Pro Assisted Suicide Patient Consent Argument
Assisted suicide as the name suggests is defined by the practice where a patient reaches the decision to undertake suicide and therefore seeks medical aid towards realizing the same. As opposed to suicide that is legally permitted, assisted suicide still faces various disputes with part of the debaters advocating for its practice whereas the rest counter the practice. Consent serves as the deterministic element in such a resolution and therefore necessitating observance by all individuals. Mclean points out that approval of death in ailment instances does not have to be verbalized by the patient but that it may also be implied in nature (108). This is based on the view that fatally ill individuals who reject sustaining medication within the prescribed periods are in actuality preferring death in their situations. The patients are usually aware of the fact that lack of medication utilization leads to death acceleration and therefore executing the refusal process is an implication of suicide. Implied will therefore just like verbal consent stand as equals to instances of drafting business agreements.
Medical practitioners are lawfully permitted in withdrawing such treatments from patients who decline treatment in all States and therefore obligating personal suicide upon themselves (Bernat 202). This is allowed by the fact that revised edicts have legitimized suicide practices so long as the person has offered verbal or non-verbal consent to the issue. Note that therefore, autonomy serves as the chief significant aspect in legal issues with an individual’s resolve considered as superior to a doctor’s viewpoint or family views. Implications form the presented case therefore inference that death serves a secondary element in suicide instances with the primary being self-autonomy. Rejecting assisted suicide is therefore baseless as an individual offers approval to a medical practitioner for lethal prescriptions. Within the same perspective, assisted death reflects a consented resolution towards suicide with an additional clause of professional aid with the arrangement.
The chief rationale towards this approach is to attain a painless demise as opposed to individual suicide approaches that suffer ignorance and therefore the agony effected by the processes. Autonomy within such decision in averting agony is believed to be a positive impetus towards upholding human self-esteem as an individual is accorded the ability to make an essential judgment in life’s various facets like wedding, schooling, child adoption, divorce, and conception amongst others (Gorsuch 135). Note that with the exclusion of autonomy, self-esteem is compromised and therefore the ability to act as free humans should. It would actually create a modern from of slavery, only in the given instance it is a psychological one as opposed to the physical instance.
Other than the autonomy factor, physicians are mandated by their job description towards offering distress alleviation to fatally inclined patients. This task is triggered upon the realization that no form of treatment exists for the given ailment and that no prevention tactics exist towards enhancing the patient’s life. Mostly, such instances are accompanied by distress from the ailment or being bedridden and therefore subjected to body sores and discomfort. Medical practitioners are required to manage the pain and discomfort evidenced by such patients (Cassel 1248). However, pain management within abstract terms is quite achievable yet realistically it is not adequately accomplished within pragmatic instances. For instance, cancer patients have evidenced such a pattern with the pain according a level of acceleration with the progression of the ailment. In fact, it as the intensity rises, medication employed within the initial management phases becomes obsolete within the advanced phase as it becomes ineffectual in pain handling.
In extreme instances, the pain attains a full-blown phase medication becomes sterile to its functioning and therefore acting as an inhibitor for the doctors realization towards the mandated role. It is therefore evident that at such stages only death constitutes to a permanent and effectual approach towards pain easing (Cassel 1250). In actuality, permanent pain discontinuation in all the progressive stages is effectually realized with the suicide approach. Therefore, as medical practitioners refrain from such assistance particularly within the preceding illustration it leads to an ethical contravention of the given mandate.
It is also noted that assisted suicide reflects both sympathetic and beneficent elements within the technique (Bernat 203). Actions are deemed louder highly notable than verbal expressions. The chief premise for any ill individual in utilizing a doctor’s services is primarily founded in the view that upon an analysis and the accorded prescriptions an individual is well able to achieve the desired state from the suffering. Note that this is true to all medical visits since all individuals abhor the discomfort, weakness, aches, and pain that accompany all forms of illnesses. In such a case, the physician serves the necessary anticipated solution being the alleviation of the given issues. It is true that before the suicide alternative medical practitioners employ the various technological advancements present to assist the patient in the recovery phase of handling of the fatally based patients. These controls identify a physician as a valuable individual within a given society.
However, a converse reflection is reflected upon the lack of desired results, as it literally appears that medical practitioners are no longer efficient within their delivery. Therefore, for a doctor who refuses to perform assisted suicide the situation is worsened as the patients interpret the actions as uncaring as the physician condones the situation (Cassel 1249). It is actually hard to see a suffering individual and ignore offering help especially towards loved ones. This is why many individuals resort to euthanasia towards pets as the affection element disallows watching the suffering animal without any form of interventions. It is true that a human life surpasses that of an animal and therefore the suffering attached to an individual bears a higher weight too. Assisted suicide therefore acts similarly as the euthanasia element to animals but better than the imposed one as an individual bears the chance to select the technique.
A majority of doctors agree to the standpoint that assisted suicide enhances the nonmaleficence element be lessening the harm factor first to the sufferer and secondly to the third parties. Nonmaleficence is a literal ethic that mandates doctors from effecting pain or any form of injury to a patient (Bernat 203). Doctors that do not align to this viewpoint believe that assisted suicide leads to a contravention of the given edict in medical practice that bars doctors from killing patients. The practice of assisted suicide is technically not taken as a killing instance since the patient directs the doctor into performing the actions. Note that, killing is majorly viewed as either an intrinsic decision accorded by a doctor without the knowledge of the patient to kill the patient or the involved consent of both the patient and the doctor in executing the death. The latter should not be confused with assisted suicide since although it involves both parties, only the patient accords the yearning towards the death option without any form of attachment from the doctor, as this would undermine the sovereignty element.
Additionally, if the patient involves the doctor in the decision process it may often be termed as a coercive action and therefore leading to a killing. Therefore, assisted suicide emanates form an un-coerced standpoint with the patient offering their need for suicide (Cassel 1250). As the doctor assists this cannot be termed as killing and therefore the initial viewpoint concerning killing stands as baseless. Understand that pain reception and exhibition is actually feared by most individual as opposed to death as the latter offers a serene ending to the anguish one has to bear in fatal instances. As a patient resorts to suicide, therefore it should not be viewed as a physicians fault as suffering patients tend to lean on the suicide alternative a majority of the instances.
Lastly, medical practice has employed technology in the production of life prolonging equipment like dialysis equipment, respiratory machines and resuscitating plates among other tools are utilized towards sustenance. Analyzing this occurrence from a different angle reveals that what medical practitioners actually achieve with these technologies is that they avert the occurrence of death within an individual for a given duration. Note that, death aversion leads to life extension but a level of uncertainty is attached to the approach on whether it offers full recovery to an individual. Technically, a heart machine sustains blood circulation within the body of a heart failure patient but this does not necessarily mean that lack of death will reinstate the patient’s organ. In actuality, unless the individual is presented with another heart the machine has to maintain the existence or the weak heart for another unknown period (Mclean 69). Assuming that the patient demised within the rescue instance it means that the individual would have ceased suffering within the initial instance.
Intervention however just averts the death with agony attached to the additional duration until death is achieved. Therefore, physicians in such instances bear a level of responsibility within the additional agony that the patient has to undergo because of the intervention technology. It is quite hypocritical for medical practitioners to glory in interventions that are successful yet refuse to take liability for unsuccessful instances. Therefore, if an unsuccessful intervention is achieved the physician has to share the decision accorded by the patient for equity purposes (Bernat 206). Note that patients are accorded to such interventions within their critical nature and therefore lack a directive in the situation other than that stemming from the medical practitioner then it is only reasonable for the patient to accord the post-decision. If it leans to suicide, then the doctor should aid with the same.
Conflicting standpoints to assisted suicide first believe that the practice contravenes the Hippocratic Oath that directly states that a doctor will refrain from administering fatal doses to a patient even when the suffer requires so. Additionally, the Oath also bars doctors offering ideas towards individuals bent on executing themselves (Mclean 37). This is actually a biased perspective as it attaches a higher weight to the Hippocratic Oath over other ethical practices as earlier identified within the beneficence and nonmaleficence elements. For equity, all ethical implications must be viewed with the same weights otherwise, it compromises the sense as to why medical practitioners should be trained to observe the latter two. Additionally, the present Hippocratic Oath has been revised severally to fit the present stipulations evidencing the perspective that the modifications were directed to the exclusion of noted inadequacies within the initial outline. Therefore, it can also be customized to encompass the suicide aspect.
Secondly, Edmund Pellegrino a renowned academic offers the viewpoint that autonomy is not applicable fatal patients since if death acts as the only resort then the freedom element is termed as an obsolete element whereas autonomy is also inapplicable since there lacks options from which the patient can settle on (Bernat 203). This certainly holds true but only serves as part of the precision within the premise. A patient is able to accord autonomy by choosing the time and manner in which the demise occurs as opposed to the natural instance that bears uncertainty in the two elements; this reflects freedom. Thirdly, assisted suicide is believed to impart distrust between patients and medical practitioners by compromising the goal of medicine as health and life restitution (Mitchell 45). In instances where restitution is not achievable, the doctor is mandated towards aiding the patient in subsisting with the situation until a natural demise occurs.
This argument is unjustified because when a doctor aids a patient in a suicide instance it does not mean that they instantly evolve into killers and then ascribe the same to all other patients. Again, medical records and decisions are retained as confidential and therefore, unless the information is leaked third parties do not have to know that an individual performs aided suicide. Additionally, once a practice is adopted within the society and the stigma attached to it overcome it becomes an acceptable element and therefore manageable to the medical practitioners who are conscious of their present viewpoints to the situation as it may have an adverse impact on their occupations.
Bernat, James. Ethical issues in neurology. Ambler: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008. Print.
Cassel, Christine. Geriatric medicine: an evidence-based approach. New York: Springer, 2003. Print.
Gorsuch, Neil. The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009. Print.
McLean, Sheila. Autonomy, consent and the law. Oxford: Taylor & Francis, 2009. Print.
Mitchell, John. Understanding assisted suicide: nine issues to consider. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007. Print.