Ethics in Physician Assisted Suicide

Ethics in Physician Assisted Suicide
Christina Childs
PHI208: Ethics and Moral Reasoning

Daniel Beteta

November 18, 2013

                  What is ethics? Ethics are moral principles that explains a person’s behavior. Dr. Jack Kevorkian a formal pathologist, is best known for assisting terminally ill patients with their death which is known as physician assisted suicide. Dr. Kevorkian once said; “In any project the important factor is your belief. Without belief there can be no successful outcome.” Kevorkian believed in every terminal patient’s right to physician assisted suicide as he also once said famously that “Dying is not a crime.” In 1999 Kevorkian was sentenced to 10-25 years for second degree murder. He was released in 2007 after serving 8 ½ years after promising that he wouldn’t offer suicide advice to anyone. This is such a controversial topic even after Kevorkian’s death and when talking about this subject we have to ask ourselves if it’s morally right or wrong for a patient to have that right.
              Should terminally ill patients have the right to kill themselves? Susan Adkins is an example of someone who exercised that right. In 1990, Kevorkian became famous in assisting in the suicide of Susan Adkins. She was a member of the Hemlock Society which advocates assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and her health failing, Susan sought the help of Dr. Kevorkian as he assisted with her suicide with his invention he called the “suicide machine.” Some people see the pros of assisted suicide. Someone who is terminally ill will no longer be in pain, they will have some quality of life in the end and they will be able to say their goodbyes to their family and friends as they pass away peacefully. Currently Montana, Washington and Oregon are the three states that have legalized physician assisted suicide.

            Baxter et al v. Montana is another example of a court...