Ethical Dilemmas in Physician Assisted Suicide
Assisted suicide is a controversial topic that has attracted a plethora of debates for the past several years. The debates revolve around whether terminally ill patients have a right to commit suicide with physicians' assistance. Most physicians also differ over assisted suicide, furthering the controversy about the topic as they are obligated by the International Code of Medical Ethics always to respect human life. On the other hand, physicians should respect the patient's autonomy and grant them their wishes (Lone Star College, 2018). This places physicians in an ethical dilemma as they have to choose between two rights as the biased decision would translate into breached ethical principles. The controversial topic is also defined based on legal and religious beliefs. Most countries worldwide also have different opinions about assisted suicide. Some countries have legalized it; others illegalized it, and other countries still debate whether to accept or reject it constitutionally. From the religious perspective, physician-assisted suicide is unanimously regarded to be morally wrong, thus being deemed unholy by most religions, including the Muslims and the Christians. Besides legal and religious perspectives, most people from contemporary society also have different views on the idea of physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. Some of them believe that physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients is morally acceptable, whereas others feel that the act is morally and ethically unacceptable while preferring palliative care instead. Following the controversy and varied attitudes that accompany the act of assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, the topic is worth a lot of research and debates to ascertain its validity both morally and culturally (Ababneh, 2018). I believe that every patient suffering from an incurable disease has a right to request and be granted the right of assisted suicide provided that the reasons behind the request are genuine and helpful. The paper is set forth to discuss the rationale as to why assisted suicide for terminally ill patients should be allowed.
Based on several researchers on assisted suicide requests, most terminally ill patients request assisted suicide due to various reasons. However, the highest percentage of patients who request physician-assisted suicide so as to end suffering (Wilson et al., 2000). Most terminally ill patients undergo a lot of pain and suffering, both mental and physical, due to chronic diseases that affect them. Even as most countries illegalize physician-assisted suicide, I believe that most patients who request it have genuine reasons to validate it. For instance, terminally ill patients go through severe suffering that makes them lose their independence, thus opting for assisted suicide. Despite most countries and members of contemporary society preferring palliative care over assisted suicide to improve patients' quality of life suffering from an incurable, most research has revealed that palliative care does not entirely reduce their suffering (Emanuel et al., 2000). Therefore, it is prudent for the countries across the globe and contemporary society to change their views about physician-assisted suicide as it reduces pain and suffering amongst terminally ill patients. I believe that granting the right to physician-assisted suicide to patients suffering from incurable illnesses will help in reducing suffering, especially to those who live in unbearable pain.
I would also concur with assisted suicide for the terminally ill because every patient has a right to decide which treatment mode to undertake. The autonomy and self-determination principles give every patient a privilege to determine when and how they should die. Therefore, I believe when a patient who is terminally ill seeks assisted suicide should be not be denied because the principles of autonomy grant patients the right to make decisions pertaining to their health and life (Jan 2018). When the quality of life of any individual becomes highly compromised and death remains the only viable way to relieve suffering and pain, it is justifiable to assist those patients in terminating their lives. It sounds illogical to continue treatment when the expected outcome remains to be death. Once patient suffering and pain seem to be prolonged and no cure for the illness, not the doctor or family member or the state or the government should disregard this patient's request for assisted suicide. Patients who know in their conscious that they will seek for assisted suicide, they are likely to say good bye thus creating a sense of preparedness and peace amongst family members and friends (Dykhuis, 2020). Furthermore, this preparedness is pivotal component for the family bereavement thus being able to control their emotions. Playing a role in the patient’s end-of-life care especially when the individual is experiencing pain can be disheartening and needs a lot resources; therefore, the decision to request for assisted suicide relieves burden to the care giver. Additionally, those care givers who observe their patient undergo s