Physician Assisted Suicide In America Essay

1167 words - 5 pages

Anyone suffering from a terminal illness or has watched a family member or close friend suffer, probably believes in the Death with Dignity Act. According to the state of Oregon, (Oregon Death with Dignity Act Records & Reports”) “on October 27, 1997 Oregon enacted the Death with Dignity Act which allows terminally-ill Oregonians to end their lives through voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose. The Oregon Death with Dignity Act requires the Oregon Department of Human Services to collect information about the patients and physicians who participate in the Act, and publish an annual statistical report.” The fear and uncertainty of what happens after death will usually weigh heavily on a patient’s decision to terminate his or her life. It is a choice that should be left to the patient; however, if the patient is unable to communicate, the decision left the next of kin or guardian.
Some politicians, religious fanatics and pro-life activists would argue that physician assisted suicide violates the Hippocratic Oath, but most of these people never suffered the pain and indignity of dying slowly. Between 1997 and 2007 at least 292 (Fogarty) people have ended their own life under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. People have protested the decision of allowing assisted suicide in most states and foreign countries that have considered legalizing it. The Hippocratic Oath states (“Oath and Law of Hippocrates”) that doctors will not administer or suggest the use of deadly drugs even if a patient asks for them. All doctors must take the oath swearing to practice medicine ethically. Doctors that dishonor the oath aren’t generally punished unless they break the law.
The most widely publicized case of physician assisted suicide in America is Dr. Jack Kevorkian, also known as Dr. Death. In (“Jack Kevorkian”) it states:
In 1989, a quadriplegic, too handicapped to kill himself, publicly asked for assistance, and Dr. Kevorkian began tinkering on a suicide machine. But a different patient—Janet Adkins, a 54-year-old with Alzheimer’s—was the first to test the device. It worked. Kevorkian then provided services to at least 45 and possibly more satisfied customers.
In 1997, however, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Americans who want to kill themselves—but are physically unable to do so—have no Constitutional right to end their lives. Kevorkian was sentenced to 10-25 years in prison, but was paroled in 2007, in failing health and nearing his own death.
Dr. Kevorkian was a doctor, an activist and a euthanasia enthusiast. He also suggested death row inmates be euthanized and their body parts be harvested.
Assisted suicide is reserved for very ill patients and not intended for use by depressed or mentally or emotionally distraught people. “Even though the various elements that make up the American healthcare system are becoming more circumspect in ensuring that money is not wasted, the cap that...

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