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Assisted Suicide

Should patients with terminally-ill diseases be able to commit physician-assisted suicide?

Hallie Comfort

on 16 May 2010

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Transcript of Assisted Suicide

Assisted Suicide in
the United States Should terminally-ill patients
have the choice to end their lives
with physician assisted suicide(PAS)? History of the Issue First, I will do no harm.
I will not give a lethal
drug to anyone if I am asked,
nor will I advise such a plan. Currently Permits PAS:
Washington State Has no Statuses on
Criminalizing PAS:
North Carolina
Wyoming Pros:
Ends Suffering
Our Right to Die
Will lower health care costs
Vital Organs can be saved
We are trying to be God
Degrades value of life
Doctor's Hippocratic Oath
Miracles happen
Factors Doctors should consider:
Patient's motive and degreee of suffering
Psychosocial support
Patient's degree of patient understanding Does PAS = Euthanasia?
No, because the physician only provides the means of death, while the patient actually administers the lethal drug. 50% of physicians think PAS is ethically justifiable in certain cases. In 2009, 95 doses of lethal medications were perscribed to terminally-ill Oregon patients. Of those:
53 administered the medications
30 died of their illness
12 were still alive
It is estimated that there are 19.3 DWDA deaths/10,000 total In 1995,the US Supreme court investigated Oregon's PAS law to decide if it were constitutional. The case was concerened more with whether federal or state gov't should control dangerous drugs than the ethnical correctness. In 1997, Orgegon passed the
"Death With Dignity Act" which
allowed terminally-ill patients
to commit PAS. In 1997, the US Supreme court ruled that Americans do not have the constitutional right to PAS. In 2006, the US Supreme court
decided that PAS cases should
be up to the state. In 2008, Washington State
passed its own "Death with
Dignity Act" which allowed
patients with six months or
less to live to commit PAS. Bibliography:
www.nytimes.com/2010/01/01/us/01suicide.html Recent News January 2010:

The Montana Supreme Court ruled that
state law protects physicians in PAS
cases.They decided that patients have
the right to die

By avoiding the question of constitutional
rights, the case was able to stay in the
Montana Legislature.

Since Oregon and Washington State adopted
their DWDA laws through state-wide
referendums, Montana is the first state to
have it's highest court decide on PAS. February 2010:

A man who had been considered a
vegetable for the last 5 years,
has started to show signs of thought
or communication.

This finding could raise ethical
questions about whether to consult
severly disabled patients on their

It also showed physicians how limited
their bedside tests for diagnosing a
patient's mental state. Jack Kevorkian "dying is not a crime" served eight of a 10-25 year
sentence for second-degree murder 1999-2007
Full transcript