This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Physician Assisted Suicide And Free Will Essay

2711 words - 11 pages

       Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) is a topic, which proponents often support by the affirmation of patient free will or as the exercise of patient autonomy. The purpose of this paper is to examine this argument further from an inter-disciplinary approach, regarding PAS from medical, ethical and legal standpoints and to examine the concept of free will from the philosophical discipline. Are these concepts compatible in a meaningful context and can a sound argument be constructed to support PAS on the basis of patient free will?

Derek Humphry, in Lawful Exit, defines PAS as a physician "providing the means by which a person can take his or her own life." The means, to which he refers, is a toxic substance and the directions for administration, which will produce death. Humphry argues for legal reform in order to make such acts lawful, calling them: "...the ultimate civil liberty, the freedom to select one's own manner of dying without interference from others, but with help if we choose." My academic research on Minerva 2000 produced 0 hits on the topic: US Practice of Physician-Assisted Suicide.



Certainly, the three types of presently legal and justifiable grounds for assisting other people in taking their lives which Humphry enumerates, all exclude freedom, free will or civil liberty. Why haven't the US Legislature, and the US medical community chosen to legislate and practice PAS on behalf of patient rights to exercise free will and autonomy?



In The Nature of Medicine, Gerald Dworkin refers to an article written by Leon Kass in 1989, entitled: "Neither for Love nor Money: Why Doctors Must Not Kill".

Dworkin identifies Kass's article as the benchmark publication most often cited in prominent medical journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine, to demarcate the grounds for exclusion of PAS from medical practice. Dworkin and Kass consider this topic from the perspective of Medical Ethics. Kass's treatment of the subject of Physician-assisted suicide as evident from the title of his article, supports his argument by denying patients "the moral right to be killed" and physicians "the moral duty to kill." Dworkin quotes Kass's analysis of the argument favoring PAS on the grounds of "Freedom" or "autonomy":



...Physicians...are bound to acquiesce in demands not only for termination

of treatment but also for intentional killing through poison, because the right

to choose-freedom-must be respected, even more than life itself, and even when

The physician would never recommend or concur in the choices made. (Kass, p.27.)



Arguing against autonomy as a rational defense for PAS, Kass concludes that Considerations of mercy for the patient who is suffering, dictate the course of action in the end. Ultimately, "medicine is intrinsically a moral profession with...principles and standards of conduct that set limits on...

Find Another Essay On Physician-Assisted Suicide and Free Will

Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

624 words - 2 pages authorize death. How will a patient feel when his physician recommends physician-assisted suicide as a treatment option? Sometimes, miracle recoveries occur. Ending a life by physician-assisted suicide would not give the patient or the family the chance to see what was in the future.Many religions are against suicide and the intentional killing of others believing in the commandment "thou shalt not kill." The definition of kill in this commandment

Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

1559 words - 6 pages decades, and this article will contain the argument that why should the physician-assisted suicide along with its’ legitimate and voluntarily practice should be justified from the perspective of the autonomy of the patients and it’s incununous to the society under current circumstances. Definition of physician-assisted suicide It’s hard to recognize the outcome and have an objective view about certain issue without knowing what is its’ actual

Physician Assisted Suicide

814 words - 3 pages , has a written confirmation that the choice was made of free will, and has two witnesses to vouch for the patients soundness of mind, physician-assisted suicide will not be a complicated issue (Jacobus). Most importantly, it will "help expedite the inevitable and salvage the dignity of the patient" (Zukowski).Works CitedAndre, Claire, and Manuel Velasquez. "Assisted Suicide: A Right or a Wrong?" AssistedSuicide: A Right or a Wrong? N.p., n.d

Physician Assisted Suicide

1982 words - 8 pages Assisted Suicide is against the common good. There are many reasons the Catholic Church opposes Physician Assisted Suicide, and they can be summarized into one vital statement; Physician Assisted Suicide, purposely killing another human being, is unethical and morally wrong.The Catholic Church's position on Physician Assisted Suicide will never change. However, the Church does recognize other options to alleviate suffering. In Search of the Good

physician assisted suicide

1655 words - 7 pages topic around the world for many years now. Neither suicide or assisting suicide is against the law in certain parts of the world, but what worries most physicians is the lost of their license by prescribing to many lethal drugs for self suicide. Those in favor of assisted suicide are concerned about the amount of suffering they will endure as they grow older. After reading the pros and cons of physician assisted suicide which side of the line

Physician Assisted Suicide - 1404 words

1404 words - 6 pages help and assistance with Physician Assisted Suicide. Critics such as Dr. Herbert Cohen states, “Helping a patient die is a never a good medical practice” (McCuen 62). While Dr.Cohen sees two bad possibilities there is really only one. The one bad possibility would be watching patients die in agony asking for help that they will not receive. Being a doctor is about helping people in pain and if patients are dying why not help them end their life

Physician Assisted Suicide

843 words - 4 pages will not be to destroy myself but to put myself back together again.” Legalizing physician assisted suicide won’t mean that there will be a sudden outpour of dead patients, but it will allow patients who need and deserve the right to die to legally make that decision. While assisted suicide not only takes patients out of their misery, but family members and doctors who have been tied up with the burden of caring for a terminally ill patient

Physician Assisted Suicide - 2091 words

2091 words - 9 pages different kinds of people into two camps. One’s opinion on the subject is entirely related to one’s core values. Whether one values the individual or whether one places more emphasis on the will of the majority has a great impact on one’s beliefs concerning the issue of the right to die. In this essay, I will prove that It is only logical that physician assisted suicide should be legalized and regulated. An issue that comes up repeatedly in the

Physician Assisted Suicide - 1295 words

1295 words - 5 pages Assisted Suicide Physician assisted suicide, also known as right to die has become a hot button issue within the last twenty years. The reason behind the interest is because in the “land of the free” known as America, that promotes independence and personal rights; it seems quite regressive to many to deny a person their right to die. After the 1997 Supreme Court decision which declined to nationally recognize assisted suicide, Chief Justice

Physician Assisted Suicide - 800 words

800 words - 3 pages Should physicians be able to assist patients who are terminally ill end their lives? Physician assisted suicide is a very controversial subject. In today’s society, people who commit suicide are known as “insane,” a person who takes prescription pills is known as a “drug addict” or “criminal.” However, when a doctor honors a patient’s request for a lethal dose of medicine, (which the patient will inject themselves) to end their life in peace

Physician Assisted Suicide - 2568 words

2568 words - 10 pages this paper will support my feelings on this subject. What is Physician assisted suicide? Physician assisted suicide (PAS) is also called Physician aid-in-death (PAD) is a practice that a physician gives competent, terminally ill patients the means of getting and giving themselves a deadly dose of medications. The first thing the patient has to do is talk to their physician to see if they participate in this type of act. Then after they figure

Similar Essays

Physician Assisted Suicide And Euthanasia Essay

799 words - 4 pages Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) and euthanasia raise ethical questions about the medicalisation of death (J Hardwig, 2006; Kavanaugh, 2000) and whether it is worse to kill a patient, or to let them die through omission of treatment (Kavanaugh, 2000). All have the same outcome – the death of the patient – the ethical dilemma arise when considering how the patient’s death occurred (Rachels, 1975). Allowing a patient to die from the cessation of

Physician Assisted Suicide Essay 641 Words

641 words - 3 pages can kill themselves? The doctor who helps a patient commit this is also breaking an oath that they stated which says, ‘I will never give a patient a deadly drug even if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect’. On the other hand, there are still pros and cons to physician-assisted suicides. There are several pros and cons to physician-assisted suicide. An example of a pro is to put a suffering patient out of pain. Another is

Legalizing Physician Assisted Suicide Essay

1424 words - 6 pages In current society, legalizing physician assisted suicide is a prevalent argument. In 1997, the Supreme Court recognized no federal constitutional right to physician assisted suicide (Harned 1) , which defines suicide as one receiving help from a physician by means of a lethal dosage (Pearson 1), leaving it up to state legislatures to legalize such practice if desired. Only Oregon and Washington have since legalized physician assisted

Physician Assisted Suicide Essay 1798 Words

1798 words - 8 pages only been able to touch on the surface of many of the arguments. Whichever path society does choose regarding physician assisted suicide, moral objections will need to be addressed. Either way, the public needs to be educated about the different legal options concerning the end-of-life care and the consequences of any changes in laws governing such care. Works Cited Decisions near the end of life. council on ethical and judicial affairs