Assisted Suicide Essay

2133 words - 9 pages

The legalization of assisted suicide has been a controversial topic that has created a divide within the medical community, as well as the general public, for many years. Assisted suicide occurs when a patient decides to take their own life, with help from their doctor. The doctor can end the patient’s life without causing any additional pain or suffering. While some believe that assisted suicide should be legal for patients who are suffering from a terminal and painful condition, others argue that it is unethical and going against the doctor’s oath to help and not harm their patients. As the average life expectancy age increases, people are living longer while also having to live with more serious illnesses. As a result, lives are ending with a great amount of suffering and pain, rather then dying peacefully. Since death is ultimately inevitable, I will therefore argue in favor of the proposition that assisted suicide should be legal for those capable of making a rationale end of life decision.
In the article “Attitudes and Desires Related to Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide Among Terminally Ill Patients and their Caregivers” research was done to expose terminally ill patients and their caregiver’s views towards euthanasia and physician assisted suicide (Ezekiel et al., 2000). Surveying a sample of terminally ill patients, as well as their caregivers, twice a week from March 1996 until July 1997, provided enough data to evaluate (Ezekiel et al., 2000). The participants included a total of 988 terminally ill patients and 893 caregivers. The research was done to not only determine whether or not people support assisted suicide, but also to show how many patients had considered taking their own lives, and how many caregivers had been asked to help. The participants were given questionnaires that incorporated ten different areas of the argument. The ten areas included, symptoms, social supports, communication with health providers, spiritual meaning, care needs, end of life plans, economic burdens, sociodemographics, preferences regarding end-of-life care and euthanasia and assisted suicide, and stress of the interview (Ezekiel et al., 2000). The findings from the surveys showed that in hypothetical scenarios, 60.2% of the terminally ill patients supported euthanasia or assisted suicide, despite the fact that only 10.6% of the patients seriously contemplated it for themselves (Ezekiel et al., 2000). Many factors play into individuals choosing not to take their own life, even if they believe that others should have the right to. For example, the patients that had loved ones present in their lives were not as likely to take their own lives, but the patients that were alone, causing them to be depressed, as well as the patients who needed more intense care, were much more likely to see euthanasia or assisted suicide as a legitimate option (Ezekiel et al., 2000). 58.7% of the caregivers supported the use of euthanasia for their...

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