the purposeful killing of others. However, there aresignificant exceptions to intentional killing such as self-defense,capital punishment, and during a war (Lewy 137).
Thesecond disadvantage is the possibility of being abused by people. Theuse of euthanasia could result in some people being killed againsttheir will. It is feared that the society can adopt the habit ofkilling others to solve problems. Subsequently, chances of using theprocess at the end of life situations may increase drastically. Theprocedure may render certain individuals vulnerable to euthanasia.Nonetheless, it is argued that the chances of illegal use can becontrolled and reduced through strict guidelines requiring thepatient to meet the three conditions – terminal illness, intensepain, and voluntary choice to end life (Orentlicher et al. 2).
Thirdis the inability to foretell the patient’s possibility of recovery.Various likelihoods surround the conditions of sicknesses such asreadmission or mistaken diagnosis. Despite that the chances ofrecovering could be little, it is worthless to risk the lives ofthose with the ability to recover. However, the conduct ofphysician-assisted process requires checking and rechecking of thepatient’s possibility of recovery to eliminate cases of killing apatient who can overcome the sickness successfully (Fieser).
Inconclusion, people experience intense pain during their moments ofgrief. Take the example of Jack, he was conscious of his death andasked for assistance in ending his misery since he was in pain.Although the issue of legalizing physician-assisted suicide iscontroversial, the advantages of the process outweigh thedisadvantages. Through euthanasia, the family would have helped jackto end his pain. However, it is imperative to instill strict controlof the practice to avoid misuse and targeting the vulnerableindividuals in the society. Strict guidelines are required to ensurethat the patients are terminally ill, in intense pain, and havevoluntarily chosen to end their lives to escape the prolongedsuffering.
Fieser, James. “Euthanasia.”2015 Jan 1.Web.15 July 2016.<https://www.utm.edu/staff/jfieser/class/160/6-euthanasia.htm>
Ganzini, Linda.“Legalised Physician-Assisted Death in Oregon.”QUTLaw Review 16.1 (2016):76-83.Print.<https://www.deathwithdignity.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/623-2243-1-PB-1.pdf>
Lewy, Guenter. "Physician-assisted Suicide in Oregon."AssistedDeath in Europe and America (2010): 126-46.Print
Orentlicher David, Thaddeus Mason Pope, and Ben A. Rich. “ClinicalCriteria for Physician Assisted Aid in Dying.” Journal ofPalliative Medicine 19.3 (2015).1-4.Print<http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/jpm.2015.0092>