End of life – physician assisted suicide

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Introduction

The paper examines physician assisted suicide which occurs mostly when a physician assist a terminally ill patient to accelerate his death on the ground that he/she has minimum time to live and more importantly to be relieved from the pain being received, Generally it can be noted that in assisted suicide the physician is responsible in offering the most essential means and facts to pave way for the patient to a life-ending act. A good illustration can be where a physician provide a potentially lethal medication and vital information based on the lethal dose & more importantly how it can be administered to a patient. In light to physician-assisted suicide, most laws require evidence that the physician intervened first to assist suicide (Lachs, 2013).

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In the current era, several cases of terminal illnesses  are reported every single day  and in many cases they command assisted suicide due to the pain that come  in  with them and  to more extreme, that  absence of hope or even chances of an ill person to   recover  in life. Some of these terminal diseases which include; cancer or advanced heart disease can cause a serious trauma to an individual. Terminal illness tends to be an incurable illness that can’t be adequately be cured & in most cases sensibly expected to end in the demise of the patient in a short epoch of spell .In many scenarios, assisted suicide is allowed to terminally ill patients who according to physician’s assessment are within six months of living but the patient’s willingness for the assisted suicide to be conducted has to be given serious attention that it deserves (Cherny et.al, 2009).

When such patients realize their remaining time frame alongside their struggles, a majority of them opt to take their sufferings and request for suicide assistance of their physicians.in regard to the condition of their illness, the doctor’s advice to that patient will play a paramount role on the best option for them; on whether to stay alive or take an early exit in life. Then ,it implies that both the patient who must be of sane mind alongside the approval of their family if any and the doctor have to agree on the best option of taking patient’s life within an agreed duration at the most suitable place for the patient(Melnick,2010).

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It’s clear, despite the fact that terminal illness calls for physician- assisted suicide and such cases being rampant in different corners of the republic, then it’s therefore important to have a clear understanding of the Ideal that; although assisted suicide cases might be rampant in all corners of the republic, it is only practicable within limited state laws.  In the United States, Up until the February of 2017, assisted suicide is only allowed in the states of Colorado, Vermont, California, Washington, Oregon, and the District of Columbia. As a result, it remains quint essential for physicians to remember these guidelines, especially when consenting for assisted suicide more so because in any other state apart from the ones mentioned above, the patient is considered to have committed suicide while the doctor allowing such activities is regarded as an accomplice to murder charges. Above all Oregon stands as an a anomaly while physician –assisted suicide is criminalized in other 45 states ,The criminalization was based on the common law in the 6 states while the remaining 39 it was based on statute laws. However some states have resorted in putting an issue of physician assisted suicide mainly into a referendum so as to get the will of the majority. Although in all but Oregon, the practice had to be refuted by the participants who were the voters (Habermas, 2010).

Despite the opinion being held by many, that demise grants the solitary measures of accomplishing dignity or comfort for patients in life-threatening constraint, such as those travailing from a painful, deliberating, terminal illness.it will be prudent enough to be much aware of the state laws that different states associate themselves to. Through taking such a step, it will be easy to come up with an actualizing assisted suicide ways that will be aligned to the laws of that a given state. As according to different states which advocate the application of the law allowing assisted suicide; one can acquire assisted death mechanisms or not as stipulated in state statutes. Further, according to the type of illness, the physician can choose the most appropriate method of medication in agreement with the patient. The doctor can choose a tablet dosage which the patient consumes for a given period after which they meet their demise. They can as well administer an instant dosage through syringes and other forms of medication whereby the patient dies within a given short period (Rudd et.al, 2016).

In order to ensure that assisted suicide is actualized and it conforms to the rule of law, then it has to be based on terminally ill patient’s choice and more importantly the safeguard ought to be effective, stringent and protective .The patients can as well take the medication in the comfort of their home or care home in case they are old and do not live with family.

With the aim of curbing assisted suicide; the cost of assisted death medication has continued to rise systematically with costs varying based on medication type and availability as well as the protocol used. The price rise is as a result of the ban imposed by the European Union on exports mainly to USA as the drug was being used to advocate capital punishment, an act that is termed to be illegal and deemed deplorable there. Thus causing the price to escalate to unfordable level there; this plays a significant role in demoralizing or even discouraging patients mainly from having any   intention of taking their lives in mind. It has been possible say like around 2013 the most commonly used pentobarbital(liquid) medication cost about$ 600 but currently the price stands at around $ 1600- $ 20000 (Rady & Verheijde,2010).

Conclusion

Based on the already discussed aspects above, it can be noticed that assisted suicide continues to grow state after state and with time it might spread to other country over as a means of saving medical expenditure on terminal illnesses. However it calls for the need to effectively try to regulate the drill & safeguarding susceptible populaces as well as the latent for mistreatment that might arise, if there are no well stipulated laws governing the entire process.

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  1. Lachs, J. (2013). Physician-assisted suicide. Contemporary Debates in Bioethics, 25, 203.
  2. Cherny, N. I., Radbruch, L., & Board of the European Association for Palliative Care. (2009). European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) recommended framework for the use of sedation in palliative care. Palliative medicine, 23(7), 581-593.
  3. Melnick, R. S. (2010). Between the lines: Interpreting welfare rights. Brookings Institution Press.
  4. Habermas, J. (2010). The concept of human dignity and the realistic utopia of human rights. Metaphilosophy, 41(4), 464-480.
  5. Rudd, R. A., Aleshire, N., Zibbell, J. E., & Matthew Gladden, R. (2016). Increases in drug and opioid overdose deaths—United States, 2000–2014. American Journal of Transplantation, 16(4), 1323-1327.
  6. Rady, M. Y., & Verheijde, J. L. (2010). Continuous deep sedation until death: palliation or physician-assisted death?. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine®, 27(3), 205-214.
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