Physician Assisted Suicide: Making Doctors Become Killers

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In recent news, the talk of health care has become a big topic. One of the issues in the limelight is physician-assisted suicide. Physician-assisted suicide is the physician prescribing a pill that the patient takes to induce death. Usually, they are anticipated to die within the next six months. What kind of world do we live in where people believe that it is ethically okay to kill someone? Society wonders why physicians have started to care less about their patients. It is because things like this that go strictly against what doctors are supposed to do; heal the sick and help improve the health of the patients. Physician-assisted suicide should stay illegal because it is against the Hippocratic Oath, corrupts the practice of medicine, taints our culture and is immoral since it taking life away.

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Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) should not become legal because it is against the Hippocratic Oath that physicians swear when they graduate Medical School. Hippocrates, the Father of Western Medicine, thousands of years ago, founded the Hippocratic Oath. The reason that doctors still take this oath is because it is the ideal conduct for a physician, even in modern society. It is an oath that states that they will practice medicine justly and ethically. However, doctors are starting to sway away from following this vow. For example, the oath states, “I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy” but obviously, some doctors perform abortions (Tyson). The Hippocratic Oath also states, “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it nor will I make a suggestion to this effect”(Tyson).

Today, people are arguing that physician-assisted suicide should be legal even though it violates the oath. Violating the Hippocratic Oath is wrong since it defines what a doctor should and should not do. This oath is a guide to being a good doctor; by not following it doctors are not only going against the ethics of a physician but also becoming a bad doctor. If doctors are going to violate this oath, why bother taking it? Louis Lasagna, the Academic Dean of the school of Medicine at Tufts University, has concerns regarding the archaic themes in the Hippocratic oath. Lasagna even published a new version that some deem to be against the themes of the original. There are more things that the original version has right than wrong. Also, take into consideration the oath was developed thousands of years ago. There are things that have changed but the point of the oath is to help, protect and preserve life. Physician-assisted suicide is not only harming the patient but also going further and killing the patient.

By allowing physician-assisted suicide to become legal in the United States it is contributing to the corruption of medicine. According to the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, medicine has already started to become corrupt. Chattopadhyay stated that “institutionalized potential corruption” has become a problem in medicine. It is when physicians are required admit a fixed number of patients even if they are not needed. This demonstrates that patients are there so the hospital makes money. From this, it can be inferred that patients are treated at hospitals versus being cured because curing would mean patients would not come back. This would cause the hospital and physicians to not make money. Physician-assisted suicide is directly adding to the corruption of medicine because the tools that are supposed to be used for healing are now used for killing. Besides that, it also makes some doctors abuse this option. In Oregon where it is legal, “a patient was told by his doctor, ‘you have ALS [Lou Gehrig’s disease]…this is awful…you should consider PAS.’ The patient was devastated”(Physician Assisted Suicide). Doctors can easily persuade a patient into wanting physician-assisted suicide, which is terrible. Instead of having the patient decide for their self, they can be guilted into it. People should “demand that physicians learn how to effectively kill pain, not effectively kill patients” since they are healers (Physician Assisted Suicide).

The U.S.’s culture has become tainted due to physicians not putting enough effort into the care of their charges. Physician-assisted suicide allows a route that may be taken by those who wish to end the course of treatment early. Creating the ability to die on command may take the fight out of those who could have survived otherwise. If the patient suffers from depression due perceived lack of effectiveness, they may choose to cease treatment prematurely. For example, a cancer patient may observe some of the negative side effects of chemotherapy and choose PAS before the treatment is complete. Due to the radical physical effects of treatment, they may have a negative outlook, and choose PAS because they believe that their life is no longer worth living. The Family Research Council offers words of encouragement when they state “every life holds promise” and that “there is no such thing as a life not worth living” (Saunders & Fragoso).

Advocates of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) like to argue that they are doing it because they want to preserve the quality of life. Pope John Paul II spoke about physician-assisted suicide when he said that it “always gravely exploit[s] the suffering and desperate, extinguishing life in the name of the ‘quality of life’ itself”. Advocates against the legalization of physician-assisted suicide point out that it is immoral, and against their religion due to commandments that disallow suicide. Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher, put it simply as “suicide is not abominable because God prohibits it; God prohibits it because it is abominable”. The U.S has many different religions, covering many different codes of ethics, and morals. One thing most of these religions have in common is their abhorrence of suicide. This large population with a strong moral compass lead the charge in the preservation of life. Supporters for PAS say the conversation should be held between the doctor and patient, not the government. Although the government would have to be involved in some sort of regulation to make sure it is safely carried out through the U.S. This would require a majority of the nation to vote pro-PAS though. However, the people actually involved in this process should get a say. Physicians have their own code of ethics. Since most physicians are pro-life it makes them anti-physician assistant suicide.

The relationship between the doctor and the patient is one of the strongest partnerships in the professional world. The relationship is vital to the effectiveness of the treatment because having a bad relationship between the doctor and patient can lead to distrust. If there is a lack of trust between the two, then the doctor will not be able to accurately care for the patient and the patient will never tell the doctor what is truly wrong. One thing physician-assisted suicide will do is ruin this doctor-patient relationship. It does so by making it easy for both the doctor and patient to give up hope. Sometimes physicians will do what is easiest but this does not mean it is right. If a patient is really in critical condition and can choose between cancer treatment, and physician-assisted suicide, which choice requires less work for the two of them?

By having physician-assisted suicide made legal it would allow the physician to not have a commitment to the preservation of his or her patient's life since the physician is allowed to help kill them. This can cause problems because it can also lead to distrust of the doctor by the patient since the doctor is not obligated to keep the patient alive. The patient could believe the doctor is doing the bare minimum or not enough due to the doctor having the option of providing physician-assisted suicide. On the other hand, the patient could easily be discouraged from going through treatment as that would be a long and difficult trial, versus the relatively quick physician-assisted suicide. The physician would try to tell them not to or give them other choices but, since physician-assisted suicide is legal it “sends the message, ‘If you can’t deal with your pain or problems, go ahead and kill yourself. The state will even pay for it’” (Physician Assisted Suicide). This is not the kind of message the healthcare system should be sending to its patients.

People that support PAS argue that it allows people to not experience the pain before death. According to the American Life League, the people that request PAS do not request it because of pain; they request it because they fear to be a burden. However, with today's medicine “pain management assure[s] that ALL pain can be managed by using commonly available medications”(Physician Assisted Suicide). According to supporters of the legalization of PAS, people should be compassionate for the sick. By being compassionate for the sick it justifies the patient killing himself or herself. However, if that is true, then “compassion for the poor justifies robbing banks to redistribute wealth. True compassion means finding ways to ease suffering and provide care for each person, while maintaining the individual's life and dignity"(Saunders & Fragoso). The people that request physician-assisted suicide are usually diagnosed with a terminal disease and are in a state of misery because of the finality of the diagnosis. Although it is easy to critique because I am not in the same position “misery gives no right to any man to take his own life”(Kant). Misery and pain do not give patients the right to die.

The problem with making Physician Assisted suicide legal is that it becomes a slippery slope. Some have no problem with PAS, but from PAS can come things worse. For example, in Europe where most countries have legalized it, the Netherlands noted “at first, [it] was permitted only for the terminally ill who requested it, but then it was permitted for the chronically ill, for those whose suffering was psychological, and for incompetent patients, including children” (Benatar). It progressively gets worse and worse because people will make the argument “well if this is legal then so should this” and it becomes an endless cycle which is what is happening in some countries in Europe (Bentar). They are now facing difficult situations and conflicts from making this one act legal. Eventually, things once considered moral or for the better of society will make things that are immoral or wrong legal. Supporters justify it since these people feel like a burden. If this is the case what is to stop people from allowing the disabled, impaired, or mentally ill to kill themselves since they could feel as a burden on society?

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The legalization of Physician Assisted Suicide would be a blow to human life and the U.S.’s downfall from our ethics and morals. Although we have rights and control over our own body this does not mean the U.S. should support a bill that allows the killing of oneself through a physician. The healthcare in the U.S. is bad enough; this would only make things worse. The U.S. should be focusing on how to help these individuals instead of trying to pass a bill to help kill them. Physician Assisted Suicide goes against the foundation of medicine, U.S. morals, and life. “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government” (Thomas Jefferson). No person should have to dream of a bill that permits them to kill themselves. They should be dreaming of being helped because the U.S. has the greatest advancements and knowledge of medicine in the whole world.

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Physician Assisted Suicide: Making Doctors Become Killers. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from
“Physician Assisted Suicide: Making Doctors Become Killers.” GradesFixer, 12 Mar. 2019,
Physician Assisted Suicide: Making Doctors Become Killers. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 Sept. 2023].
Physician Assisted Suicide: Making Doctors Become Killers [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Mar 12 [cited 2023 Sept 28]. Available from:
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