Physician Assisted Suicide or Mercy Killing

As humans, we all try to hold onto our lives as long as we can, but at the same time, a life-span is also finite for humans. Medicines and new medical technologies can prolong death but it can also put someone through a world of hurt for who knows how long. Some may view this topic as murder, and others may view it as helping someone from the suffrage of a terminal illness that the new medical technologies or medicines has put them through.

Yes it is an option to have those advancements used, but that doesn’t mean they will work or make your quality of life better.

Physician Assisted Suicide (P.A.S.) began to be a big deal during Jack Kevorkian’s time. He had helped more than 130 people commit assisted suicide. All Kevorkian did was set up the “machine” and let the patient hit the button, which is where the “assisted” part comes into play. Kevorkian only had had troubles because he had assisted a little too much with a patient.

He was sentenced to murder in 1998 for violating the law banning physician assisted suicide (dropped charge) but also for delivering a controlled substance without a medical license. A year later he was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 10-25 years in prison and released on good behavior in 2007 after 8 years being served.

The debatable part of mercy killing in the courts is that should the killers deserve compassion from courts or are they murderers and be prosecuted and convicted.

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Killers can be killing to end their suffrage but in the end the result should be that they don’t have the rights to just end someones suffrage from their terminal illness. In rare situations there will be a doctor or some family member that either prescribed the wrong medications, gave them too many, or were told to take more than needed just to end their suffering.

Some physicians may approve of physician assisted suicide but it still isn’t legal. Some physicians will either under or over prescribe narcotics to the patient, some cases over prescribing can and will lead to death. In cases just for pain most doctors will be fine with prescribing a patient with high doses of narcotics and might possibly push them towards you to ease the pain starting with that higher dose or a stronger medication instead of starting lower end and going up from the low dose and is the weaker meds don’t work then bump it up to a stronger, more effective medication. A small percentage of physicians have admitted to hastening the patient’s death or upping their dose to cause them to die.

In Oregon the Death with Dignity Act was passed in 1994 with 51% in favor of the act. In Washington state recently the same act was passed on November fourth, 2008 and went into effect on March fifth, 2009. The act allows terminally ill patients to request lethal doses of medications from osteopathic physicians. In the 2017 annual report, there have been prescriptions written for 1401 people and 1364 deaths reported in Washington state. Now known as “Honor Killings” the debate of if its ethical still stands more tense than ever.

The first mercy killing in Washington was Linda Fleming, 66, of Sequim Washington, was terminally ill with pancreatic cancer. When she took the medications allowing her to pass, she had stated that she had to keep a clear-conscious mind, stay calm, and realize that she was actively dying with or without the medications. She was much happier to die willingly than die suffering in a completely different state of mind than she would have at the feet of pancreatic cancer.

This topic, though controversial, can have ups and downs on both sides. If the patient is just suffering and doesn’t have the will to live anymore and isn’t strong enough to actually commit suicide, how can they get it done? At the same time if anything is done wrong where the doctor or the physician had assisted too much they can be prosecuted and convicted of murder in doctor Jack Kevorkian’s case. He was sentenced to 10-25 years on second degree murder charges because he possibly helped out too much. Mercy killings are believed to be unethical, but they can be the end to suffering at the same time.

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Physician Assisted Suicide or Mercy Killing. (2021, Apr 26). Retrieved from

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