Besides the Hippocratic Oath it is equally important to mention the issues of

Besides the hippocratic oath it is equally important

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Besides the Hippocratic Oath, it is equally important to mention the issues of family pressures. It is arguable that pressures from the families will not affect the patient’s choice. Allowing euthanasia could benefit the family because it could ease the burden and the stress of being responsible for a patient that is placed on surrounding family members. Family physician Howard Brody states in an article he wrote that families are considered safe guards when it comes to discussing physician assisted suicide because families have the abilities to assure the right of the individual asking for the procedure (Brody). Although this is thought of as a safeguard, it can also be the very reason a person is pushing for assisted suicide. Nobody wants to be the reason his or her family is suffering. Looking after a terminally ill relative is not an easy task. It can be emotionally draining and can be financially burdening to a patient’s relatives. Therefore patients who is suffering might ask for a procedure such as assisted suicide because
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Hembree 3 they feel they have trapped their family members, and feel so much remorse their only options are to be placed in a nursing facility, or kill themselves. The actions of family members can often influence a patient’s choice according the author of Death as a Salesman: What's Wrong with Assisted Suicide, "the gravely ill are emotionally vulnerable, and depressed family members may unconsciously reinforce, or even suggest 'suicidal' thoughts. Sometimes it is the family members who are in even greater emotional need than the patient" (Johnston). This emphasizes the affect family members have on patients who are considering physician assisted suicide because it shows that the way family members act puts pressure on the patient to think of options that will help benefit the family, instead of burdening them. In addition to family pressures, it is also important to consider that not every patient is fully capable of deciding if euthanasia is viable in their situation. As supporters like Chand, vice president of the British Medical Association argue “To allow a terminally ill individual to end their life is the only humane, rational and compassionate choice” (Chand). Support for euthanasia stems for the thought that patients who ask for a lethal injection understand that there is no other option for their pain because their pain is too much. If a person is in critical pain and there is no way to solve their health condition, it is understandable to open up to the possibility of taking a lethal injection or a lethal drug in order to give a mercy killing. The problem with this is often people who ask for assisted suicide do not go through the mental process, or are not in the correct frame of consciousness. Although this does not pertain to every case, it is a legitimate concern for doctors who are allowed to do a euthanasia procedure. Doctors often have to first send patients to a physiatrist before entertaining the thought of euthanasia. This was noted in one case with a patient from Oregon named Kate Cheney, who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 85. Cheney argued her case with the doctor about being qualified for assisted suicide. The
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  • Fall '08
  • MARTIN
  • Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, The Grave

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