Term Paper: Euthanasia: Legal Considerations Euthanasia, Doctor-Assisted Suicide

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Euthanasia: Legal Considerations

Euthanasia, doctor-assisted suicide, and mercy killing of any type is prohibited by law in the United States. In June of 2007, 79-year-old retired pathologist and patient rights activist Jack Kevorkian was released from federal prison, after serving eight years for his second-degree murder conviction (Martindale, 2007).

Prior assisting in the 1998 suicide of Tomas Youk, then in the final stages of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ("Lou Gehrig's Disease"), Kevorkian had always been very careful to avoid crossing the line between merely advising his patients and documenting their suicides and actually assisting them or implementing their requests by his own hand.

In 1998, Kevorkian deliberately and purposely crossed that line to force his own prosecution and thereby bring national attention to the need for legal reforms pertaining to doctor-assisted suicide.

The Ethics of Physician-Assisted Suicide and the Role of Law:

In Kevorkian's view, euthanasia is sometimes warranted by the ethical desire to end the suffering of patients with fatal illnesses who wish to end their lives instead of enduring unnecessary pain before inevitably succumbing to their ailments. Many contemporary medical ethicists agree with Kevorkian, reasoning that the Hippocratic

Oath to which physician licensed in the United States swear before beginning their medical practice, was conceived long before modern medical science, at a time when life expectancy, and specifically, continued survival after the onset of debilitating disease were virtually inconceivable (Humphry, 2002). Kevorkian and other who share his position believe that the physician's primary role is to prevent suffering, and that this aspect of medical ethics is even more important than the prolongation of life, merely for life's sake (Abrams & Bruckner, 1983).

Proponents of legalizing physician-assisted suicide acknowledge the essential role of legislation to establish guidelines, definitions, criteria, and appropriate regulation. In that sense, physician-assisted suicide… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Euthanasia: Legal Considerations Euthanasia, Doctor-Assisted Suicide.  (2007, November 6).  Retrieved December 11, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/euthanasia-legal-considerations/3254794

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"Euthanasia: Legal Considerations Euthanasia, Doctor-Assisted Suicide."  6 November 2007.  Web.  11 December 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/euthanasia-legal-considerations/3254794>.

Chicago Format

"Euthanasia: Legal Considerations Euthanasia, Doctor-Assisted Suicide."  Essaytown.com.  November 6, 2007.  Accessed December 11, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/euthanasia-legal-considerations/3254794.