Should Physician-Assisted Suicide be legal?
PHI 103 – Informal Logic
Professor Martin McAuliffe
April 8, 2013
Physician-assisted suicide and whether it should be legalized or not has been an ongoing and very controversial debate for some time. Although it has been argued that physician-assisted suicide can be beneficial, it should never be legalized. One very big reason why this should never be legal is because physician-assisted suicide can have very damaging psychological and emotional effects on the physicians taking part. Also, physician-assisted suicide should never come at the hands of a physician-healer because to do so would be to violate The Hippocratic Oath that all doctors have to take. Palliative care should be the standard of care for the dying. This allows for the dying patient to pass away comfortably with minimal to no pain. Dying patients do not have to die in pain or die without dignity. Palliative care would help with all of that. Therefore, physician-assisted suicide should never be legal.
Oregon is the only state to date that has legalized physician-assisted suicide. According to Quill & Cassell (2003), improved delivery of hospice and palliative care is the result of fewer patients using the legally sanctioned access to physician-assisted suicide in Oregon. (Quill, T.E., Cassell, C.K. 2003)
Indeed, because they have improved delivery of hospice and palliative care in Oregon, they have fewer patients using the legally sanctioned access to physician-assisted suicide. It would still be the same for any other state that may choose to legalize physician-assisted suicide. I believe that fewer people would request physician-assisted suicide if they were to receive better hospice and palliative care. Moreover, if we do not legalize it at all then what stops the patient from receiving improved delivery of hospice and/or palliative care anyway? What does a patient have to lose by voting not to legalize...