Physician Assisted Suicide And Euthanasia Essay
Assisted suicide has been a debated topic for many decades now. Oregon was the first state in the union to allow for a physician to write a lethal prescription to end a terminally ill patients life (Volker, 2007). Since that time four other states have followed suite with similar or their own versions of legislation that allows for this type of act. Outside the United States, seven countries allow for some level of physician-assisted suicide. Most of these changes have happened fairly recently. As time goes on, health care will most likely see more and more legalization of assisted suicide. Even though this issue surrounds physicians, it is important to remember that nurses will play a crucial role in the administration of lethal drugs and the assessment of patients as they pass away.
Physicians and Nurses
Physician assisted suicide has been an issue for as long as we have had physicians. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, included in his initial oath that “I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel (Greek Medicine).” Most medical schools now utilize a modernized oath that was drafted in 1948 in response to issues such as euthanasia, eugenics and the medical crimes that were committed during World War II. This revision included that physicians “will maintain the utmost respect for human life.” In 1893, a version of the Hippocratic oath was adapted for nurses. This Nightingale pledge included…