Provider Assisted Suicide
Provider Assisted Suicide (PAS) is a medical procedure that is based on supported suicide from medical personnel, majorly a physician. The doctor offers a lethal prescription to a patient who consents into committing suicide without any form of coercion. The medication offered should lessen the pain and length that the individual takes before the demise, up to five minutes for the initial unconsciousness and at most thirty minutes before death sets in. PAS has effected mixed reactions within the medical fraternity as well as within the populace sparking a tremendous amount of debate within the modern society (Kopelman & Ville, 2001). Suicide within the medieval era was widely accepted and philosophized by academic scholars yet this was reversed with the advent of the Christian doctrine in the world. This latter school of thought termed life as a sacred element, not to be invalidated by own will. With the rise of the contemporary society, suicide has been transformed into an individual decision with most nations embracing the idea but resolute against assisted suicide.
Moral arguments against PAS initially assert the fact that the procedure breaches therapeutic ethics as stipulated by the Hippocratic Oath that disallows medical practitioners from offering lethal prescriptions to a consenting individual. The State of Oregon has legalized PAS with sixty percent of medical professions supporting the procedure but only in situations that are assessed as being severe. Globally, a majority of medical practitioners has supported PAS yet a minority has resisted the practice by citing the unethical aspect related to the mentioned pledge. Secondly, PAS challenges the patient-physician relationship with regard to life preservation and life discontinuity. Patients seek medical assistance in a bid to ensure life’s continuity and legalizing the act leads to an undermining of the trust cultivated within the relationship (Kopelman, & Ville, 2001). Thirdly, most religious beliefs accord the power to life and death to God and therefore a human intervention on the latter would result into interference on the same. A cure may be discovered before natural death occurs in and this would result into a precise case of killing. With the limited nature of human ability regarding futuristic events, an individual should be supported until a natural demise occurs.
Fourthly, the precedence set by PAS would hold the foundation for other modes of permitted killings. Although it is currently practiced on individuals suffering from acute pain, personal consent acts as the decisive component in the equation. Therefore, with the permission granted to such individuals, other lobby groups would easily formulate their cases on such consent for the legalization of PAS on other forms of illnesses given that an individual consents to it without any form of coercion. Fifth, moral questions assess a situation on both individual autonomy as well as the societal perspectives before any permission may be granted (Kopelman, & Ville, 2001). An individual is surrounded by family, relatives and friends who are very significantly affected by the decision. By the simple fact that a child wants to play with fire even when the parent has made it clear about the danger does not coerce the parent into letting the child play with fire. The decision having such weights leads to a preference towards natural death as close individuals peg on the hope of life continuity.
Arguments favoring the practice first argue that banning such a procedure is a violation of the personal freedom right. Regardless of other interested individuals, a personal perspective holds supreme above the rest. Secondly, a medical practitioner is mandated into offering the best of services to the clients in each visit and once pain or suffering is determined as being incurable, then the best option would remain as assisted voluntary suicide (Kopelman, & Ville, 2001). Thirdly, legalizing the process would infuse an element of care into the legal processes by an indication that personal views are actually treated as being significant within a nation. Having reviewed both sides of the argument, my moral compass would fall on the prohibition of PAS as the benefits offered by the pro-PAS side are outweighed by the costs or demerits provided by the other group concerning the procedure.
Kopelman, L. M., & Ville, K. A. (2001). Physician-assisted suicide: what are the issues? New York, NY: Springer.