Assisted Suicide Research Paper Thesis

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A Patients Right To Die - With A Free Essay Review

Imagine that you are lying in the hospital bed and the past months have brought nothing but agony and pain to you. Tears and sadness can be seen on the faces of your family and friends wishing there was something they could do for you. Then, your doctor informs you that what you have is incurable and will only get worse. Would you be able to live on with the pain and try to make the most of your life’s situation? For years, doctors have been prohibited from helping patients to take their own lives. I believe that a terminally ill patient should have the right to decide if they have had enough. By legalizing euthanasia, also referred to as physician assisted suicide, tremendous misery and anguish of patients can be saved. The right to die should be a fundamental freedom to each person (Gorsuch, 2008).

Patients should have to right to die with their dignity intact rather than have their illness leave them as merely a shell of their former selves. Some say assisted suicides will open a whirlwind response to non-critical patient suicides and other abuses. It is the pain and anguished experienced by the patients and their families that ultimately can be protected. When do we agree with the person going through this anguish first hand and allow them to determine their own destiny? Assisted suicide is done in order to put a stop to a patient’s agony and suffering. Working with the state government would help nurses and hospitals gain a clearer definition of what assisted suicide covers in order to prevent the abuse of this practice.

Physician assisted suicides, also referred to as euthanasia, have been in existence for hundreds of years. One name more known with this subject is Jack Kevorkian, but he was not the first practitioner of assisted suicides. If we look at Romeo and Juliet, we see how a reluctant sells a vial poison to Romeo, who uses the vial to kill himself after learning of Juliet’s death. These types of deaths have been seen as honorable in past events. New and often expensive medical technologies have been developed that prolong life. However, the technologies also prolong the dying processes, leading some people to question whether modern medicine is forcing patients to live in unnecessary pain when there is no chance they will be cured. Passive euthanasia when a feeding tube is removed or a respirator is disconnected has become accepted as one solution. However, someone who overdoses on pills remains controversial. Assisted suicide is known as a type of active euthanasia where a doctor provides a lethal prescription dose to a patient who is responsible for performing the final act. Even though changes in modern medicine are continuous, attitudes toward assisted suicide among the legal system are not as unceasing.

Another argument we see in opposition of assisted suicides is that it violates medical ethics. The American Nurses Association (ANA) position statement reads, "A nurse must not act deliberately to end a person's life" (Kjervik, 1996). The Hippocratic oath also states; "I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel" (Pretzer, 2000). These are two of the most respected and acknowledged documents in the medical field. What both of these statements are doing is prohibiting any partaking of a patient's life or helping a patient in his or her death. Health care professionals work hard on developing a caring and trusting relationship with their patients, giving support while providing the medical care necessary for the patient’s well-being. We are working so hard on the relationship than we must also ask ourselves, when is it right to make the patient most comfortable with in incurable and painful disease?

Those against assisted suicide question and bring religious views into play arguing that life must be sanctioned by all means as life is most sacred. Another position seen from the opposition is that when a patient is undergoing medical treatment, they must be made to stay alive for as long as possible no matter what they may want because only God can decide when one may die. We can look at the Terri Schiavo as one example in relation (Quill, 2005). Terri was far beyond life based on an examined life and a medical basis; most philosophers would say she could be considered no longer a person. At what point do we take the best interest of the patient into hand and heart? We see how patients can have a say whether to live off of a machine or to have it unplug and this is justified legally. Because these people cannot speak up for themselves, but those that can and are suffering are unjust in their reasoning’s.

In summary, everyone is going to have an opinion in this matter just as each case is unique in nature. We can see how one case of someone who is suffering from stage four pancreatic cancer can be sympathized with verses reaching out and trying alternative ways to help a patient with extreme depression wanting to end their life because of what their depression is telling them to do. We have seen changes in the form of more and more hospice and homes in communities and this high need of hospice nurses nationwide. This is a struggle that will be within the medical field for years to come as there is no legal end in sight. The power to protect our civil liberty which is the right to die should lie within us.



I'll begin with your second paragraph, since I've little to say about your first paragraph (but note that some readers prefer a more elaborate thesis statement than the one you offer; i.e., some teachers may want your thesis statement not only to state your view but also to summarize your reasons for holding that view). The second paragraph deals with the topic of patient dignity and with the slippery-slope argument against legalizing euthanasia. Generally, try to keep to one topic per paragraph. I think it would be a good idea, in any case, to devote a paragraph to the question of "patient dignity." It's a fairly vague concept on its own, but it shouldn't be too difficult to make it more concrete. You try to do that by referring to the fact that patients become "merely a shell of their former selves," but really that's just a cliche. Don't be afraid to talk about the actual conditions under which terminally ill patients sometimes must live. For instance, some patients need help eating, washing, and going to the toilet. Some patients wear diapers and need others to change their diapers. Others throw up on themselves, or wet their beds. And so on. That kind of stuff is perhaps unpleasant to write about, but writing about it will allow you to clarify what you mean about “dignity.”

The third paragraph also deals with more than one topic: the history of euthanasia; the impact of life-prolonging technology; passive euthanasia; assisted suicide properly speaking. One of the problems with having a bunch of different topics in one paragraph is that it is difficult to keep track of your argument; you move very quickly from one assertion to another without pausing to clarify how each assertion contributes to the demonstration of the truth of your thesis. What do we learn from the history of euthanasia, for instance, that might help us rethink our resistance to euthanasia today? (I especially don't understand, by the way, the relevance of the reference to Romeo and Juliet, since its subject is a matter of fiction, not history, although you could argue that it reflects the values of its time). With your reference to modern medical technology, you seem to want to argue that we, in modern times, have all the more reason to be receptive to the idea of euthanasia, but you don't actually, explicitly, make that argument, but instead rush headlong towards your next topic.

So slow down. Divide the topics you actually want to discuss, and want to draw conclusions from, into separate paragraphs. Note that you could devote one paragraph to the difference between historical attitudes and modern attitudes to euthanasia, thus making one topic, that difference and its implications, out of what was originally two topics (the history of euthanasia; modern medical technology). What you want to aim for, in other words, is a paragraph that is argumentatively coherent. To achieve that aim, you will need to know in advance what you want the paragraph to argue. So ask yourself that question every time you go to write a paragraph: what exactly do I want to argue here?

Your next paragraph does deal with one topic: medical ethics. So as a paragraph it is better, more coherent, than the previous paragraph. Note, however, that the paragraph does not culminate in an argument related to your thesis, but rather in a question. It is almost always better to make your claims explicit, instead of relying on your reader to come to the conclusion of you would want the reader to reach. Readers are unreliable!

I don't quite understand what you are trying to say in the last two sentences of your paragraph on the religious opposition to euthanasia. They are worded very awkwardly (the last sentence is not, grammatically speaking, a sentence at all). Revise those sentences with a view to making a compelling case why the religious view is less ethical than the view that favors giving patients the right to physician assisted suicide.

The first sentence of your conclusion is a bit banal, but the second sentence makes a good point, although again not explicitly enough. It may be crucial to the success of your argument that we believe it is possible to tell the difference between cases where euthanasia is justified and cases where it is not. It's not a bad idea to emphasize in your conclusion the point that you make in that respect.

Best, EJ.

Submitted by: Jinkers02

Tagged...euthanasia essay, physician assisted suicide essay, essay help

One of the most contentious legal and public issues of modern society is the permission of assisted suicide and euthanasia. (Gorsuch, 599) General public, physicians, religious leaders, lawyers in the whole world are all debating over the issue of assisted suicide.
“Assisting suicide is a practice of aiding another in taking his or her life. Euthanasia is a practice of intentionally killing another person motivated by feelings of compassion or mercy.” (Gorsuch, 599)
“Assisted suicide involves someone who has suicidal motives, intends to die, does something to cause his or her death, and is noncoerced in deciding to kill himself. However, in contrast to “normal” suicides, an assisted suicide requires aid from a physician, a relative, or friend of the person wanting to commit suicide. The enabler can assist the suicidal person in any number of ways: by supplying information on the most effective ways of committing suicide, purchasing a weapon, providing a lethal dose of pills or poison, giving the suicidal person encouragement to carry out the lethal deed, or helping in the actual act of killing (e.g., by helping the person take the pills, pull the trigger of a gun, close the garage doors, or turn on the gas). Also in contrast to suicide, an act of assisted suicide is an illegal act in many jurisdictions, punishable by fines and/or short-term imprisonment.” (Donnelly, 251)
Starting from 1930s the issue of positive euthanasia was discussed actively both in the Great Britain and the United States.
Switzerland made assisted suicide legal in 1937, but only under condition that “the person who assists has no personal motive or gain”. (Smith, 31)
Much later in 1993, assisted suicide was decriminalized by the Netherlands, but only in regards to voluntary euthanasia (physician-assisted suicide) for the terminally ill patients. The physician-assisted suicide was legalized in this country in 2002.
Besides these two European countries, another country – Belgium has did a legalization of assisted suicide in 2002 for certain patients as well.
The famous debatable case of Dr. Jack Kevorkian is connected with the term “assisted suicide”. This case of assisting suicide and showing it on national TV has happened in the 1990s. It has made burst of emotions among the public. Kevorkian assisted people “to commit suicide. This story became the object of the US state law forbidding such activity”. (Smith, 31)

In this paper I would like to express my position on assisted suicide and euthanasia and also indicate some criticism against it.

Arguments for assisted suicide
I support a physician-assisted suicide and especially euthanasia, because first of all it’s needed only for very small group of terminally ill patients. These people are in uncontrollable awful pain and there is no other solution for them as there is no cure. Assisting suicides in such cases is showing mercy to suffering people.
Of course it’s a quite controversial issue from religious point of view. But church tells us to make charitable acts and be kind to your neighbour, so maybe euthanasia should be considered as a charitable act.
As a positive trend that leads to decreasing of the patients that needs a physician-assisted suicide is the development of new quality of pain management.
Although, in my opinion, there should not be any opportunity to use physician-assisted suicide for such groups as “terminally ill patients who are not in pain, patients with nonterminal diseases, or psychiatric patients.” (Gorsuch, 599)

Criticism of assisted suicide
There are many people who are strictly against any possibility of assisted suicide, due to various reasons and this debate constantly goes on.
One of the most controversial issues is the guidelines for physicians who assist suicide.
“The availability and the sanction of physician-assisted suicide would forever change the relationship between any suicidal person and his helpers. It would alter the family and friends’ reactions to the suicidal person as well as the nature of any psychotherapy that he might undertake.” (Guglielmo, 45)
As a huge contra argument of assisted suicide we should mention the substantial breakthroughs in the areas of treating pain and other distressing symptoms of illness and injury. (Smith, 31)
People have much more chances not to die in agony nowadays and there is a public opinion that some medical professionals simply don’t do a good enough job of it. Unfortunately the majority of the patients and their families are insufficiently educated about the medical opportunities that may be provided.
There is another aspect that I would like to bring in order to demonstrate the contra argument of assisted suicide. There is a perception that assisting suicide means being compassionate to the person with a terminal illness. But what about the life value, future prospects, etc?
Some researches insist that assisted suicide is not an answer. We should not pay our attention to this issue; on the contrary we should focus on “improving care and suicide prevention to help the suicidal ill and disabled overcome the desire to end their lives”. (Gorsuch, 599)
Life is basic good and a sacred thing. The major principle of life as a sacred thing is that people should to remain alive always and under all circumstances. The value of human life is immeasurable. There are certain groups of people like members of religious orders and hospice organizations that are able to provide loving care to persons who exist only physically.
Also, there is such a common thing as ethics of suicide prevention and it should be discussed here as well. There are many reasons for preventing suicide and in general public opinion, bystanders are morally obliged to prevent a suicide from realizing his intentions. So, from this point of view, how should a doctor that assists suicide be perceived by society?
The arguments that are justifying “the coercive prevention of the suicide could be grouped into three categories: psychological, epistemological, and ethical arguments.” (Donelly, 196)
Besides other aspects, there is also an issue of legal liability dilemma for the person involved in assisting suicide, it’s a very controversial issue. According to Novak, “A physician who enables the act of self-killing to be done runs the risk of a relatively mild legal penalty or, in some jurisdictions, no legal penalty at at all. But a physician who kills a patient at the patient’s request, even for reasons of mercy, runs the risk of being prosecuted for murder or manslaughter”.

October 23, 2014 |Free Essay Sample Papers|Tags: Assisted Suicide


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