Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

2539 words - 11 pages

The idea of expediting the death of another is acknowledged, but not widely accepted throughout western civilization. However, in recent times, advancements in science and technology are helping to rewrite certain ethics concerning the life of another. Certain places, a few states within the United States, have deemed passive euthanasia ethical but leave physician assisted suicide and active euthanasia hanging in the balance because of disputes of whether or not doctors are violating their most important ethical code of conduct, that is to "Do no harm."
​The patient is the person most affected by the decision to end their life. The ultimate decision comes to the patient, however the patient's cognitive capabilities may be compromised, in the event of a terminally ill patient or if the patient is in a persistent vegetative state (BMJ Group). Passive euthanasia is when a medical professional opts to not do something that is necessary for a patient to be kept alive, or when the medical professional stop doing something that is keeping a patient alive. The later is an example of a doctor removing a clinically brain dead patient from life support, e.g. Feeding tube, ventilator etc. The medical professional has the right to do this with the consent of the patient's next of kin. However the patient may decide on this through a living will, or if they signed a DNR form, a form in which a patient opts to refuse CPR in the event of fibrillation, or if the patient does not want to live on artificial life support.

​The DNR, Do Not Resuscitate, form is about the closest thing most of the delegates of the AMA, American Medical Association, come to agree on because it is upheld in forty-nine states, except Missouri, in the United States of America. Some patients, prior to entering surgery, opt to have doctors not use resuscitative means in the event of their heart, or breathing stopping. This can be seen as a type of passive euthanasia as the doctors have the means with the defibrillator to revive the patient, but with the DNR form it is strictly enforced to ensure the will of the patient which is their right to decide what they can do with their lives, which includes their will to die. The decision, however, is not taken lightly. The patient requests the DNR, and then two medical professionals must evaluate whether it is necessary and ethical, to their discretion. This is trading on the border of the ethics of euthanasia whether passive or active.

​The ethics of euthanasia are tested even further with the ideas of active euthanasia. Active euthanasia is when someone, other than the patient, deliberately does something that makes the patient die. An example of this is basically killing someone (Rachels). A scenario given by James Rachels is a father, Jack, goes into the bathroom and holds his son's head under water until he drowns, the other is with a different father, Jim, goes into the bathroom and sees his son's head underwater and is thrashing for...

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