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A Potential End To Severe Suffering?

1288 words - 6 pages

Should physician-assisted suicide (PAS) be allowed? For those who are unaware physician-assisted suicide entails a doctor prescribing a terminally-ill patient a lethal dose of medication. Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act makes it the only state in the United States where PAS is legal. The 2010 report from the act states that since its inception in 1997 five hundred and twenty-five patients had received and died from lethal prescribed drugs. Nonetheless, many still feel that PAS should not be legalized. As with any controversial issue people tend to pick sides and block out they opposing point of view. However, they often fail to look for the positive points in the opposing arguments. ...view middle of the document...

It takes a long time in order to build a trusting relationship with another person. It is only human nature that one would want to gain the trust of their physician before they will be certain about the doctor’s advice. In her article Legalized Assisted Suicide May Lead to Legalized Euthanasia, Susan Enouen states that for the past six years the median time for patient/doctor relationship is twelve weeks, before receiving a lethal prescription of medicine (Enouen 2). She maintains that this does not allow sufficient time to build a trusting relationship with one another. As for the religious grounds of the argument, many do believe that God controls when we live and when we die. This is the basic teaching in many religions and it is easy to regard as being a sound argument. Lastly, many patients would not want to leave a burden on their families by accruing vast medical bills not covered by an insurance policy. PAS would allow patients to not be an inconvenience on the families. With all these compelling arguments it is quite easy to see the opponents’ side of the debate.
However, there are many people that argue in favor for PAS and have just as compelling arguments. In his article The Positive Virtues of Physician-assisted Suicide, Peter Rogatz writes that every competent patient has a right to autonomy (Rogatz 1). This means that every patient has the right to decide what will be done to their body. Many also believe doctors need to give patients the best care available. However, what happens when all treatments have been exhausted and the patient still lies in agony? That is where PAS comes into play. In her article Choosing Their Time, Margot Roosevelt includes first hand experiences of various people and their families when going through medical hardships. One particular story was where a woman intentionally starved herself to end her pain. The woman’s husband, Joe Ramos, supported her wish to die. Yet all he could do was to stand idly by and watch his wife suffer through the pain of dealing with ALS (Roosevelt 4). It is cases like this where PAS would offer a more dignified way of end pain and suffering, not only for the patient but also for their families.
Although I can see the rationale behind the oppositions’ arguments, I feel that PAS should be legalized. Our country has been based on the principles of certain personal rights and has helped to formulate solutions to many problems. As I had pointed out earlier, everyone has their right to decide what will be done to their body. Nothing really stops someone from getting a tattoo or a piercing, except for some ground rules mainly being parental consent. The laws...

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