The role of physicians is not simply to preserve life but also to apply expertise and skills to help improve their patients' health or alleviate their suffering. The latter includes providing comfort and support to dying patients. Such patients may, after careful consideration, come to the conclusion that in their particular situation, asking a physician for assistance in suicide best reflects their interests and preferences. Responding to such a carefully considered request can be compatible with the goals and ethos of medicine, as well as with a trusting patient–physician relationship.
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The answer is in large part due to clever media campaigns waged by advocates of physician-assisted suicide, and the willingness of these groups to distort medical facts and disseminate myths with the help of an uninformed or biased media. In today's society, image and public perception are often more persuasive than facts and logic. Advocates of physician-assisted suicide try to obscure its real nature by avoiding references to euthanasia and homicide. Suicide is not advocated, except where it is cloaked as a medical procedure with the qualifier "physician-assisted." Yet, the arguments supporting physician-assisted suicide apply equally to suicide without a physician's assistance, as well as to euthanasia and homicide. Adding the term "physician-assisted" makes it no less suicide, and no less murder — although admittedly it sounds more benign.
There are three arguments for physician assisted suicide.
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The main reason for bringing this topic up for a discussion and linking it to ethics is that there is a close association between living wills, physician assisted suicide, and euthanasia. The most vociferous proponents of living wills are the voluntary euthanasia societies.
Top 6 Reasons Physician-Assisted Suicide Should Not …
42. Johanna H. Groenewoud et al, “Clinical Problems with the Performance of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide in the Netherlands,” 342 New England Journal of Medicine (Feb. 24, 2000), pp. 553-555.
Doctors debate the ethics of assisted suicide | 89.3 KPCC
Under Ashcroft’s ruling, physicians who prescribed controlled substances for assisted suicide were engaging in conduct that may render their federal registrations inconsistent with the public interest, therefore causing revocation of the registrations. He made it clear, however, that revocation proceedings would be initiated only against physicians who violated the CSA after the issuance of his determination. No action would be taken against doctors who had participated in assisted suicide prior to his ruling.
Physician-Assisted Suicide | NEJM
When Oregon voters passed the “Death with Dignity Act,” they gave doctors the right to prescribe drugs for the specific purpose of causing the death of a patient. Barbiturates and most other drugs that are used for assisted suicide are federally controlled substances.
The Debate of Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Pros and …
If a physician opposes assisted suicide or believes the patient does not qualify under the law, C & C or its predecessor organizations has often arranged the death.