Physician Assisted Suicide Summary

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One of the main objections to autonomy-based justifications of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) that Gill talks about is that many people believe it does not promote autonomy, but instead is actually taking it away (366). First, it is important to clarify what autonomy means. According to Gill, it is the ability of a person to make big decisions regarding their own life (369). Opponents of PAS argue that it takes away a person’s ability to make these big decisions and so it is intrinsically wrong for them to choose to take their own life. Gill responds to this objection in many ways. He claims that allowing a person to choose to take their own life is one of the biggest decisions that they can make on their own. He believes that if a terminally…show more content…
Gill argues that keeping a person healthy cannot be a physician’s only moral duty because in cases of terminal ill patients, they can no longer be treated or healed (372). If a physician’s only duty were to heal patients then they would not tend to the terminally ill because there would be nothing else that they could do, which is something that most people would find to be morally wrong (Gill, 373). No one would be okay with a doctor not helping a person at all who has received a terminal sentence. So instead of promoting health in this case, the physicians must find a way to reduce the suffering of the patient. This means that the physician should be able to reduce the suffering in the way that the patient asks for. If this means that the patient is in extreme pain and requests for PAS, then the physician should be able to let them do so as long as they are in the correct state of mind to make that decision. Philosophers argue that helping to kill a patient could never be the best option, however in many cases it may be a better option than letting them suffer for more months to come (Gill,…show more content…
He believes that the pleasure or pain a person feels is directly related to whether or not the action was right or wrong (Bentham, 39). This means that an action is right when it causes the greatest pleasure for the person or group of people who are involved. If there is a group of people and a certain action would benefit the majority of them for good, then it would be considered to be the right action. On the other hand, if the action does not benefit the majority and only benefits a few, then it would be considered to be wrong. The ultimate goal of this theory is to bring happiness to those involved and to also prevent evil and unhappiness within the group (Bentham, 39). The same goes for an individual. Whatever option would bring that person the greatest pleasure would be the right choice and all other options would be wrong because they would be bringing them pain. Bentham states that when you consider an individual or a group then you can determine the value of the pleasure or pain felt in a situation through evaluating its intensity, duration, certainty/ uncertainty, propinquity/ remoteness, fecundity, and purity (41). This means that you can determine the amount of pleasure or pain a person will feel depending on how greatly it scores on these
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