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Physician-Assisted Suicide Essay

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Essay about Physician-Assisted Suicide

Historically, assisted suicide and euthanasia were regarded as immoral. People were let to continue ailing from the diseases that they were suffering from until death. However, there were cases where individuals would violently end their lives. When suicide was not successful, they would suffer until death occurred naturally. The law against assisted suicide is still applied in Texas. This essay seeks to provide the controversies revolving around assisted suicide in the country and offer an informed stand regarding the issue.

Physician-assisted suicide is a political and controversial subject in the United States. There are debates on whether patients should die with the assistance of a medical practitioner or they should be allowed to live and suffer from untreatable and painful ailments. Some individuals are against assisted suicide based on moral and religious reasons while others argue that ending the life of a client is against medical ethics and should be punished by the law. Such claims differ because people believe that everyone has the right to live regardless of their medical situation. However, supporters argue that assisted suicide separates terminally ill patients from pain (Mazloom et al., 3). Many cases are recorded where people in their final stages request doctors to hasten the process by administering active euthanasia. It is quite painful to see patients in anguish and believe that the only way to stop the agony is by assisted suicide. Some people support euthanasia because it allows people to experience painless death especially in circumstances where they are ailing from painful and incurable conditions and should die so that extreme medical measures can be withdrawn.

 In some states including The Netherlands, Oregon, Belgium, Washington, and Luxembourg, voluntary euthanasia is allowed only with the patients’ consent. However, in cases where assisted suicide is conducted to a person who cannot provide informed consent when they do not want to die is regarded as murder because it is against the patient’s will. However, Texas laws do not allow euthanasia but the country’s health and safety code permits medical institutions to unilaterally make decisions to withhold or withdraw life-support treatment even in cases where the patient is the designated decision-maker or wants to continue with care. Opponents have made numerous attempts to advocate for changing the law so that ailing individuals can be protected but have failed. For instance, the last case made in 2011 to change the bill was not passed (Patients Rights Council). More attempts in 2013 also failed to provide patient protection (Patients Rights Council). However, Texas Health and Safety Codes allowed physicians to give patients 10 days to seek treatment in another facility before they can legally remove life support machines forcibly. Such actions are a form of mercy killing since they allow doctors to make the end of life decisions for their patients. Moreover, some people still believe that more conditions should be added to the bill and allow doctors to offer euthanasia.

Opponents of assisted suicide argue that the move should not be legalized because it leads to more harm than good. Moreover, the action is against the doctors’ roles as healers, and if allowed it would be impossible to control and the community would be at risk (American Medical Association). Instead of offering assisted suicide, physicians should positively respond to patients’ end of life issues (American Medical Association). Therefore, they should not abandon a patient when they determine that cure is impossible. Moreover, doctors’ code of ethics requires them to respect individual autonomy, enhance communication and emotional support, and offer the required care and comfort to control pain. The controversies behind the medical profession are propagated by the fact that they are controlled by both professional and cultural norms (American Medical Association). For instance, physicians are required to respect patient decisions but sometimes such choices are against their career requirement. While doctors are moral agents of their rights and feelings, they must be committed to their clients’ religious, beliefs, philosophical foundations, and other diversities. Such issues have become even worse in Texas where euthanasia is forbidden. Accordingly, there is tension between professional requirements, patients’ needs, and state laws.

In other arguments, some Texas citizens argue that the government should stay out of their personal affairs. For instance, some individuals are diagnosed with degenerative terminal diseases and feel that they have the right to make choices regarding ending their lives. However, it is not legal to ask the doctor to administer euthanasia in the state. Such people cannot understand why they are denied the right to control the time they want to die. Some states have recognized the need to allow patients to make decisions regarding life and death so that their lives can end with dignity. Such countries have formulated laws to guide licensed physicians to prescribe lethal doses on request by terminally ill individuals. However, Texas does not authorize or permit mercy killing. Nevertheless, patients are allowed to reject medical interventions and let nature take its course. Death with dignity proposes that assisted suicide should be supported by Oregon laws. Therefore, people should be allowed to make choices regarding their lives.

Conclusively, the growth in medical technologies has achieved remarkable improvement in peoples’ lives. For instance, life support machines that prolong life. therefore, it is a gift for people that can survive after an accident or terminal illness. Medicine on the other hand is meant to alleviate pain and suffering. However, sometimes medical technologies can prolong life but patients live in agony. Some patients from Texas have requested doctors offer them drugs to aid quick death but are turned away since the country’s laws do not allow that. Such scenarios occur when a patient is in pain that cannot be taken away by medicine. Therefore, it is imperative to allow patients to access drugs that will enable them to die quickly especially when suffering from incurable diseases.  Additionally, people should have access to assisted suicide in cases where it is provided to their best interests. Moreover, there are cases when the patient’s family cannot bear the physical suffering of their loved ones or it is costly to cater for costs associated with treating a disease that has no possible cure. Therefore, to avoid skyrocketing hospital bills when sustaining a dying person, it would be better to offer them euthanasia otherwise when that person dies, the family will be left in huge debts. Consequently, the Texas state government needs to consider revising the laws related to assisted suicide and let doctors administer voluntary euthanasia in genuine cases. Lastly, the right to assisted suicide will allow people to leave the world with dignity, relieve financial ruin to their loved ones, and relieve them of suffering. Therefore, patient autonomy will be respected. 

Works Cited

American Medical Association. “Physician-Assisted Suicide”. American Medical Association, https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/ethics/physician-assisted-suicide.

Mazloom, Samira, Alireza Hamidian Jahromi, and Bahar Bastani. “Legalization Of Euthanasia And Physician-Assisted Dying: Condemnation Of Physician Participation.” Online Journal of Health Ethics 13.1 (2017): 8.

Patients Rights Council. “Texas | Patients Rights Council”. Patientsrightscouncil.Org, 2013, http://www.patientsrightscouncil.org/site/texas/.

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