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Arguments Against Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

1248 words - 5 pages

The United States is a nation founded on freedoms and liberties, giving each citizen the ability to make their own life decisions. This freedom includes all aspects of one’s life, including medical care. With freedom comes responsibility, and this is true in terms of physician-assisted suicide. The ongoing struggle between those in favor and those opposed to this subject has ravaged the medical field, bringing into question what is morally and ethically right. The fact of the matter is that physician-assisted suicide is neither morally nor ethically acceptable under any circumstance. Not only is it a direct violation of a doctor’s Hippocratic Oath, but it is not constitutionally binding. Physician-assisted suicide would also lead to unnecessary deaths in order to alleviate some of the health care costs. Patients in United States deserve to be treated with the utmost respect, and approving assisted suicide degrades the reputation of American medicine.
The definition of physician-assisted suicide, according to the American Medical Association, is “when a physician facilitates a patient’s death by providing the necessary means and/or information to enable the patient to perform the life-ending act” (“Opinion 2.211”). This means that an individual takes their own life with the tools given to them by a doctor. An example of this might include a doctor informing a patient of the lethal dosage of a drug he or she prescribed. A doctor’s job is to aid in the healing of his or her patients, not assisting in their suicide. It is against a doctor’s Hippocratic Oath to partake in such murderous activities.
Upon completion of medical school, future doctors recite the venerated Hippocratic Oath. This oath states that the doctor will not intentionally harm their patients. “I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan…” is stated directly in the sacred Oath (“Greek Medicine”). This line directly refutes the idea of a doctor assisting in the suicide of another living being. By promoting physician-assisted suicide, doctors invalidate their pledge to be the best healer they possibly can. This, in essence, ruins their credibility and their reputation as a physician. The opposition to this idea states that the no harm claim within the Hippocratic Oath allows for a doctor to end a patient’s life if they are suffering. They claim that it is more harmful to the patient to suffer the pain and agony of a terminal illness than for doctors to assist in the death of their patient (Humphry). The problem lies with the definition of no harm. Hippocrates intended for doctors to heal their patients, not kill them. The Hippocratic Oath is clear when it states that no lethal drugs or other methods of assisted suicide should be practiced (“Greek Medicine”). Ignoring these principles goes against the Hippocratic Oath, degrading a doctor’s credibility and character. Not only does physician-assisted suicide discredit a doctor, but it is...

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