Nonmaleficence And Suicide

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Physician assisted suicide occurs when a doctor provides a patient with lethal drugs that the patient then uses to end their own life. It is usually intended for patients with a terminal illness as a means of relieving the patient of their pain and allowing them to die peacefully with dignity. The morality of physician assisted suicide has been a controversial debate among ethicists and healthcare professionals for a long time. Critics of physician assisted suicide argue that taking an innocent person’s life can never be morally justified, as all life is considered to be sacred. However, leaving a terminally ill patient to suffer for months, awaiting their inevitable death, is unethical and not any better. By applying the main ideas of …show more content…
37). Another debatable principle when discussing physician assisted suicide, nonmaleficence is the main argument used to dispute its righteousness and virtue. Opponents argue that taking someone’s life is considered causing them harm and is one of the most harmful things to do to another person. They claim that physician assisted suicide violates the Hippocratic oath of healthcare professionals by essentially harming or killing another person. But in cases of physician assisted suicide, doctors are only providing the patients with lethal drugs, who then administer it to themselves. The physician is not directly causing the patient harm, thus not violating the principle of nonmaleficence or the Hippocratic oath. Also, physician assisted suicide is one of the few options a physician can take to deal with terminally ill patients as their diseases cannot be cured or sufficiently treated. Thus, if a physician does not take action and assist these patients in dying, they are arguably causing the patients more harm by leaving them in a prolonged state of pain and misery. In addition, this principle also tells healthcare professionals to minimize harm, which is exactly the purpose of physician assisted suicide. Most terminal illnesses cause the patient excruciating pain and are expected to result in death. It is more harmful to terminally ill patients to suffer for months in agonizing pain, before they inevitably die, than it is to die from lethal drugs. By aiding these patients in dying, physicians are lessening the amount of harm the patients endure before their unavoidable death. Physicians who assist their terminally ill patients in dying are keeping them from suffering an unpleasant death by providing the patients with the means to have a painless passing. Since physician assisted suicide is not causing patients

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