The Morality of Assisted Suicide
Deciding when to die and when to live is an issue that has only recently begun to confront patients all over the world. There is an elderly man lying in a hospital bed, he just had his fourth heart attack and is in a persistent vegetative state. He is hooked up to a respirator and has more tubes and IV’s going in and out of his body everywhere. These kinds of situations exist in every hospital everyday. Should physicians or doctors be allowed to assist patients, like this one, in death? Even though, physician-assisted suicide is illegal in the U.S., many doctors are helping suffering patients die. Physicians should not provide treatments that have a low chance of succeeding, such as respirators for patients in a permanent vegetative state.
Rita L. Maker, an attorney and executive director of the International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force, believes “the debate isn’t about the tragic, personal act of suicide, nor is it about attempted suicide…the current debate is about whether public policy should be changed in a way that will transform prescriptions from poison into medical treatment”(45).
Oregon is the only state that allows assisted suicide. A doctor will prescribe medication and the pharmacist will say “be sure to take all of these pills at one time-with a light snack or alcohol-to induce death”(45). The states insurance companies pay for the medication, which are paid for by Medicaid called “comfort care”(46).
“Whether other states embrace Oregon-style care will depend upon a willingness to carefully examine what truly is at stake in this debate…about public policy”(46). It
does not matter about your point of view on physician-assisted suicide; it’s the layout and plan that matters. For example “Walter Dellinger, acting solicitor general, said ‘the least costly treatment for any illness is lethal medication’ he was right. A prescription for a deadly overdose runs about thirty five dollars… the patient won’t consume any more health care dollars”(Marker 46). Whenever the economy was involved there was always a major hill to climb. Not to long ago patients were told to come in to get check ups that were not necessary. All the hospitals and clinics got paid back for everything they did to the patient. Finally, people became smarter and started to say no the unnecessary treatments. Now their income relates to the information they provide, the less the better.
Marker reports that in recent years “a significant number of health-maintenance organizations or HMO’s are ‘for-profit’ enterprises where stockholder benefit, not patient well-being, is the bottom line”(47). There are programs that allow physicians from telling the whole truth. The doctor will say one thing when it really means something different and usually it is for the worse. Not many people research into their medical coverage until they are sick. Once that happens you are not going to have a clue what your plan...