The Decision: Life or Death

Categories: Assisted SuicideDeath

Many people are oblivious to the taboo topic of assisted suicide. Unless you have had a personal experience with this situation you may not even be inclined to look further into the topic. Due to so many diverse religious preferences, plenty of people may be opposed to it and plenty of people may agree with it. The decision to end a patient’s life with the assistance of a physician should remain a patient’s choice and not a decision of the government or any other entity.

This is not a new practice and in fact it has been dated to the 5th century. (

Physician Assisted Suicide is known as a procedure where a physician administers a lethal drug that hastens death for a patient who is terminally ill, which culminates a peaceful death. Death can occur in as little as 15 minutes once the patient has been administered the drug but can ultimately take up to 10 hours. The process varies with the patient’s stage of illness, the method used and body weight.

There is a multitude of versions of this procedure ranging from simply withholding food or drinks, lethal injections, gases or a pill. Most patients utilize injection when it comes to assisting their demise. Physician Assisted Suicide is illegal in many states, however there are plenty of other actions that are legal. The death penalty is an example of a legal death in which someone is being forced to die when there are people who are willing and they are being declined the opportunity.

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(Taylor, 2016)

There are many reasons the government should not be involved in this decision. The patient’s right to autonomy is being oppressed by the government. Patients who are suffering from a terminal illness should not be contrived to deteriorate as a decision of the government, this is just tyrannical and prevents patients from living in their freedom. There are a multitude of reasons why the government should be involved in this decision. This decision by the patient is a private medical matter that should be preserved and remain discreet. Also, by prolonging a patient’s life against his or her wishes depletes resources that the patient feels would be more valuable to other patients. Lastly, the 14th Amendment states “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” This constitutional right should be honored entirely, and the government should not assume responsibility or authority to prolong the life of a person that will ultimately parish due to their medical condition that wishes to end their own life on their own time. (Schmidt, 2018)

The family of a patient whom wishes to exercise their right to die has a very important perspective regarding the matter at hand. If this person who does not wish to continue to prolong suffering can also prevent or reduce the amount of financial burden that the family endures due to extensive medical treatments that will not cure their loved one, only to protract the inevitable. Emotional trauma that encompasses the process of watching the patient decline is also prevented with assisted suicide and could possibly provide a less complex grieving or mourning process. The patient’s family aren’t the only people who have to watch the patient suffer either, due to the government’s decision to make assisted suicide illegal in most states the states hospitals are affected as well, nurses or other personnel have to stand by helplessly watching the patient who wants to die agonize over the impending. Supplies and valuable resources are used on the patient who wants to die instead of being used for those who aren’t going to die in the near future if proper medical treatment is received.

As briefly mentioned before there are some people who do not agree with Physician Assisted Suicide. The government being the most influential and ultimately the most powerful believes that when a doctor aids in the terminating of life for a patient they are violating their Hippocratic oath. The Hippocratic oath states “I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice. I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly, I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness, I will guard my life and my art.” ( The government believes this to be an unethical practice because doctors can be wrong, it demeans human life and doctors and families may be prompted to give up on recovery much too early. (Messerli, 2012) Death with dignity laws allow qualified terminally-ill adults to voluntarily request and receive a prescription medication to hasten their death. (

In conclusion, there are two perspectives on Physician Assisted Suicide; one that believes it should be legal and one that believes it should remain illegal. The case that the decision to end your life with the help of your doctor (Physician Assisted Suicide) should ultimately be a personal matter and the government should not have any authority in the right to terminate your own life has been established. It is evident because the right to end your life is a personal choice and should continue to be according to the fourteenth amendment. It also has been evidenced that it is more complicated on the families, friends and society to force people that won’t survive, to live in suffering until the impending takes place. Nevertheless, Physician Assisted Suicide should be legal in all states regulated by specific regulations preventing misuse and abuse.


  • Taylor, P. (2016, April 10). Can you describe a ‘typical’ assisted death? Retrieved June 28, 2020, from
  • Schmidt, A. (2018, December 03). The US Constitution has 27 amendments that protect the rights of Americans. Do you know them all? Retrieved June 28, 2020, from
  • Death with Dignity Acts – States That Allow Assisted Death. (2019, October 04). Retrieved June 28, 2020, from
  • Messerli, J. (2012, January 07). Physician Assisted Suicide (Pros & Cons, Arguments For and Against, Advantages & Disadvantages of Euthanasia or Doctor-Assisted Suicice). Retrieved June 28, 2020, from
  • Terminology of Assisted Dying. (2020, June 24). Retrieved June 28, 2020, from
  • Dowbiggin, I. (2020, February 26). A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America. Retrieved June 28, 2020, from
  • Shmerling, R. H. (2020, June 23). First, do no harm. Retrieved June 28, 2020, from
  • Tyson, P. (2001, March 27). The Hippocratic Oath Today. Retrieved June 28, 2020, from

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The Decision: Life or Death. (2021, Apr 21). Retrieved from

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