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Physician Assisted Suicide. Deals With The Oregon Death With Dignity Act,Laws,Regualtions,Case Studies,Facts, Myths,Opinions.Includes Bibliography.The Right To Commit Suicide.

2181 words - 9 pages

Over the past ten to twenty years a big issue has been made over a person¹s right to commit suicide or not. The American courts have had to deal with everything from assisted suicides to planned suicides, and whether the constitution gives the American people the right to take their own lives or whether it says they have the power to allow someone else to take their lives. They have had to determine in some cases whether or not homicide charges needed to be brought up and others times whether or not it was done for an underlying reason such as insurance fraud. Part of this issue of suicide is that of physician assisted suicide. With this controversial topic comes many problems. Some examples of these problems are those of whether this assisted suicide is legal, the moral and ethical problems that arise, and the aspects of how the procedure of one of these assisted suicides takes place. These issues will be confronted within this paper and will hopefully allow for some light to be spread on this issue to make it a little clearer.What is Physician Assisted Suicide?Many people have misconceptions on the actual procedures that must be followed when a physician is to aid a patient in suicide. Some people might think it is a gruesome, painful act or other strange misconception. However, this is far from the truth. A physician must meet multiple requirements before he or she can write a prescription for a lethal combination of medications. After the initial request, the physician must ensure that the patient is fully informed about every aspect of the procedure. This is called informed consent and includes the diagnosis, the prognosis, the risks, alternatives, and the likely results of the medications (Sultz 55). Then a second physician must confirm that the patient's judgment is not impaired by a mental condition and that the decision is fully informed and voluntary. The patient can then notify their family, although it is not mandatory for the person to do so, and the assisted suicide will not be cancelled if the patient chooses not to notify family. After a 15-day waiting period, the patient must again repeat the request of the suicide. This is done solely to make the patient assess his or her decision if this is the action that that person actually wants to make. If so, the physician is then permitted to write the fatal prescription (Sultz 55).Is Physician Assisted Suicide Legal?The answer to this question is yes...and no. The US Supreme Court has ruled that State laws are constitutional and indicated that physician assisted suicide may be allowed of prohibited at the opinion of each individual state (Harris 230).In November of 1994, Oregon voters approved the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, also known as the Oregon Physician Assisted Suicide Act. The act legalized physician assisted suicide by allowing "an adult resident of Oregon, who is terminally ill to voluntarily request a prescription for medication to take his or her life" (Emmanuel 46)....

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