Is Physician Assisted Suicide Ethical?

2620 words 11 pages
Is Physician Assisted Suicide Ethical?
Theresa Anderson
SOC 120 Introduction to Ethics & Social Responsibility
Instructor: David Jung
November 25, 2012

Physician assisted suicide, is this an ethical procedure? Many feel strongly on both sides of this issue. Some states such as Washington and Oregon have made Physician assisted suicide legal. Other states such as Michigan and Massachusetts have put the issue to a vote and the voters have turned down the option. What exactly is physician assisted suicide? According to, the definition is a situation in which a physician provides the means of death for a gravely ill patient .Dehal and Levy explain, “The Death With Dignity Act (DWDA) allows mentally competent,
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"I put myself in my patients' place. This is something I would want."(CBS News, 2011) On the other side of the deontology coin The Hippocratic Oath states” that when treating patients, physicians will “First do no harm.” It goes on to state that “I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if neither asked nor suggest any such counsel.” Physician-assisted suicide is in direct conflict with this statement which, when followed, has protected the patient, physician, society and the family, and at the same time has committed doctors to compassion and human dignity.”(Rockett, 2012, Boston Globe) If preserving life is how doctors show human dignity than physician assisted suicide would be immoral.
When using virtue ethics it would depend on, if the physician and the dying person has good moral standing before the act is started. If the physician and the patient are both ethical people with good moral standing the act that they commit must be an ethical act, but if either the patient or the physician are not virtues people the act would be unethical. When using virtue ethics the people involved depict wither or not the act is ethical not the act itself.
When considering relativism and physician assisted suicide, you would have to agree that it is morally correct for some and not for others. If the person’s religion or personal beliefs are against suicide than the act of physician assisted suicide is unethical for them. If the person’s culture feels that assisted suicide is


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