Starting in the 21st century an intense debate began to arise with respect to the determination of death. Despite legal and ethical consensus that death may be decided by either neurological criteria or traditional cardio-pulmonary criteria.
Physician-Assisted Suicide has been one of the most complex, emotionally charged, and controversial issues in the healthcare arena. The question of whether terminally ill patients are entitled to a physician’s aid to end their suffering has been met with controversy on both fronts. Questions such as does a person have an inherent right to autonomy and free thinking, when does the welfare of the individual supersede their own judgment or wishes, when is it permissible and when is it not, to the more religious moral and existential questions. Research studies published in multiple medical journals have confirmed, a small percentage of healthcare professionals, including physicians, that have admitted to having hastened a patient’s death. Societies around the globe, are deeply divided on the question of whether PAD may be legal, and if so to what degree. Recently published surveys show two-thirds of the United States population approve of PAD as a choice for terminally ill patients . Furthermore, there has been consistent evidence of secret Physician-Assisted deaths being done in countries where is it prohibited and illegal.
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The Hippocratic Oath of do no harm, promote beneficence, and respect individual autonomy is taken very seriously by most persons in the medical profession. Moreover, the Hippocratic Oath does not explicitly state but does suggest, Physician-Assisted death lies outside the prevue of a physician’s professional responsibilities; and as such, leaves no legal obligation to honor such request from patients. In the 21st century, however, the world has seen a much-needed cultural shift and stance on the issue of Physician-Assisted suicide. Increasingly, more Americans have begun to take interest in end-of-life measures and contemplate those crucial decisions, for example, what it means to have a good death. The Hastings Center Report Essays Has Physician-Assisted Death Become the Good Death by Franklin G. Miller, Physician-Assisted Death by Timothy E.
Quill ; Bernard Sussman, Physician-Assisted Death in the United States: Are the Existing Last Resorts Enough by Timothy Quill, and Physician-Assisted Suicide: A Conservative Critique of Intervention by Daniel Lee tackle the hot-button issue all from different lenses and perspectives. All four essays have one common theme that leaves one puzzled, one cannot say definitively what would or should be in the best interest of an individual who is terminally ill unless put in the same position. The preceding essay I will tackle the issue of Physician-Assisted suicide from an unbiased analytical perspective using the scholarly essays as a reference point to evaluate all sides, pulling information from other sources to further delineate my position. In presenting the facts as they are, including the moral and religious dissensions as I see them, my hope is to present an argument for Physician-Assisted death as an individual’s rights issue, not one for the courts or church to decide.