This week’s topic I chose Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS) and this is a tough topic for me. I know PAS is vastly different, but I have seen how suicide affects loved one’s way too many times. I could never imagine the hurt or pain that someone is going through to take their own life. After suicide that hurt and pain never fully goes away, it instead is transferred to loved ones, I think. As I mentioned before this is different than PAS, and looking at the laws I could see why some think this should be legal.
As of December 2021, 10 states have legalized Physician-Assisted Suicide (1). Nearly all of these require a diagnosis of a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months. Each state also requires 3 separate requests from the patient and, a period of 15 to 20 days between requests. Then among other requirements, the patient must be certified mentally competent. I thought about writing that in situations like this it would be morally right to allow this. I am not fully convinced though; I hear stories all the time claiming that “The doctor gave me X amount of time to live” and they exceeded that time frame by leaps and bounds. I also believe that medical research is finding new cures and treatments at a blazingly fast pace. Six months is a long time, perhaps a new treatment could emerge, but it is also a long to suffer a painful disease. One of Kant’s arguments is “by committing suicide one is treating oneself merely as a means and not as an end”. (2) I think that by choosing to commit suicide you are also treating your loved ones as “means” as well.
(1) procon.org. “States with Legal Physician-Assisted Suicide – Euthanasia – ProCon.org.” Euthanasia, 25 July 2019, euthanasia.procon.org/states-with-legal-physician-assisted-suicide/.
(2) Kranak, Joseph. “Kantian Deontology.” Press.rebus.community, Rebus Community, 9 Dec. 2019, press.rebus.community/intro-to-phil-ethics/chapter/kantian-deontology/.
Good morning classmates,
Assisted suicide takes place when a physician aids the death of a patient by providing the needed information or means that will warrant the patient to carry out the act of life-ending (Scheper, 2020). Individuals who support or oppose physician-assisted suicide agree on various factors such as dignity, respect, compassion, and care. The AMA Code of Medical Ethics provides the rules and regulations that physicians should consider regarding assisted suicide (Scheper, 2020). Opinion E-5.7 of the Medical Ethics conveys the viewpoint of those against physician-assisted suicide, while Opinion conveys the viewpoint of the people who support physician-assisted suicide based on moral standards (Scheper, 2020). Physician-assisted suicide is not a moral action in society.
Though devastating, it is comprehensible that some patients under extreme pain may decide on ending their lives due to the painful, terminal, and crippling illness. Nevertheless, it is morally wrong to allow physicians to participate in assisted suicide. Physician-assisted suicide is contradictory to the role of a physician as a doctor, has the potential of posing severe risks in society, and allowing the practice will eventually be difficult to control (Scheper, 2020). Instead of physicians engaging in physician-assisted suicide, they should be involved in responding to the needs of a patient whose life is nearing the end (Scheper, 2020). The physicians are responsible for providing emotional support to the patient and the family members, giving the required sufficient pain control and comfort care, respecting the patients’ liberty, and they should not desert the patient when it has been proven the illness is untreatable.
According to Kant, “suicide is in no circumstance permissible.” Kant has a point that suicide should not be permitted as man is God’s property, and He alone has the right to take a person’s life (Altman, 2020).
Altman, M. C. (2020). Can Suicide Preserve One’s Dignity? Kant and Kantians on the Moral Response to Cognitive Loss. Kant-Studien, 111(4), 593-611.http://rifdt.instifdt.bg.ac.rs/bitstream/handle/123456789/1544/bitstream_3121.pdf?sequence=1
Scheper, A. (2020). AMA Code of Medical Ethics’ opinions related to organizational influence in health care. AMA Journal of Ethics, 22(3), 217-220. https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/ama-code-medical-ethics-opinions-related-organizational-influence-health-care/2020-03?Effort%2BCode=FBB007