East Los Angeles College Physician Assisted Suicide Discussion

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1. Eunthansia and PAS are very similar at a glance. Euthansia is basically the act of ending one’s own life where the physican executes the final action on the person’s life. Theres two different forms of euthansia, these being active and passive. Active euthansia involves the physcian deliberatlly doing something to end the life of the patient. Passive euthansia involves witholding care that would otherwise keep the patient alive. In Physician-assissted suicide, the physician is still present in this scenario but the difference is that the patient is making the final action but the physician is aware of the intent.

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I see points on both sides of the fence on this topic. However, from a personal standpoint I would have to be against the use of euthansia or physician assisted suicide. Some of this opposition is based off of faith-based reasoning.However, for the sake of this discussion ill try to support my opposition with ethical reasoning too. My thought on this is what is the primary intent for the enuthasian? Pain and suffering can be diverted with proper palliative care. My concern is someone wants to end their life because they feel they are a burden on others. Getting old and life becoming difficult in our later days is something we are all aware of. What message does it send to our youth if we feel its acceptable to end the lives of our elderly just because they need more care or they feel like they are burdening others? Shouldn’t every life be valued like they are more than old food that needs to be thrown out? “You see, physician-assisted suicide flips the default switch. The question the terminally ill hear, even if never spoken, is, You’ve become a burden to yourself and the rest of us. Why haven’t you gotten rid of yourself yet? A good utilitarian would think this a proper question—even a moral duty” (Sulmasy et al., 2016) I’d argue Martin Luther King Jr.’s You are somebody speech goes beyond the color of our skin. It applies to the value of each of our lives no matter the age or condition we are in.

2. The difference between euthanasia is when the physician not only prescribes the mean of ending ones’ life, but also carries it out. Physician assisted suicide is when what it exactly curtails. The physician assists in ending one’s life by prescribing the tool but not actually carrying it out. I am for either euthanasia or physician assisted suicide for those, “nonterminal patients with unbearable conditions.. and terminal patients who also want to die with physician’s help” (Pence, 2017).

As future nurse it is important to uphold the nursing code of ethics (Nurse.Org, 2021). Every person has a right to self determination and decision making not just in their plan of care but in life in general. No one is going to live another person’s life which consist of making decision consciously or unconsciously on a daily basis.

It is also important to advocate beneficence which, “acting for the good and welfare of others” ( Nurse.Org, 2021). If a patient makes the decision to end one’s life either through the two means above, healthcare professionals should not intervene as it would produce the opposite effect.

On this note, the topic of death has never been an easy topic to discuss. It may be easier to discuss such topics more openly if this discussion was started in an initial meeting with one’s provider. Not only having such conversation of advance directives or living wills with patient not only help devise a more comprehensive care plan, it can also decrease such fears of death. After all death is a part of a life cycle.

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