Physician Assisted Suicide Analysis

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In the documentary, Bill Moyers talks to three terminally ill patients, their families, and their doctors about the concerns with physician-assisted suicide (PAS). PAS allows a terminally ill patient to hasten an inevitable and unavoidable death through a lethal dose. The patients considered PAS in order to end their prolonged suffering. The legal role of advance directives in end of life issues allows a patient to specify how he wishes to be treated by a healthcare provider during a progressively weakened state. Advance directives may provide patients with freedom to choose end of life treatment, but moral and religious implications, the ethical battle between a physician’s duty to care and inner-conscious, and state laws pose threats to PAS. Advance directives intend to provide adults with the opportunity to express their desires about medical treatment before becoming debilitated. Personally, the freedom to choose one’s own destiny through advance directives directly aligns with the constitutional value of liberty. It permits an individual to be in charge of his …show more content…

The oath of Hippocrates binds the physician to a promise “to do no harm.” However, the oath poses a dilemma for the physician to either participate in or decline PAS. A physician’s perception of the dilemma indicates his belief in PAS. For example, Kitty Rayl of Oregon, with terminal uterine cancer, turned to Dr. Nancy Crumpacker for help in dying. Under Oregon Law, Dr. Crumpacker could assist Kitty’s death with a lethal medication. The doctor perceived PAS as the ability to relieve Kitty’s suffering, not as “killing” the patient. The physician states, “If that’s her sense or anyone else’s sense of suffering, what I want to do is relieve that suffering. I am hastening an inevitable death” (On Our Own Terms). In this case, Dr. Crumpacker would be fulfilling Kitty’s wishes to die with

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