Arguments Against Physician-Assisted Suicide

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Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) is defined as a suicide that has been facilitated by a physician who is aware and provides the patient with means and information to conduct the suicide.1 Currently, there are only five states in the United States that allow PAS either through the mandate of law or through the mandate of court ruling.2 Despite being legal in Washington, reports have been stated that PAS program is rarely used.3 If such, what is the purpose of legalizing PAS then? Hence, my arguments against physician-assisted suicide include the definition of a moral and dignified death, the possible emergence of a slippery slope and why safeguards do not work.
One of the common arguments is on the issue of morality and dignity. Based on
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Despite starting out to relieve patients’ sufferings, the programs conducted will eventually gear towards a slippery slope. Physicians start out having the mentality that they are not killing the patients but granting them death.9 Hence, it is perceived as a moral and noble act.9 However, legalizing PAS will create a slippery slope and lead to physicians killing patients without their consent. Being a guideline to physicians’ ethics, Hippocratic oath states that physicians are not allowed to harm a patient and give a lethal medicine to anyone or suggest it to anyone.10 As such, physicians should not play an active part in ending a patient’s life, but as a provider for their medical and psychological needs. In other countries, like the Netherlands, patients who take part in PAS are not aware or do not understand what is being done to them.9 This show that PAS will eventually evolve into euthanasia, which happens when the physicians act directly without a patient’s administration.9,11 There is a fine line between them, which will ultimately bring the corruption to the system. There have been cases where patients’ family and friends have convinced the patient to seek PAS in order for them to lessen their financial and emotional burden.9 PAS is seen as a quick way out and rather than for the well-being of the patient. The slippery slope will become prominent among patients who are considered to be vulnerable or when their diseases are hard to …show more content…
As mention above, patients may choose to seek PAS with the pressure of relatives and friends.13 It is an example of a failed safeguard as a “Patient’s request should be voluntary”.13 However, the influence of family and friends proves that the patient does not receive proper protection.13 With reference to Oregon and Washington, another example of a failed safeguard is that “Patients have to be competent”.13 For example, The Oregonian, stated in the paper that doctors were prescribing PAS to many patients who were suffering from dementia and depression.13 Based on an Oregon Department of Health statistics, only 6.7% of patients were referred to have a psychiatric evaluation done.13 Since they are suffering from a terminal illness, nearly every patient will seek death to relieve themselves from their suffering.13 Hence, if these patients are suffering from a mental illness, they should not be qualified to participate in the PAS. Therefore, through the legal analysis of PAS laws, safeguards have been proven to be inadequate and

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