The Utilitarian Theory

1484 Words6 Pages
Utilitarian Theory Utilitarianism is described as “maximizing positive consequences consists in doing that which results in the greatest good for the greatest number of people (sometimes referred to as the “happiness principle”)” (Panicola, Belde, Slosar, & Repenshek, 2011, p. 30). As this relates to PAS, it would be choosing actions those results in the greater amount of happiness rather than unhappiness. According to the Death with Dignity Act, patients are required to have three requests –twice orally and once in writing – before a physician can prescribe the medication to end one’s life (Dieterle, 2007, p. 129). The request must be made by the patient him or herself. In this example, proponents for PAS feel that as long as the procedures…show more content…
My arguments with this area of this debate are strong in the sense that every patient, at every time within their lives are no more or less important, and that this statement has greater moral wrongs than the focus on the dying individual who is choosing PAS as an option. Therefore, I propose that the argument that greater resources for the greater good of those wanting to live serves as a moral injustice to those who are seeking help through PAS. Who is to say that one patient is more important than the next because of what medical options they choose or don’t…show more content…
First, the Oath is not a legal document, and therefore there is no legal binding to it. Second, as Dieterle points out, it is just a “bunch of words” “without moral reasons to back them up, those words cannot dictate medical ethics or physicians duties” (2007, p. 138). Thirdly, the individual or patient, in the case of PAS, is administering the lethal medication, the physician is not. The physician also did not suggest this as an option; the patient sought out the option for him/her self.
My personal view on the deontology debate is one of, yes killing is wrong, but first and foremost, the physician is not the one taking the life. It is the patient’s decision to hasten the death. Although, yes the physician is prescribing the medications, it is ultimately the patient’s decision in the end. PAS is not a decision thought of and taken in the heat of the moment sort speak. It has a waiting period with numerous requests to a physician for help in obtaining medications; it is a process that, if truly intended as a means to an end, takes some time to get through.
Get Access