Biomedical ethics

Ethical Issues in Physician-Assisted Suicide

Physician-assisted suicide is referred to by some quarters as assisted dying; it is done by the doctor or health personnel prescribing drugs that induce suicide. As a relatively new concept in the medical cycles, it has generated serious ethical issues that need to be addressed. (Eberhadie, 1992). This article will focus on the case of the State of Oregon’s law on physician-assisted dying.

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Oregon legalized physician-assisted suicide in 1994. It was passed via an act known as “Death with Dignity.”This was as a result of a referendum that had taken place in the same year. Those who voted for the act were 51%, while those who did not were 49%. This minute difference showed how contentious the law was. In fact, no sooner had the law been passed than a court injunction was passed, preventing its promulgation until a legal issue got addressed. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals did away with the junction in 1997. (Manuel, 2002)

Issues in physician-assisted dying include aspects like, is it a medical purpose with legitimacy? Many people interviewed have described physician-assisted suicide as not conforming to the public interest. Some of the medical drugs used in physician-assisted drugs include marijuana. (Varelius, 2015).

While reviewing this ethical issue, other states need to weigh in considerations revolving around physician-assisted dying carefully. Based on the Oregon case, the practice has led to many conflicts and issues. It is thus not advisable for other states to legalize it.

From a global perspective, countries such as Luxembourg, Colombia, the Netherlands, and Belgium have legalized physician-assisted dying. However, a lot of issues are raised in the application of various legislations governing the process. Australia, like the United States, only has a few states legalizing the process.

In conclusion, physician-assisted dying (PAD) is a contentious issue that raises many ethical questions. These should be addressed succinctly to arrive at a common ground.




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