Running Head: PHYSICIAN ASSISTED DEATH IN THE UNITED STATES Physician Assisted Death In the United States Lincoln Memorial University Lincoln 300 Marta Pinol Royo December 2017 1
PHYSICIAN ASSISTED DEATH IN THE UNITED STATES What is life? What is death? Do people have the right to decide when to end with their lives? All these questions are becoming a debate theme in today’s society because of all the ethical issues that involve. New medical methods such as euthanasia or assisted death, also called physician-assisted death (PAD) allow people who are very ill to decide whether to live or force the death. Although euthanasia and assisted death seem to be the same thing, they differ from each other on the method they are applied on patients. While euthanasia still illegal in all Unites States (Haberman, 2015, para. 6), CNN Library (2017) states that actually “Physician-assisted suicide is legal in five U.S. states” (para. 1). This research will discuss the ethical issues regarding assisted death, people’s opinion towards these ethical issues that involve the assisted death, and will provide examples of real testimonies who decided to use the assisted death. Euthanasia and assisted death are both used towards the same purpose which is to end someone’s life through the use of lethal medications, but they differ on who administers this medication to the patient. On one hand, Starks, Dudzinski, and White (2013) define physician assisted death as “a practice in which a physician provides a competent, terminally ill patient with a prescription for a lethal dose of medication, upon the patient’s request, which the patient intends to use to end his or her own life” (para. 1). In this case, is it is the own patient the one in charge of administering its own medication. On the other hand, when using euthanasia, is a third party the one in charge to administer the lethal medication to the patient (para. 6). Ball (2012) locates the beginning of the debate regarding physician assisted death on Kevorkian and Humphry actions. They both, applied euthanasia on different ill people from 1990 to 1997. Humphry’s started to do it after watching her wife suffering many years because of cancer. He believed she did not deserve all the suffering she went through during her illness, and he wanted to help other people to avoid such pain (para. 3-5). There were many different
PHYSICIAN ASSISTED DEATH IN THE UNITED STATES opinions regarding Kevorkian’s actions. His actions made some people start thinking about if it was worth it or not to live with a horrible pain. So, they saw his actions as a good thing that helped people to end with this horrible pain. However, for other people, Kevorkian was a killer and they called him as “the merchant of death” (para. 4). After some years applying euthanasia Dr. Kevorkian ended up in prison due to his actions (para. 5).
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