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Physician Assisted Suicide Must Be Legalized Essay

4687 words - 19 pages

Physician-Assisted Suicide Must Be Legalized
Sheryl Tello
GEN 499
Prof. David Ward
March 14, 2014

Physician-Assisted Suicide Must Be Legalized
Imagine that you just received a phone call from your physician’s nurse and she told you that the doctor wants to see you right away. When you ask her what is the problem; she tells you that it would be best if you came into the office as soon as possible. You tell her that there is no way that you can come in until next week; she asks if you can hold for a minute while she relays the message to your doctor, and the next thing you know your physician is on the phone and tells you that he wants to see you today. You try to rationalize ...view middle of the document...

Proponents also argue that legalizing PAS is necessary to insure that no one dies in painful agony and unremitting suffering. Advocates contend that there is very little difference between PAS and pain control since both use strong drugs and a patient’s death may be unintentionally hastened as a side effect of the narcotics used in palliative care. They also claim that doctors commonly engage in PAS surreptitiously and promote legalization as a way to protect vulnerable patients from abuses inherent in current unregulated practice. By acknowledging the worries over potential abuses, advocates assure that protective guidelines would be put into place that would protect the vulnerable from wrongful death while still allowing the terminally ill who are eligible for PAS to obtain a desired, peaceful death with dignity. Proponents also claim that opposition to PAS is primarily based in religion and therefore the laws prohibiting the practice are unconstitutional because they violate the division between the church and the state (Bonin, 2012).
Opponents on the other hand believe that the legalization of PAS would surely lead society down a dangerous slippery slope that will eventually permit the legalized killing of the disabled, the elderly, and people who are depressed, as well as the mentally incompetent. They say that protective guidelines will not protect these people. Opponents also argue that the economics of modern medicine will promote PAS as a form of health care cost containment, noting that the drugs used in PAS are a lot cheaper than the cost of providing palliative care to the terminally ill. Opponents also note that more than 44 million Americans do not have any form of health insurance; and that medicine is sometimes practiced in a discriminatory manner against certain minorities. It is for this reason that opponents argue that the last people to receive medical treatment will be the first people to receive PAS. They also deny that there is widespread surreptitious PAS practiced in medical clinics, and urge that hospice care along with the proper medical treatment provide a morally acceptable answer to the pain and suffering that is sometimes associated with the process of dying (Pereira, 2011). While these arguments continue with no end in sight, more and more of the terminally ill cry out in agony, for the right to end their suffering.
Terminally ill patients do not have a lot of options when it comes to ending their pain and suffering. The addition of just one more option can contribute to the psychological comfort of a terminally ill patient. In the article, Physician-Assisted Death in the United States: Are the Existing Last Resorts Enough? Timothy Quill outlines several aspects of PAS, specifically the fact that the terminally ill need as many options as they can possibly get. The whole time terminally ill patients are enduring tremendous suffering; they know that eventually they are going to die. Quill...

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