assisted suiside

assisted suiside - Subject Code: ENG112 Assisted Suicide...

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Subject Code: ENG112 Assisted Suicide The orthodoxy about suicide in the late twentieth century is not, however, centered on issues or sin, nobility or freedom, but on psychiatric categories. The psychiatric picture of suicide portrays it as a despairing act, one carried out under a cognitive disability or depression. Suicidal acts are symbolic cries for help. I do not deny the appropriateness of psychiatric interpretation, only the presumption that it is all-encompassing. If either theological or psychiatric categories are thought to exhaust the possibilities for interpreting voluntary death, then questions of physician- assistance are moot. I will proceed, without giving full arguments, under the assumption that suicide remains a reasonable possibility, however exceptional. That is, at least some acts of suicide are neither sins nor signs of illness, and reflect a legitimate human option for how life should end. If suicide can be made comprehensible or rational from the patient's perspective, then we must entertain as a serious ethical question whether doctors should assist. I want now to look at some of the most important arguments for and against, beginning with the objections and then examining the counter arguments ( 5) . (1) Physician-assistance suicide, some argue, is forbidden by medical ethics. Physicians should never be involved in causing death. The Hippocratic Oath states “I will neither give a deadly drug to anyone if asked, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect”. Some physicians and ethicists see a physician's assistance in suicide as morally equivalent to euthanasia. The counter- argument is that assisted suicide and active euthanasia sometimes look very similar, and sometimes do not. They look more similar in the Kevorkian-type “assists” in which the physician provides a special machine, hooks the person up and supervises the procedures to assure the desired result. They look very different in cases where the physician provides information or a
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assisted suiside - Subject Code: ENG112 Assisted Suicide...

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