Physician-Assisted Suicide

This essay Physician-Assisted Suicide has a total of 1525 words and 6 pages.

Physician-Assisted Suicide

Kathleen M. Foley, author of Competent Care for the Dying Instead of Physician-Assisted Suicide,
believes doctors should develop treatments for the physical and psychological problems of dying patients
rather than helping them commit suicide. Available data suggests most physicians do not receive training
in the care of dying patients. Dying patients experience physical symptoms such as pain, psychological
problems such as anxiety and depression and existential distress (described as the experience of life without
meaning.)(1) many of the physical and psychological problems can be treated. Furthermore, legalization
of physician-assisted suicide may deter physicians from developing treatments that could enhance the dying
patient\'s quality of life.
Euthanasia by definition means "a gentle and easy death", "the good death of another" or "mercy
killing."(2) There are two types of euthanasia currently recognized, active and passive euthanasia. Active
euthanasia is the taking of one\'s own life, or being killed, for example, by lethal injection. Passive
euthanasia is taking one\'s life with the assistance of another or just being allowed to die. In passive
euthanasia we simply refrain from doing anything to keep the patient alive, for example, refusing to
perform surgery, administer medication, give heart massage or use a respirator and let the patient die from
whatever illness is already present. It is important to understand the difference, because many people
believe that active euthanasia is immoral and passive euthanasia is morally all right. They believe that we
should actually never kill patients, but sometimes it is all right to let them die.
The main issue then is it morally permissible to kill or let someone die who is going to die soon anyway,
at the person\'s own request, as an act of kindness?
Throughout history, many people have thought that the distinction between active and passive euthanasia
is morally important: and many of those who condemned active euthanasia raised no objection against
passive euthanasia. Even by people who believed killing to be wrong, allowing people to die by not
treating them was thought in some circumstances to be all right. Even before Christ, Socrates was quoted
as saying, " ...bodies which disease had penetrated through and through he would not have attempted to
cure...he did not want to lengthen out good-for-nothing lives."(3) In the ce

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