1 Physician-Assisted Suicide 2 Introduction Physician-assisted suicide is a life-ending act of a patient, where a physician is involved. There are various reasons that might result in a patient opting for physician-assisted suicide. They include; relief of physical and emotional suffering, and it is a safe medical practice. Additionally, respect for patient autonomy is incorporated in physician-assisted suicide. Contrarily, people against physician-assisted suicide have various reasons that they dwell on. They include the intentional loss of lives, Extreme autonomy, and introduction of more deadly drugs into society. Technical aspects Physician-assisted suicide occurs when a physician or doctor intentionally provides the means for a patient to end their own life. For instance, a doctor might prescribe a lethal drug such as sleeping pills and provide information about the lethal dose knowing that it will end the patient’s life. Additionally, the physician provides information about the drugs. Public policy Physician-assisted suicide is neither legalized nor criminalized in the United States. The high court ruled that it is the responsibility of each state to decide whether physician-assisted suicide will be legal in the state (Emanuel et al., 2016). By 2002, physician-assisted suicide had been officially criminalized by forty-six states. Among the states that criminalized the act, six of them had prohibited the practice by common law. However, some states, such as North Carolina and Utah, have neither criminalized nor legalized the practice. Arguments for Physician-Assisted Suicide 3 Relief from physical and emotional suffering. Patients suffering from chronic and terminal illnesses undergo too much unbearable pain both physically and emotionally. Emotionally, they may feel useless and a burden to people around them, thus being heartbroken. Through physicianassisted suicide, such patients will be relieved from suffering by being eliminated (Nicolini et al., 2020). Secondly, respect for patient autonomy. This is where a patient’s right to make decisions about their medical care is respected without the healthcare provider influencing the decision. The patient might be undergoing too much pain or might feel unprepared to face the consequences of the illness and might be willing to end their lives. Lastly, physician-assisted suicide is a safe medical practice as a health care professional is incorporated. It is a safe medical practice lauded by advocates where physicians are involved and ensure death safely that other means of suicide cannot achieve. Arguments against Physician-Assisted Suicide Loss of lives. Most patients who get depressed due to terminal and advanced illnesses tend to opt for physician-assisted suicide. For instance, patients suffering from a terminal illness such as cancer tend to be exposed to depression as they feel useless, thus opting for physician-assisted suicide. Secondly, extreme autonomy, where terminally ill patients can control the circumstances and timing of their death. The lives of people should be valued regardless of whether they are suffering from a terminal illness. Lastly, physician-assisted suicide will introduce more deadly drugs into society. Most physician-assisted suicide bills do not provide regulation or tracking of suicide drugs once they leave the pharmacy (Snyder Sulmasy & Mueller, 2017). This may result in more deadly drugs in the community, which can be abused, leading to more deaths. Conclusion 4 In my opinion, the legalization of physician-assisted suicide will have more negative impacts on society than positive impacts. However, criminalization of the practice might make it hard for a severe situation where it needs to be practiced. Therefore, the practice should neither be criminalized nor legalized. In conclusion, people are entitled to their opinions on physicianassisted suicide, and different people have different perspectives and opinions about it. 5 References Emanuel, E. J., Onwuteaka-Philipsen, B. D., Urwin, J. W., & Cohen, J. (2016). Attitudes and practices of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Jama, 316(1), 79-90. Nicolini, M. E., Kim, S. Y., Churchill, M. E., & Gastmans, C. (2020). Should euthanasia and assisted suicide for psychiatric disorders be permitted? A systematic review of reasons. Psychological medicine, 50(8), 1241-1256. Snyder Sulmasy, L., & Mueller, P. S. (2017). Ethics and the legalization of physician-assisted suicide: an American College of Physicians position paper. Annals of internal medicine, 167(8), 576-578.
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