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policypaper.docx - Running head: PHYSICIAN ASSISTED SUICIDE...

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Running head: PHYSICIAN ASSISTED SUICIDEPhysician Assisted SuicideStephen Hunn Jr.MacMurray College, Jacksonville ILNUR 440
2PHYSICIAN ASSISTED SUICIDEPhysician Assisted SuicideImagine the worst headache you have ever experienced…any sound intensifies the pain,the faintest light forces you to shield your eyes, changing position makes you nauseous becausethe simple act of moving results in throbbing pain so bad that you feel as though your eyes willexplode.Now imagine, sitting in front of you, a variety of natural and medical remedies thatcould relieve the pain that you are experiencing however, it is unlawful to take them.You haveno choice other than experience the unimaginable pain you are currently in because the choice toend your pain is not yours, it is someone else’s. Choices are what make us who we are. Choicesgive us control and shows our character and spirit.Making choices that affect our own life is thedefinition of autonomy and should be a given right to all human beings including the choice towhat we perceive as a dignified death.After many years of research and deliberation, a newhealthcare policy that will be put into effect in the year 2020, is the choice be given to amentally competent person over the age of 18 with a terminal disease that within reasonablemedical judgement, will produce death within six months, to request a physician-assisted suicide(PAS) in all 50 states.It is important to take into thoughtful consideration all outcomes thatcould result in this new policy however, comparatively, the positive impact will far surpass thenegative.It is important to ask, “Is quality of life measured by morbidity and mortality, or is itmeasured by happiness, and physical and emotional health?” Although death is inevitable, allpersons are still entitled to autonomy, non-biased medical care and treatment, and the right to adignified death.Before the coming of Christianity, ancient Greek and Roman physicians widely supportedthe idea and act of voluntary death opposed to prolonged agony(Hogan, 2006).It was not
3PHYSICIAN ASSISTED SUICIDEuntil the 1870’s when an American judge, Samuel Wardell Williams, proposed the use ofanesthetics and morphine to intentionally end a patient’s life. Although Samuel’s attempts toadvocate for patient’s autonomy in regards to a dignified death were halted, debates about theethics of euthanasia raged in the United States and Britain over the next 35 years but, to no avail.The arguments propounded for and against euthanasia in the 19th century are identical tocontemporary arguments. Such similarities suggest four conclusions: Public interest ineuthanasia 1) is not linked with advances in biomedical technology, 2) it flourishes in times ofeconomic recession, in which individualism and social Darwinism are invoked to justify publicpolicy, 3) it arises when physician authority over medical decision making is challenged, and 4)it occurs when terminating life-sustaining medical interventions become standard medical

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