Medicine and Law Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 24 February 2016

Medicine and Law

On February 11, 2003, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the State of Arkansas could force death row prisoner Charles Laverne Singleton to take antipsychotic drugs to make him sane enough to execute. Singleton was to be executed for felony capital murder but became insane while in prison. “Medicine is supposed to heal people, not prepare them for execution; a law that asks doctors to make people well so that the government can kill them is an absurd law,” said David Kaczynski, the executive director of New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty. There are many arguments in this passage. The first argument is this passage is “medicine is supposed to heal people, not prepare them for execution”. The premise is “medicine is supposed to heal people, not prepare them for execution” and the conclusion is “medicine shouldn’t kill people”. The second argument in this passage is “a law that asks doctors to make people well so that the government can kill them in an absurd law”. The premise is “a law that asks doctors to make people well to kill them” and the conclusion is “the law is absurd”. This passage depicts many issues occurring in America today. Although, the prisoner Charles Laverne Singleton was convicted to the death penalty, using doctors and medicine to execute him is wrong. Medicine was created to heal people from disease and prevent illness. Doctors became physicians to support people, save lives, and educate individuals to increase their quality of life. When doctors graduated from medical school they took an oath to help save lives. Participating in an execution goes against the laws medical ethics and everything a physician stands for. Arguments for this passageway may include the amount of money it takes to keep the prisoner in jail, lethal injection is a less violent way of execution, and a doctor is the most qualified person to give a lethal injection. Although, keeping convicts in jail costs a lot of tax payers’ dollars, there are other ways to execute the individuals on death row. The lethal injection might be less violent however; it doesn’t make it the ideal method to kill. Doctors are the most qualified to give a lethal injection yet there are not the most qualified to murder. The decision also puts prison doctors in a position that challenges ethics. Doctors have to ask themselves: Is it better to provide care for death row inmates patients, because everyone deserves competent care and protection from unnecessary suffering? Does it degrade the healing profession to use one’s medical skills to prepare a person for execution? The government wants to kill the individuals on death row but they don’t want to do it themselves. Asking a doctor to dirty their hands results in the government keeping their hands clean. More research has to be done to find new methods to execute these death row convicts. Medicine and doctors should not be the means to kill anyone. The Code of Ethics states that a physician should never be “compelled to participate in the process of establishing a prisoner’s competence or be involved with treatment of an incompetent, condemned prisoner if such activity is contrary to the physician’s personal beliefs” [9].

On February 11, 2003, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the State of Arkansas could force death row prisoner Charles Laverne Singleton to take antipsychotic drugs to make him sane enough to execute. Singleton was to be executed for felony capital murder but became insane while in prison. “Medicine is supposed to heal people, not prepare them for execution; a law that asks doctors to make people well so that the government can kill them is an absurd law,” said David Kaczynski, the executive director of New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty. There are many arguments in this passage. The first argument is this passage is “medicine is supposed to heal people, not prepare them for execution”. The premise is “medicine is supposed to heal people, not prepare them for execution” and the conclusion is “medicine shouldn’t kill people”. The second argument in this passage is “a law that asks doctors to make people well so that the government can kill them in an absurd law”. The premise is “a law that asks doctors to make people well to kill them” and the conclusion is “the law is absurd”. This passage depicts many issues occurring in America today. Although, the prisoner Charles Laverne Singleton was convicted to the death penalty, using doctors and medicine to execute him is wrong. Medicine was created to heal people from disease and prevent illness. Doctors became physicians to support people, save lives, and educate individuals to increase their quality of life. When doctors graduated from medical school they took an oath to help save lives. Participating in an execution goes against the laws medical ethics and everything a physician stands for. Arguments for this passageway may include the amount of money it takes to keep the prisoner in jail, lethal injection is a less violent way of execution, and a doctor is the most qualified person to give a lethal injection. Although, keeping convicts in jail costs a lot of tax payers’ dollars, there are other ways to execute the individuals on death row. The lethal injection might be less violent however; it doesn’t make it the ideal method to kill. Doctors are the most qualified to give a lethal injection yet there are not the most qualified to murder. The decision also puts prison doctors in a position that challenges ethics. Doctors have to ask themselves: Is it better to provide care for death row inmates patients, because everyone deserves competent care and protection from unnecessary suffering? Does it degrade the healing profession to use one’s medical skills to prepare a person for execution? The government wants to kill the individuals on death row but they don’t want to do it themselves. Asking a doctor to dirty their hands results in the government keeping their hands clean. More research has to be done to find new methods to execute these death row convicts. Medicine and doctors should not be the means to kill anyone. The Code of Ethics states that a physician should never be “compelled to participate in the process of establishing a prisoner’s competence or be involved with treatment of an incompetent, condemned prisoner if such activity is contrary to the physician’s personal beliefs” [9].

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