Human life is considered divine, and no single person has the right to take away the life of another according to the constitutions and other religious doctrines. The debate about assisted suicide has been persistent in many countries across the continuum for many years, but few democratic governments have consented and legalized its practice. It is difficult to determine the extent to which physicians can be allowed to diagnose people individuals for assisted suicide (Emanuel, Onwuteaka Urwin & Cohen, 2016). Legalizing the practice would give too much freedom to the medical personnel to diagnose and procure assisted suicide, even to individuals who would live longer under proper medication. Legalizing assisted suicide would degrade the commitment and responsibility of governments and medical practitioners to protect and safeguard human life as a divine calling.
A few states in America, such as Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington District of Columbia, Vermont, and Montana, have passed legislations to allow assisted suicide for terminally sick patients who have a confirmed diagnosis of fewer than six months to survive. The decision should originate from the patient and should follow some stipulated procedures before it is executed (Borasio, Jox & Gamondi, 2019). The decision to take life is not pegged on the country’s political ideology, government intervention, or religious manipulations but on self-declaration to avoid incidents of prolonged pain for the terminally ill whose death is invertible.
Leadership and Responsibility
The Patients’ Rights Council receives and deliberates on matters regarding assisted suicide in the US. Assisted suicide statutes in the states allowing its use enables mentally conscious adults of eighteen years and above with terminal illness that has a six or fewer months confirmed prognosis of surviving to make a decision to take their life. The patient voluntarily initiates a request, and a qualified physician delivers a medical prescription to speed up the process of dying for the patient with the inevitable condition (Jones & Paton, 2015). The statutes provide patients dignity, peace of mind, and control of what they want to have during their final days with family and friends because the process is voluntary. The law protects the patient’s rights and is considered the sole driving force to the end-of-life initiative due to unavoidable medical conditions.
Assisted suicide is a complex process that originates from a mentally stable adult patient to take their life. Two professional physicians must confirm the patient’s prognosis, residency, mental wellness, diagnosis, and wiliness to procure the procedure. The process is followed by two waiting time frames. The first period involves the patient’s oral request, and the second involves receiving and formalizing the process through written request. Two physicians have to make the prescription and come to an agreement on the legitimacy of the process before it is finalized (Borasio et al., 2019). According to the statutes, due process has to be followed, and the matter is reported to the United States Department of Health for approval.
The current physician-aided suicide stems from Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act that has been considered successful in the United States to safeguard patients and prevent misuse. Different cultures have varying beliefs regarding death and the entirety of human life. The existing AMA Code of Medical Ethics prohibits physician-aided suicide as well as any form of medics involvement in euthanasia. The physician has to be frugal when administering the procedure because it may cause more trauma to the patient and the caregiver than the death itself in case of a failed attempt (Jones & Paton, 2015). Physician-assisted suicide presents both mental and psychological torture to the involved family, the patient, and the caregiver because human life is considered sacred across different cultures.
Physician-assisted suicide has many federal and non-governmental agencies working collaboratively to protect patients against medical malpractices. They include CDC, AMA, ACA, EMTALA, among other agencies. They work to ensure that proper policies and guidelines are followed while procuring physician-assisted end-to-life procedures in the United States. The agencies ensure that medical ethics and legislations are in place when handling matters related to patient safety.
The use of physician-assisted suicide in the United States hampers the commitment of the healthcare delivery system to provide quality and affordable healthcare for all Americans. The medics are bound by an oath to safeguard and protect human life therefore the procedure violates these commitments. On the other hand, the procedure helps to put to an end to the suffering and pain of family members having patients with terminal illnesses (Jones & Paton, 2015). Care and treatment for terminally ill patients come with a huge budgetary requirement that strains families as well as caregivers. Assisted suicide helps to divert attention to patients with lesser complications, thus offering quality care without overwhelming the healthcare systems in the country.
Borasio, G. D., Jox, R. J., & Gamondi, C. (2019). Regulation of assisted suicide limits the number of assisted deaths. The Lancet, 393(10175), 982-983.
Emanuel, E. J., Onwuteaka-Philipsen, B. D., Urwin, J. W., & Cohen, J. (2016). Attitudes and practices of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Jama, 316(1), 79-90.
Jones, D. A., & Paton, D. (2015). How does legalization of physician assisted suicide affect rates of suicide?. Southern medical journal, 108(10), 599-694.