Ethics - Assisted Suicide the Legal Term Paper

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¶ … Ethics - Assisted Suicide


Suicide has always been a very controversial subject, mainly because of traditional religious teachings equating it with "sin." However, since U.S. law is not supposed to be influenced by religious beliefs, the ethical issues and legal ramifications of physician-assisted suicide must be defined by objective moral principles and legislative criteria addressing the potential for misuse and abuse.

Problematic Issues:

The Hippocratic Oath prohibits physicians from harming their patients, but it was formulated long before the era of modern medicine at a time when very few patients faced the prospect of outliving debilitating diseases. Today, modern technology, pharmacology, and surgical intervention enable physicians to treat disease and prolong patients' lives, sometimes even beyond their ability to appreciate. Particularly in the case of ailments associated with old age, such as many forms of cancer, modern medicine enables physicians to extend life even when the patient might prefer to die instead of enduring constant physical pain or continual gradual physical deterioration that ultimately leads to death, only with greater suffering in the meantime.

The easiest situations for the physician involve patients whose medical prognosis already defines their condition as terminal, in which case physician-assisted suicide only hastens the same outcome, and usually for the sole purpose of palliative relief from symptoms whose pain cannot be relieved by other means. However, many patients suffer just as much from symptoms associated with non-fatal illnesses and conditions that may not be addressed through physician-assisted suicide under Hippocratic principles.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Term Paper:

APA Format

Ethics - Assisted Suicide the Legal.  (2008, May 5).  Retrieved January 19, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Ethics - Assisted Suicide the Legal."  5 May 2008.  Web.  19 January 2020. <>.

Chicago Format

"Ethics - Assisted Suicide the Legal."  May 5, 2008.  Accessed January 19, 2020.