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Physician Assisted Suicide, A Patient’s Wish Fulfilled

By Dana Wilson

The whole issue of physician assisted suicide has elicited hot debate in the modern times. A physician assisted suicide refers to a situation where the physician provides a patient with either the knowledge or the means to take his/her life (Doyal 1). Sometimes due to brain damage, patients suffer from conditions that render them permanently and severely incompetent to an extent that any medical technology can not help to provide any sustainable medical treatment. In such situations doctors are legally allowed to withdraw any life sustaining support. The arguments of such decisions are grounded on the fact that the decision to switch of the life support is for the best interest of the severely incompetent patient so as to help them avoid unnecessary agony and pain. The purpose of this paper is to argue that physicians assisted suicide is not an accomplishment of the physician’s duty but rather a fulfillment of the patients wish.
One of the major arguments in support of this is that severely incompetent patients are often not in any position of benefiting from any further effort to sustain their lives using sustainable treatment. They are also deemed incapable of benefiting from further life as a result of their adverse medical conditions. The treatment can also be too burdensome for the medical resources to maintain hence making his life neither worth living nor prolonging. With such issues at hand, it can be argued hat it is in the best interest of the patient whose duty is vested in the hands of the physicians to assist the patients to die.
In the face of immense suffering a result of continued living, it is reasonable to allow physicians to be allowed to accelerate death if such a move is clinically critical to averting further suffering of the patient (Loewy 16). There are however several concerns surrounding this pertinent issue but on the other side it is not moral enough to watch a patient experience unending suffering under the life supporting machines when it is clearly apparent that he/ she has little if any chance of survival. This must however rest on the assessment of the doctors.
In some other circumstances, the patient makes a competent request to be assisted to die or to be given knowledge of how to procure death. Granting such request would Amount to respecting the autonomy of the patients and their perceived need to die with dignity rather than endure long suffering under unsuccessful treatment.
Legal dictates have it that any competent adult has an unalienable right to self determination and similarly it can be concluded that they can have life sustainable treatment removed or withdrawn if they consent to such decision in their sound mind. Furthermore suicide is no longer prohibited in United States yet patients are widely not allowed to seek assistance to take their own life which could be termed as very unfortunate as it is inconsistent with the current laws (Rogatz 4). Why would one be allowed to undergo traumatic and yet incurable conditions when some of human assistance exists to relieve such suffering? Thus in the face of such a scenario, it can be reliably argued that assisting such a patience procure death would amount to fulfillment of the patients wishes.
The physician is mandated by his code of conduct to perform due diligence in his execution of his duties and obligations. However, alleviation of suffering to his patient could be said to be one of the residual duties related to his obligations. Circumstances arise when all available reasonable measures are exhausted leaving physician with induction of the patient’s death as the only humane thing to do in his capacity. It is thus not culpable to hold criminal law prosecution against such an individual who in his best judgment deemed it fit to reduce suffering to the patient.
Since all Americans have an autonomy of choice to chose what is best for them, then it goes without saying that doctor’s should be in a position to serve the best interest of the patients and not hold to the desire to preserve life irrespective of the cost of the suffering. Confining a severely incompetent patient in unbearable suffering does not solve the problem of the patients and in any case it beats all the moral considerations.
It is worth noting that double standards are obvious in regulation of the doctor’s practice towards these patients. For example the society accepts switching off a life sustaining treatment equipment at patients request while granting a death inducing prescription requested by the patients taken unkindly. It beats all logic to imagine why one should be favor one at the expense of the other yet all amount to one thing; assisting a patient to procure death. It has been found that the potential loss of ones dignity forever and those other traits that are associated with being human renders the patient to contemplate suicide. Such are some of the many reasons that make assisting of the patients to die reasonable and worth since such patients already have lost any desire of further living and therefore have very little prospects of living a normal life.
Placing a ban on physician assisted killing undermines the patients trust on the doctors. Legalizing it would enhance the patient’s sense of security by assuring the patients that in the event that they were faced with unending suffering, the physicians would assist them to accelerate death to avert unnecessary suffering. Some terminally ill patients are found to have committed suicide at the early stage of the illness on realizing that continued disability would deny them the opportunity to procure death when desperately in need of one (Rogatz 9). Any patience assured of getting assistance would not result to early suicide due to confidence bestowed upon him.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Wilson, Dana "Physician Assisted Suicide, A Patient’s Wish Fulfilled." Physician Assisted Suicide, A Patient’s Wish Fulfilled. 26 Jun. 2010. 24 Dec 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Wilson, D (2010, June 26). Physician Assisted Suicide, A Patient’s Wish Fulfilled. Retrieved December 24, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Wilson, Dana "Physician Assisted Suicide, A Patient’s Wish Fulfilled"

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