Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

It seems that your main topic is a discussion of Physician-Assisted Suicide. You do not need to include as much information about active and passive euthanasia. You might make a brief statement initially about how PAS is different from active and passive euthanasia. But then focus on the topic of PAS.

Please remember to identify and discuss the relevant ethical theories and bioethical principles for the pro and the con arguments for PAS. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment


Include the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that determined if PAS is a constitutionally protected right across thew U.S and also identified what level of government has the authority to determine if PAS is legal or illegal. This is a different Supreme Court ruling from the one that determined that the right to discontinue or refuse treatment (passive euthanasia) is a constitutionally protected right across all states in the U.S., so be sure to differentiate these two cases and the rulings. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

Also, the official positions of the AMA and the ANA are relevant to the discussion.

In this assignment you will select a current medical ethics issue to research and write about for your Research

paper due week 8. Give this some thought, this will be the topic you will be using for the outline, rough draft, and

final term paper assignments. Make sure you can find articles for support of your topic. Read the term paper

requirements before you select your medical ethics issue topic to insure it is want you want to research.

Due Dates

Week 2: Medical Ethics Term Paper topic submitted

Week 4: Outline submitted

Week 6: Rough draft submitted

Week 10: Final paper submitted

Term Paper Requirements:

 Discuss the technical aspects of your topic in general terms.

 Discuss the public policy debates relevant to the topic you choose. This section should cover arguments that are in favor of and opposed to the use of the techniques or products. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

 Express your personal opinion regarding the importance of the topic and the validity of the pro and con arguments.

 It is expected that you have the following:

o A title page

o The body of the paper: 4-6 pages of text, double-spaced, 12 point font with clear and understandable language with no grammar or spelling errors. Provide adequate justification that supports your response with at least three appropriate references using textbooks, websites, and articles are required.

o Subheadings (technical aspect, public policy, and personal opinion/conclusion.)

o Appropriate in-text citations throughout paper

o A reference page with only the sources that you used in the body of the paper. Sources should be less than 5 years old unless there has not been recent research available. At least one reference must be a peer-reviewed article from a profession journal. Do not use Wikipedia or encyclopedia as they are not considered a reliable academic source to use. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

o Appropriate formatting as per APA 6th ed. website:

Grading (300 possible points total)

Points Possible

Topic Submission 30

Outline 60

Rough Draft 90

Final Paper (see detailed rubric below)



Final Paper Rubric

Meets Expectations 80-100%

Approaches Expectations 60-79%

Does Not Meet Expectations 0-59%

Content 50%

Paper demonstrates that the author fully understands and has applied course concepts. Paper includes several high- quality, thought- provoking ideas. Topic is focused narrowly enough for the scope of the assignment. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

Paper does not demonstrate that the author fully understands and has applied course concepts. Paper includes few, if any, thought-provoking ideas or unique insights to the discussion. Topic is not focused narrowly enough for the scope of the assignment.

The paper indicates no understanding of the concepts in the course. The paper lacks any exploration of the subject by the author. The topic is unclear or too broad for the scope of the assignment.

Organization/ Cohesiveness 20%

Connections among subtopics and the thesis/topic are clear without being repetitive or redundant. Concluding remarks demonstrate analysis and synthesis of ideas. Writing and integration of source materials is eloquent and skillful. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

Connections among subtopics are missing or forced. Conclusion is unclear or disconnected from the topic. Writing and integration of source materials is awkward or confusing.

Connections among subtopics are missing. Subtopics are not presented. Conclusion is missing or disconnected from the topic. Writing lacks skill. Sources are not present.

Supporting Evidence/Research 20%

Three or more appropriate sources are completely and eloquently integrated throughout the paper. At least one source is from credible, scholarly, peer- reviewed materials. Detailed, meaningful quotations and paraphrases aptly and accurately support the topic.

Fewer than three appropriate sources are used. At least one source is from credible, scholarly, peer- reviewed materials. Quotations and paraphrases are lacking or do not support several subtopics. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

Sources are missing. Paper lacks quotations and paraphrases.

Mechanics and APA 10%

The assignment consistently follows current APA format and is free from errors in formatting, citation, and references. No grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors. All sources are cited and referenced correctly.

The assignment does not follow current APA format and/or has many grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors. Many sources are cited and referenced incorrectly, or citations and references are missing where needed.

No attempt to follow APA format is indicated. Sources are not used and/or there is no reference page. Mechanical errors significantly interfere with the readability of the paper. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

Physician-Assisted Suicide

With physician-assisted suicide, a medical practitioner prescribes a deadly drug which the patient administers him/herself. Activists in America have historically advocated both physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia because the two almost have the same meaning. By definition, euthanasia is derived from two ancient Greek words: eu, which means “good,” and Thanatos, which means “death.” Meaning the act of committing suicide with the aid of a physician. (WCU, 2018) Euthanasia breaks down into passive and active: active euthanasia is defined as administering a lethal dose to an individual suffering from a terminal illness. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment. Whereas, passive euthanasia is not terminating the individual’s life instantly however it is shortening the lifespan by withholding the medications used to keep this person alive or prolonging their lifespan. (WCU,2018) The arguments for euthanasia are equal arguments for physician-assisted suicide. According to Neil Gorsuch, some contemporary activists criticize the movement for their dishonesty about where its argument lead. He further claimed that legal theorists and Professor Richard Epstein have charged the people who advocate assisted suicide because of their failure to endorse the legalization of euthanasia (Battin, 2015). Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

However, in both assisted suicide and euthanasia, those who are able to self-administer the deadly drugs should be offered the chance for hastened death. Medical practitioners are not allowed to administer the drug through lethal injection. In such a case, the doctor will have violated the professional laws and ethics and this will result in judgment. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

Physician-assisted suicide has been made legal in the following four countries: Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Netherlands has an experience of approximately 30 years and during all that time, they have been unable to control the behavior. Based on surveys, doctors intentionally administer lethal injections without the consent of the patients (Pence, 2017). No one has been able to report such incidences to the authority. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

In 2015, the District of Columbia and other 18 state legislatures are considering whether to legalize physician-assisted suicide. However, legalizing the act will have a huge negative impact on society. This is because of the following reasons: it will destroy the doctor-patient relationship and corrupt the practice of medicine, it will betray human dignity and equality, it will endanger the vulnerable group and the weak, and lastly, it will compromise the family. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

After the legalization of physician-assisted suicide by Oregon in 1977, an approximate of 700 people have terminated their lives with prescribed medication (Sulmasy & Mueller, 2017). An example of these people is Brittany Maynard who took his life at the age of 19 because he suffered from an incurable brain tumor. There are people who have been supporting the act while others are completely against it. The advocates believe that people should be given the right to die if they choose to do so while the opponents argue that physician-assisted suicide devalues human life. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

Reasons for and against Physician-Assisted Suicide

The debate over the legality and morality of physician-assisted suicide has been in progress for quite some time. The discussions have lasted for hundreds of years and there are no signs of ending. The opponents of physician assisted suicide argue that people should never have a reason to seek physician-assisted suicide due to the fact that there is a model for quality end-of-life care. These healthcare services are available through palliative and hospice care programs. Therefore, people should aim at improving access to hospice care rather than legalizing physician-assisted suicide. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

In the United States of America, there are more than 4000 hospice agencies but due to the rigidity of the Medicare Hospice Benefit and also funding restrictions, a lot of people in the country cannot access them. The patients are required by the Medicare Hospice Benefit to have a life expectancy of utmost six months. The counter-argument for this is that regardless of the improved access to quality end-of-life care, patients will still suffer from untreatable and persistent illnesses. In Oregon, 93% of the patients who opted for physician-assisted suicide was on hospice. The implication of this is that palliative and hospice care are not sufficient to deal with severe suffering. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

Secondly, in the opinion of Bouvia v. Superior Court (CA), it was determined that the right to die is an essential part of people’s right to control their own lives and destinies provided the rights of others are not affected. This is referred to as patient autonomy. Since patient-assisted suicide is not a completely autonomous act, the assistance of another person is required. Opponents argue that the act of intentionally terminating patients’ lives threaten society by devaluing human life. The society should, therefore, preserve the sanctity of life. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

The third argument is that the legalization of physician-assisted suicide will lead to an increase in euthanasia. In other words, physician assisted suicide is a slippery slope towards euthanasia (mercy killing) (Pormeister, Finley, & Rohack, 2017). People’s lives will be terminated without their consent provided they are suffering. They include individuals who are physically handicapped, people with mental illness, homeless, elderly, and demented. The above individuals are considered useless in society. The counter-argument is that the slippery slope should never be allowed to happen. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

Violation of the Hippocratic Oath is another reason against physician-assisted suicide. According to the Hippocratic Oath, the obligation of a physician is primum non nocere, which means “first, do no harm.” physician assisted suicide, therefore, contradicts the oath because intentional killing is considered as a harm. The counter-argument of this is that the Hippocratic Oath should be interpreted and modified depending on the needs of patients. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

In addition, opponents argue that there are morally ethical and legal alternatives to assisted death. Patients may decide not to undergo treatment and this increases their chance of death. The counter-argument is that many people do not depend on life-sustaining measures to still suffer and live (Pires, 2018). Withholding treatment will prolong the patient’s suffering rather than causing death. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

My Opinion

Based on the above arguments, physician-assisted suicide is not good and should be avoided. This is because terminating patients’ lives does not end suffering but extends the suffering to other people with the same problems. They fear that they will also be considered worthless and experience the same. People who have been assisted to die have no freedom of choice. Legalizing suicide only undermines the willingness of medical practitioners and the society to learn how to address the problems of patients and show real compassion. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

In countries were suicide is permitted, patients request the lethal drugs not because of the pain they are going through but because of concerns such as “becoming a burden on others” and “loss of dignity.” These attitudes are encouraged by the law. Healthcare facilities should, therefore, provide services to patients that will assure them that they are important and have dignity. They should discourage the feeling of being a burden within them. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

In addition, patients in extreme duress tend to prefer death to life. However, allowing doctors to participate in assisting suicide would lead to more harm than benefits. Physician-assisted suicide is against the roles and responsibilities of a physician as a healer. This would be impossible or difficult to control and would lead to serious societal risks. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

Legalizing physician-assisted suicide will have a number of profoundly detrimental effects. It reduces the protection offered to people’s lives. It also encourages the killing of people who do not genuinely accept to be killed. In other words, it leads to an increase in euthanasia. Lastly, doctors should not have the right to determine who should live and who should die. Socrates believed that suicide is morally wrong. This is a slope where they assume the position of God. As humans, we have no power over other people’s lives. God is the giver of life and He should be the same being to take it away. It is a sin to terminate the life of patients regardless of what they are experiencing in life. (WCU, 2018) Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment


In conclusion, physician-assisted suicide is the tendency of doctors to prescribe deadly drugs for patients with serious terminal diseases. Unlike euthanasia, physician assisted suicide allows the patients to administer the drugs themselves. However, this has been debated over time. Some people are completely against it while others are in full support of it. The proponents believe that physician-assisted suicide is a sign of mercy while opponents argue that human life is valuable and should be respected. I believe that no one has the right to decide who should live and who should not because God is in control of people’s lives. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment


Battin, M. P. (2015). Physician-Assisted Suicide: Safe, Legal, Rare?. In Physician-Assisted Suicide (pp. 63-72). Routledge.

Pence, G. (2017). Medical ethics: Accounts of Ground-Breaking Cases (8th ed.). Hill: Boston McGraw.

Pires, S. (2018). Debate on Physician Assisted Suicide.

Pormeister, K., Finley, M., & Rohack, J. J. (2017). Physician-Assisted Suicide as a Means of Mercy: A Comparative Analysis of the Possible Legal Implications in Europe and the United States. Va. J. Soc. Pol'y & L., 24, 1. Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment

Sulmasy, L. S., & Mueller, P. S. (2017). Ethics and the legalization of physician-assisted suicide: an American College of Physicians position paper. Annals of internal medicine, 167(8), 576-578.

West Coast University. (2018). retrieved from https// Physician Assisted Suicide Assignment