Assisted Suicide Research Papers Example
Type of paper: Research Paper
Topic: Suicide, Nursing, Assisted Suicide, Patient, Medicine, Life, Health, Death
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Assisted suicide is one that is committed, not by a person; rather it is committed with the help of another person, mostly by a physician. It is a deed done with the consent of the person who is being subjected to it due to various reasons. The person is usually a patient who is suffering from a terminal illness or disease, which probably does not have any cure and leave the person in misery and despair. Such a person usually begins to ask for death instead of life and may even begin to tell his family and doctor of how he wished he could be relieved of this pain. The physician will only assist in this kind of a deal where the patient would be extremely serious in condition or have a near-to-death situation of health. With the patient’s consent, the form of suicide is then administered. There remain many questions and debates that surround assisted suicide over its moral and ethical implications and whether or not it is the right thing to do. Some groups support this for their various reasons, and others oppose it for other reasons.
It is important to consider as to why this term itself ‘Assisted suicide’ has turned up. Often quoted as Physician-assisted suicide which is constantly tried to get replaced by physician-assisted dying or death, it is considered a more dignified way of dying for a person who is suffering from a disease that has put them in much pain and they wish they could be alleviated from it as soon as possible.
It is at times, confused with euthanasia which is also called mercy killing. Euthanasia is carried out by the use of a lethal drug to end the life of a person who is terminally ill, and this is decided by the physician and not the patient. (NHS, 2015). In assisted suicide, it is the other way round where the patient would wish for this, and the physician would have to follow his instructions. It was not considered as something serious until there came upfront cases such as those of a man who was in love with life and loved to live, until he got radiation poisoning by the excess exposure to X-rays while research on them. (Claire and Manuel, 1987). The cancer spread all over his skin and he had to suffer from amputation of his nose, his left hand, fingers of the right hand, part of his jaw and began to suffer from blindness as well. The estimated lifespan he had was calculated around a year from his current suffering. All day long the man lay in bed and bore the unbearable pain. He prayed for death then and even asked his family to have his life taken away. His brother, then, not being able to bear his misery any longer, brought a gun from home and shot his brother, thus alleviating him from this pain forever. This brought quite some commotion into the world where people began to think about the problem whether patients with such illnesses need to be aided with assisted suicide or should they be left in the hands of nature to decide their fate. (Claire and Manuel, 1987).
Medicine and its entire branching field were created to help human life; not put it in danger to take it away from a human. (NHS, 2014). Where, on the one hand, medicine gives the advantage of saving human life by preventing and curing diseases that were once fatal, today it cures them instantly; on the other hand, it has also come to prolonging the life of a person suffering from a terminal illness and who will probably never recover from it. Here, the patient might be enduring unbearable pain that would force them to ask for their lives to be taken. (American Medical Association, 2015).
Assisted suicide is caused by a number of factors. The first most is realizing that the patient will not get cured by further treatment as the disease is chronic. Diseases like cancer usually result in this condition. In such a state, if the physician takes to assisted suicide at the request of the patient, then he will be set free from the torturous pain that had no possible escape except for death. (Occupy Therapy, 2015).
Also, in this case, death does come to the patient at the hands of their illness but it is not uncalled for because the patient knows that choosing their death was their choice, and they die because of their sole consent. It can also serve as a means of dying in peace because the person will know their suffering will end ultimately with their death. It also gives the person control over their life and promotes freedom of choice which makes them the owner of their life, even though, their condition leaves them at the mercy of others. It becomes a person’s choice since it is their life, and they can choose to continue it or end it. (Weebly, 2015).
Assisted suicide is a dignified way of dying rather than putting up with a process that leaves the person helpless and at the mercy of others who have to take care of that individual unless he passes away. (Occupy Therapy, 2015). A person with a terminal illness suffers from this guilt of having others at his beck and call, and so choosing assisted suicide is a way of dying a decent death. The patient can also reduce the health care costs and burdens on the family’s revenue by this method because there is not certainty of when death would come, so the person does their family an indirect favor in this manner. (Occupy Therapy, 2015). It is also a saving in the larger sense where there is no hope of cure but only to extend a case just in the lengthened wait of death is a waste of medicine, staff and room that could perhaps be used to save another person who is suffering from a similar illness. The same staff of nurses, doctors and could move to another patient that needs more care rather than serving a patient who has been diagnosed terminal illness. (Claire and Manuel, 1987).
It also helps to save the vital organs that are safe for a person that could be used for some other needy person and in that way another life could be saved. The dying person would also be leaving with a sense of pride and happiness. Lastly, it prevents patients from committing horrific suicides by themselves when they feel too miserable, so assisted suicide is a less ghastly method of dying. (American Medical Association, 2015).
However, not all approve of it as a likely form of death because of the moral and ethical attributes it carries with it. Firstly, it is considered to violate and break the Hippocratic Oath taken by a doctor that prevents him from neither administering any deadly medicine to a person nor recommending it. (Weebly, 2015). Therefore, it is against the ethics of the doctor or physician to commit such a deed. It also belittles the value and importance of human life in the eyes of people because death becomes an easy escape from life.
Assisted suicide is also disliked because it can then get into the minds of the uncritically-ill patients and suicide issues that could be raised with them because an ill person cannot be rationally thinking at a time like that and their decision would definitely carry emotional ties with them. These would, on the other hand, give out the wrong message to other patients as well. (Claire and Manuel, 1987). This form of life-taking is also contrary to many faiths and religions because it is considered by some faiths that if a person commits suicide they go straight to ‘hell’. This makes the decision made by the patient deem hard on the family and relations, and it can pose another view to them in the form of an obstacle in the patient’s decision. (Weebly, 2015). Not only that, losing hope is another factor that many religions and faiths do not support and there could be a possible chance of recovery by the patient at the hands of some other treatment, hence losing hope is considered equal to a sin and that further complicates the decision for the patient as well as the family. (NHS, 2014). Moreover, this process gives extreme power in the hands of doctors, who are chiefly considered to be saviors of life or those who can at least extend it for some time, but giving this power to them could be something immoral and unethical at the same time. So not allowing assisted suicide is one way of preventing all the wrong that could be done by unprecedented use of that power. (American Medical Association, 2015).
However, the most crucial say take on this topic is one that is taken by the law. According to the law, it is illegal for the person to commit assisted suicide. (Elder Law Answers, 2015). Committing it on one’s own is not a crime. However those who assist can face jail time for their activity. In some of the states, however, it is allowed but only under very limited conditions which are for those cases where the patient is suffering extremely, and there is absolutely no other chance for help for them. On the whole, it is illegal, and those who assist in it are considered a felony. (Elder Law Answers, 2015). It is different from euthanasia where a person suffering from cancer might be given a high dose of muscle-relaxing drugs to put an end to their life. But in assisted suicide the patient’s relatives might take the drugs and give them to the patient knowing that they would kill them which renders it equal to a crime.(NHS, 2014).
Therefore, assisted suicide is not a preferred activity although it has it legit reasons to be carried out. Mainly it is done with the motives of helping the patient come out of their pain and eases the way to death. On the other hand, it is considered immoral, unethical and illegal as an act of taking one’s life. In either case, it is a decision that needs to be decided upon careful introspection and must not be administered carelessly.
American Medical Association. Physician Assisted Suicide. Web. 1994. N.pag. 3 April, 2015.
Andre, Claire, Velasquez, Manuel. Assisted Suicide: A right or a Wrong? Issues in Ethics. Web.
1987. N.pag. 3 April, 2015.
Elder Law Answers. Is Assisted Suicide Legal? Web. 2015. N.pag. 3 April, 2015.
NHS. Euthanasia and Assisted suicide. Web. 11 Aug, 2014. N.pag. 3 April, 2015.
Occupy Therapy. Assisted suicide pros and cons list. Web. 2014. N.pag. 3 April, 2015.
Weebly. Physician Assisted Suicide: Pros and cons. Web. 2015. N.pag. 3 April, 2015.