Pros And Cons Of Objections To PAS And VAE

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Objections to PAS and VAE The objections to PAS and VAE prevent them from being legalized. Some argue that PAS and VAE are forbidden by medical ethics because physicians should never intentionally cause death (Churchill, 1994). This argument is based on the Hippocratic Oath which says, “I will neither give a deadly drug to anyone if asked, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect” (Churchill, 1994, p. 45). Though some believe that killing terminally ill patients or assisting in their suicide is not always morally wrong for others to do, they believe that physicians’ roles imply that they are healers so participation in activities that are against that role compromises the physician-patient relationship (Arras, 1997). Another argument…show more content…
However, PAS or VAE should not be practiced because it has social consequences. Two slippery slope arguments are used in this view. One argument is that it is an “option without limits.” In this argument, opponents of PAS and VAE believe that intolerable pain is subjective and terminal illness is an arbitrary standard for judging patient’s “subjective evaluation of their quality of life.” They argue that if a person believes that their life is no longer worth living, then a person who suffers from diseases that cause motor impairment should have the choice to die as in the case of a terminally ill patient. The other slippery slope argument against PAS, which is an empirical slope argument, is that it carries a high likelihood of abuse. It is believed that patients who do not meet the criteria of intolerable pain or terminal illness might still be candidates for death. They elaborate on this argument by stating that voluntariness would not be a sufficient requirement for PAS and VAE because voluntariness could be a result of coercion from physicians and family members. They believe that most physicians actually fail to diagnose and adequately treat reversible clinical depression because they are not trained or motivated to use the tools available for proper diagnosis which leads to more calls for PAS and VAE than is necessary. They believe…show more content…
170-173). Another physician responsibility is respect for patients which is expressed by the Oath of Maimonides’s commitment, “May I never consider the patient merely a vessel of disease” and the American Medical Association’s Principle of Ethics, “A physician shall be dedicated to providing competent medical service with compassion and respect for human dignity”. Therefore, I believe if a patient has a need, the physician has a duty to fulfill that need according to beneficence. If alleviation of suffering, preservation of dignity, or respect for self-autonomy is a need, then beneficence requires that someone else has a duty to meet that need. Therefore, if a patient’s need can only be met by ending their life, then someone else has a duty to meet that need via PAS or VAE. Allowing patients to undergo an agonizing and prolonged death when the suffering could be ended earlier then violates the duty of beneficence (Rhodes, 1998). The “someone else” must be a physician because physicians have professional training to hasten death with minimal discomfort or suffering, and physicians have access to medical technology and pharmacology which puts them in a position to implement the proper means needed for death. The physician patient-relationship may entail a greater obligation because the patient trusts that

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