Assess the Intent and Impact of Publicity-Oriented Legal Challenges to Physician-Assisted Suicide

3921 Words Mar 7th, 2012 16 Pages
HS542ON Section A Nov 2011
Health Rights and Responsibilities
Professor A. Dennis
Research Paper
Assess the intent and impact of publicity-oriented legal challenges to physician-assisted suicide

Background A retired social worker, Smith, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 86. He said that he has no regrets but worries about the pain. "Death itself is not a fearful consideration for me," he said. "But the process of dying could be if it were extremely uncomfortable." He is in no haste to die but expects that he will feel severe pain when the cancer reaches its final phases and when it happens; he would want his doctor to be able to prescribe him with a toxic dose of medication that he can use to end his life
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A majority of Americans in a poll supported the physician-assisted suicide. About half of the people that responded to the May 10-13, 2007 survey were asked this question, when a person has a disease that cannot be cured and living in severe pain, do you think doctors should or should not be allowed by the law to assist the patient to commit suicide if the patient requests it? The results showed that 56% of Americans support and 38% do not. Democrats including independents that lean toward the Democratic Party voted yes, 62% and 32% no while 49% Republican voted yes and 45% no (Press, 2007).
It seems that Americans are now getting what physician-assisted suicide really means according to surveys that have been taken. The surveys indicated that about two thirds of the American public is now in support of physician-assisted suicide and more than half of the doctors in the United States even with the influences of the physicians that were against the idea Levine, 2009). The court and the American people need to know that number one important ethical principle in medicine is the respect for each patient’s autonomy, respect for person. Autonomy is the right for a patient to make his or her own decisions about treatments, which includes informed consent and telling the truth from the physician. Autonomy can only be used when the patients have been fully informed about their options of treatments (Levine, 2009). The informed consent

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