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The Need to Legalize Physician-Assisted Suicide

Even though medical ethicists oppose the idea of physician-assisted suicide, it is practiced legally and illegally all over the world. Legalizing it will obliterate the meaningless fine line critics draw between active and passive euthanasia. By 1991, 28 states had ruled that patients can refuse life-sustaining treatment. There is little difference in the end-result between a physician pulling the plug on a machine (passive) or injecting a lethal dose into a patient's arm (active)(McCord, 1993, p. 26). Both require an active measure that results in the patient's death. They should both be considered forms of physician-assisted suicide (Hall, 1994, p. 10). Therefore, it is hypocritical for society to accept one form of physician-assisted suicide and not the other.

Physicians are the most well-placed and the most qualified people to ensure a safe and comforting death for their patients. They know what drugs to use in order to produce a swift and comfortable death. Psychologically, they can play the role of comforting the patient without being emotionally drawn into the experience compared to the patients' relatives (Kass & Lund, 1996, p. 19). In the Netherlands, the doctor and the patient form a supportive bond that prepares the patient for impending death (Shapiro, "Euthanasia home," 1997, p. 25).

By examining the details of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act (DDA), it can be demonstrated clearly that legalizing physician-assisted suicide will address the increasing demand of dying patients in a safe and regulated atmosphere. The act was formulated to serve three objectives and three groups of people: 1) Offer terminally ill people the right to die in a "human and dignified" fashion by ingesting lethal pills prescribed by a physician; 2) protect physicians from professional and legal prosecution for their involvement in the deaths of their patients; and 3) to guarantee that the practice will be regulated and accountable to the pu...

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The Need to Legalize Physician-Assisted Suicide. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 08:41, July 22, 2017, from
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