Essay about Doctor-Assisted Suicide

2339 Words 10 Pages
Doctor-Assisted Suicide

Suicide is the act or instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally especially if that person is of sound mind. Euthanasia is the act or practice of killing individuals who are hopelessly sick or injured for reasons of mercy. Doctor-assisted suicide is a term used to describe the act of a doctor or physician providing direct or indirect means of assisting someone in taking their own life. There are 2 types of euthanasia. Passive euthanasia is withholding life-sustaining treatment either before or after it has been initiated. Active euthanasia is "taking steps to end your life, as in suicide, handling the action yourself" (Humphry 20). It is an explicit act such as writing a lethal
…show more content…
Two other popular methods are suffocation and ingestion of poison or pills. Pills are not very effective because the adequate dose varies for different drugs. Taking pills also allows the person time to change their mind and vomit the pills before absorption. Other methods are jumping from high altitudes such as bridges or cliffs, drowning, crashing an automobile, or slashing the veins in a wrist. These methods are frequently attempted but do not have a high success rate. Assisted suicide is usually accomplished by a family member or physician providing the adequate means for committing suicide. This is very common with persons who do not have the ability to commit suicide on their own.

Many ancient cultures embraced and accepted suicide. In Greece suicide was considered acceptable if one's health failed or when faced with scandal or shame. If a person was able to convince authorities that his or her death was warranted, then a lethal dose of the poison called hemlock was prescribed. The modern day Hemlock Society, the largest right to die society, was named after this poison. The Christian church did not even legislate against suicide until the sixth century because of the persistence of Saint Augustine. He was appalled by the high number of suicides and urged the bishops to establish a law against it. He based his argument from the sixth commandment of thou shalt not kill, but most of his ideas came from Plato's Phaedo. This was his

Related Documents