Physician Assisted Suicide: Permissible or Not? Essay

1614 Words Jul 10th, 2012 7 Pages
Nikia Washington
April 24, 2012
Death and Dying
Christian Coons
Physician Assisted Suicide: Permissible or Not?
In the case of Physician Assisted Suicide, I believe only in certain, extreme, and clearly defined situations should a doctor be allowed to prescribe a drug to terminate a patient’s life. The role of a practicing medical doctor, or a physician, is defined by Mosby’s Dental Dictionary as a practitioner of medicine; one lawfully engaged in the practice of medicine. The essential word in this definition is lawful – physicians must act in a manner that is ethical to their practice and lawful to the country in which they are practicing. In most countries, murder and suicide are unlawful; therefore for a doctor to commit such an
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Another key component to my argument is derived from John Arras’s three criteria for physicians assisted suicide. The three criteria are: that all request for death be truly voluntary, all reasonable alternatives to PAS and active euthanasia must be explored before granting the request for death, and a system must be kept to record all cases of PAS in order to prevent abuse (Arras 232). Arras created these criteria with the hopes that it would prevent abuse of physicians assisted suicide and that is only acted on in appropriate circumstances. The two criteria which support my argument is voluntary action and that all other options have been explored. Like Arras, I believe there are a limited number of situations in which PAS should be an option.
From what I have gathered, I have determined my own personal opinion, which is that when physician assisted suicide is required and only when it is required, it should be completed as passive euthanasia. Situational details for my argument are as follows:
Physicians assisted suicide should only be acted upon in extreme situations in which the patient has either 1.) Been in a permanent vegetative state for at least six months, and the family has determined to seize treatment. In this circumstance, drugs should not be administered to illicit death. Instead, all treatment should be ended. 2.) Been given a short amount of time (less than a month) to live and wishes to…

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