Ethics Behind Physician-Assisted Suicide

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Assisted suicide is the act of intentionally killing yourself with the assistance of someone else. In the United States, physician-assisted suicide is when a physician provides a patient, who meets the criteria of having a terminal illness, with medication in order to terminate their life to relieve pain and/or suffering. Physician-assisted suicide is often confused with euthanasia.

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Other terms for death by a doctor or physician, such as aid in dying or physician-assisted death, are preferred because the word suicide provides a negative connotation. The term suicide is associated with the early termination of oner’s own life, as a result of mental illness and/or deep emotional stress. When choosing physician-assisted suicide, the patient must administer the medication themselves. Euthanasia is illegal in the US. It requires a doctor, or another individual, to administer the medication to the patient. Witnessing a fatal disease consume a loved one or patient causes ethical unrest and moral uncertainty; as such physician-assisted suicide should never be an option.

Ethics and morals can be seen as the way that humans should live and interact with each other. Although ethics and morals have similar definitions, they are not the same thing. Ethics are a set of principles or rules that may be used by a society to determine how to make and judge a decision; while, morals are a set of values that may be used by an individual to determine how to make and judge a decision. For example, in our society it is ethically wrong to kill other humans; therefore, if someone commits murder, they are considered to be unethical and wrong.

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