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Running Head: ETHICS IN PHYISICAN ASSISTED SUICIDE 1Courtney EllinghamEthics in Physician-Assisted SuicideChamberlain College of Nursing
PHYSICIAN ASSISTED SUICIDE 2Being in the healthcare field, we are prepared to deal with many ethical dilemmas, but thetopic of physician assisted suicide is one of the most challenging. The topic of physician assisted suicide is one that often presents several moral dilemmas. As the number of people diagnosed with. terminal diseases increase every day, an increasing number of patients are looking for a way to get rid of or cure the diagnosis. Many people use experimental drugs, while many are advised they have just months to live and move more towards drastic steps. Physician-assisted suicide is one of the alternatives; defined as the voluntary termination of one's own life through the administration of a lethal substance with a physician's direct assistance.Some will slowly go down to intolerable agony, many will become dependent on others to fulfill their everyday tasks, and many will inevitably die. The choice is whether to spend as much time with loved ones as possible and likely suffer or end your life with a sense of dignity and escape the misery and suffering. Living in such pain or feeling as though you are a burden on your loved ones, death would ultimately be the better choice for them. On one hand, physician assisted suicide can be seen as the most painless method of killing a person out of considerations of compassion and is typically done when a person has no chance of returning to normal life without suffering and pain. But people who oppose the legalization of physician assisted suicide believe that it is still a killing of a human being and ending a life. When a patient lies in agony in a hospital bed and the treatment no longer works, when the doctors and nurses can no longer help but instead simply seek to make the patient as comfortable as possible; when death is imminent; why not let them make the decision to end their life on their own terms? Imagine you are a physician in the state of Oregon, who is assigned a 46-year-old patient with a diagnosis of Glioblastoma, the most aggressive and deadly cancer that begins in the brain. Despite aggressive and extensive methods of treatment, the cancer has recurred, and with the
PHYSICIAN ASSISTED SUICIDE 3median survival rate of only 12-15 months after diagnosing, the patient only has an expected 3 months left to live. The patient has requested more information on physician assisted suicide, or PAS, the voluntary termination of one's own life through the administration of a lethal substance with a physician's direct assistance, which is legalized in your state. As a physician, you know you must respect the wishes of your patient, even if it may go against your beliefs.