The Corrupt Practice Of Physician Assisted Suicide

2499 words - 10 pages

      Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), cancer, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease are just some of the illnesses millions of people are diagnosed with every day.  These diseases and many other afflictions have the potential to cause extreme pain and suffering to individuals.  Each person who has a terminal illness knows that death is inevitable.  Knowing this fact, the afflicted are torn between the decision of letting the disease take its course or opting for euthanasia.  Derek Humphrey, a founder of the Euthanasia Research and Guidance Organization, gives an accurate definition of the word euthanasia, "The word 'euthanasia' comes from the Greek-eu, "good," and thanatos, "death.  Literally, "good death" (18).  Euthanasia, also called "mercy killing," is the act or practice of putting people to death who are suffering from painful, incurable diseases or incapacitating physical disorders.  Euthanasia is an extremely difficult and moral decision, one that a patient must make along with their family and doctors.  Euthanasia involves tampering with the gift and privilege of life, many people stand on opposing sides of this issue.  A specific kind called physician-assisted suicide is much debated because it poses two questions: is it morally justified? and, should it be legalized?  Physician-assisted suicide is immoral and unacceptable for a number of reasons and, therefore, it should not be legalized.  Assisting in suicide is killing someone with their consent.  No doctor should help a patient die because it is their duty as a physician to preserve and prolong life, not take it away.  If this were to be legalized, some doctors would abuse this law and people would get killed without their permission.  People with terminal illnesses should realize it is morally wrong to participate in physician-assisted suicide and that there are other options that can make the remainder of their life more worthwhile.

Currently, there exists two different kinds of euthanasia: passive and active.  Passive euthanasia is when a physician withholds life saving measures or lets a person die naturally.  For example, when a son decides to take his mother off a life-support machine and this leads to her death, it would be considered passive euthanasia.  On the other hand, active euthanasia occurs when a person causes the death of an individual who is terminally ill.  An instance of this is when an individual proceeds to give a dying patient a lethal injection.  Thus, physician assisted suicide is a form of active euthanasia where the physician is the person that facilitates the death of an individual.

When discussing euthanasia, a clear distinction should be made between suicide and physician-assisted suicide.  Suicide is when an individual intentionally ends their life.  This occurs with a person who is emotionally and mentally unstable, but they can be treated for their instability.  In contrast, an...

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