Doctors Acting As Killing Machines Essay

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Doctors Acting As Killing Machines

We all remember back in 1999 when Dr. Jack Kevorkian was sentenced to a 10-25 year prison term for giving a lethal injection to Tomas Youk whose death was shown on the “60 Minutes” television program. Also, in a claim from an article from the New England Journal of Medicine, “1 in 5 ICU nurses have helped patients die” (Jacobs). Are these actions acceptable? The American Nurses’ Association of Washington, D.C. and other nurses criticized this claim; they said it was damaging to the profession (Jacobs). These situations may be true; however, not many people in this world want to believe it. The basic term for these actions is Euthanasia, or assisted suicide. Euthanasia is the
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“Passive euthanasia” is usually defined as withdrawing medical treatment with the deliberate intention of causing the patients death (euthanasia.com). For example, if a patient requires a respirator to breathe, and the doctors disconnect the machine, the patient will presumably die fairly soon. The best example of passive euthanasia is a “do not resuscitate order”. Normally, if a patient has a heart attack or similar sudden interruption in life functions, medical staff will attempt to revive them. If they make no such effort but simply stand and watch as the patient dies, this is passive euthanasia. “Active euthanasia” is taking specific steps to cause the patient’s death, such as injecting the patient with poison; in practice this is usually an overdose in painkillers or sleeping pills (euthanasia.com 2003).

Around 400 B.C., the Hippocratic Oath stated, by the ‘Father of Medicine’, “I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel” (euthanasia.com 2003). In the 14th through 20th Century English Common Law (Excerpt is from the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the 1997 Washington v. Glucksberg - opinion written by Chief Justice Rehnquist) noted, “More specifically, for over 700 years, the Anglo American common law tradition has punished or otherwise disapproved of both suicide and assisted suicide” (euthanasia.com). From this exert people can tell that even…

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