The Ethics of Physician-Assisted Suicide

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Physician-assisted suicide, or PAS, is a controversial issue that has been in the news recently. In January 2019, the American Medical Association (AMA) officially adopted a policy opposing physician-assisted suicide. But many doctors still disagree with this position and believe that PAS should be legalized. Say’s Dr Francene Gayle, this raises many ethical questions: Where does one draw the line between helping someone die and killing them? Why does this debate even exist in America when assisted dying is legal elsewhere? Physician-assisted death raises a host of ethical issues that we’ll explore here.

The Patient’s Rights

Patients have the right to choose their own treatment, including refusing all treatment. This is known as “self-determination,” and it is one of the most important principles of medical ethics. A physician who respects this principle will not force his patient into accepting unwanted care or treatments against his wishes, even if they seem medically necessary or helpful in some way.

In many cases, doctors must respect a patient’s decision not to pursue further medical care even though doing so could mean suffering or death for that person–and sometimes even when it would be beneficial for other people involved (such as family members).

The Doctor’s Obligation

The doctor’s primary obligation is to care for the patient. The physician has a duty to inform and counsel patients in order to help them make decisions that are in their best interests. This includes informing them about all options, including those that may seem distasteful or morally objectionable to some people, such as physician-assisted suicide (PAS).

The doctor must respect the patient’s autonomy–the ability of an adult person who is competent and able-minded to make decisions about his or her own life without undue influence from others. The doctor cannot coerce or force someone into making a particular choice; he must allow them full freedom of choice without his personal bias influencing the outcome

The Role of the Law

The law is a means of protecting the rights of the people. But it’s not always the best way to protect rights. The law can protect some rights, but not all; sometimes, it even fails to protect them at all.

In this case, the question is whether we should allow physicians to assist their patients in ending their lives–and if so, under what circumstances?

Physician-assisted suicide is a complicated issue that raises many ethical questions.

In the United States, physician-assisted suicide is legal in five states and under certain conditions in others. Physician-assisted suicide is illegal in every state except Oregon, where it was legalized through legislation rather than court ruling. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on whether or not physician-assisted suicide is constitutional under federal law (which would apply nationwide).

It’s important to note that even if your state allows for it, there are still several ethical considerations you should keep in mind when considering this option for yourself or someone else.


We have seen that there are many ethical issues surrounding physician-assisted suicide. The decision of whether or not to help a patient die is a personal one, but it can also have legal and medical repercussions for both the doctor and patient. In addition, there are many people who oppose this practice because they believe it violates their religious beliefs or values about what it means to live a good life.

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