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The Physician Assisted Suicide (Pad) Debate

  • Date Submitted: 07/01/2011 05:46 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 39.6 
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Do you believe that doctor-assisted suicide should be legalized?

              The debate regarding the “rightness or wrongness” of assisted suicide is an age old one. The controversy was brought to the forefront of public awareness when Dr. Jack Kevorkian in a much publicized case was prosecuted and subsequently jailed for providing material support for a terminally ill patient who wanted to end his life.
              The majority of people in western societies frown upon suicide as “a permanent solution to a temporary problem”, a cop out, an incredibly selfish act, a cowardly response to some challenge, even a sin. Opinions on physician assisted suicide (PAD) however, seem to be more mixed and in most jurisdictions, doctors are forbidden by law to prescribe or otherwise make available, means by which patients under their care could voluntarily end their own life.
Opponents assert that the practice violates traditions which uphold the sanctity of human life. Humans, they contend, cannot be given the moral authority to end life since they do not possess the power to create it.
              Another argument posited by opponents of PAD regards the potential for abuse. Physicians, medical institutions and other stakeholders may seek to coerce patients into opting for PAD in an effort to reduce the cost of medical care and/or maximize profits. Gravely ill patients who are unable to afford the cost of expensive medical procedures are especially vulnerable to this form of exploitation.
              Additionally, medical practitioners are not infallible and ever so often make errors in diagnosis and prognosis. Instances where patients who have been labeled terminal but later made complete recoveries are seen as sufficient evidence that PAD must remain illegal.
              On the other hand there are those who argue that everyone has a right to die with dignity and therefore terminally ill persons, suffering incredible pain and unable to perform basic human...

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