Physician Assisted Suicide

Jan 31, 2016
by: MariaS
Legalizing Death

The issue of physician assisted suicide (PAS) is more applicable to us than we would like to think. It can affect anyone who is in the unfortunate place of facing a terrible disease or accident, and with this, it also impacts family and friends. This issue revolves around allowing a doctor to prescribe lethal doses of medicine, or to provide the information that assists in death. The discussion of physician assisted suicide matters to me as a friend of mine lost a parent to prescribed overdoses of pain medication when the patient was not in great pain but was battling cancer, and the family did not fully understand the situation.

Many people see PAS as a means to lessen the pain of the terminally ill and those who face more struggle than can be asked of others. Those in favor of it express that assisted death brings a dignified death, which makes it easier for those involved, particularly family members who have to see their loved ones live in pain. This is expressed in a CNN article ( written by Brittany Maynard, who faced cancer. She was prescribed the medicine to bring death and felt security with it. She expressed that PAS would allow her to die the way she should: when she is ready and with her family. Her writing articulated that she hoped people can choose when life should end as it offers a safety and reassurance in hard times.

However, many argue that legalizing physician assisted suicide can be very harmful, particularly for the poor. This is the case because many insurances, including Obamacare, only will cover the medicine to impose death, and not the more expensive procedures that people need to allow life. For example, many impoverished are faced with accepting death simply because companies see the benefit of providing the cheaper end of life, instead of pushing for something that could bring full recovery. This was expressed in a Time article ( Additionally, those opposing PAS argue that people's understanding or intentions can be obscured. For example, those who are in great suffering may not be able to speak for themselves in these cases, and decisions may be forced on others who must legally decide but who may not be connected with the person or situation. Intentions can be uninformed or ill-meant, and this can be disastrous for those who face life or death, as those making the call could have other reasons for their actions.

The issue of physician assisted suicide is a complicated one as few of us can comprehend the pain that many go through when they face death. However, PAS can bring the end of life for those who could have recovered, as estimated lifespans have proven incorrect at many times. PAS can force decisions on people who should not be speaking for those near death. It can harm many as companies see profit in death.

Because of this, I see that PAS should not become widespread, as it introduces factors and situations that kill when a recovered life or peaceful acceptance could occur. However, as excessive pain should not be demanded, I see that people should be able to refuse treatments, such as artificial life support. We cannot force people to endure more than they can, but we should not allow people to be pressured towards death if a full life is possible. If we do, many can be taken advantage of, particularly if the patient cannot express their wishes.

Annotate the article analysing some of the limits of physician assisted suicide with me using

Comments Article Comments/Annotations

lovebugleen's picture
Submitted by lovebugleen on Mon, 2016-02-08 01:55.

Hey, the link you posted wouldn't let me sign in through to annotate, so I'll leave my comments below.

-The article suggests that whenever life care is available for terminally-ill patients, it should be given as opposed to death catalysts. However, to play devil's advocate, it could be more of an efficient use of resources if that life care was given to another patient whose odds of surviving are greater.

-The article also suggests expanding healthcare regimen, but this is easier said than done; This would have to mean necessary cuts to other funding such as military, education, social security, etc. This would also mean allowing the government to dictate more of our lives, as our health would essentially be decided by government health care policies. Sometimes it's important to see the realistic side of things as well.

Anyway, I'm just playing devil's advocate here to hopefully help you see beyond your thought process. Hope you found it useful! Great topic by the way.