Physician-assisted suicide / by kevin murray

Physician-assisted suicide is legal in seven States and the District of Columbia, in which doctors are permitted by those State agencies to prescribe medicine which will terminate a patient's life.  Whether or not one agrees with this act within these States is superseded by whether or not a physician should actually be the instrument of assisting a patient suicide and therefore still be considered to be a physician in good standing.


That is to say, should a physician be an instrument of life and the extension and quality of life, in addition to the attributes of being compassionate and supportive with their patients, or should a physician per that physician's discretion, under the perceived voluntary desire of their patient, be the instrument that takes away life from patients, by prescribing and then having administered the drugs that will effectively do that deed?


In addition, should not all patients have the right to know before a physician treats them as to whether or not that particular physician has directly or indirectly assisted in the suicide of a given patient?  For, if this is so, how is it conceivable that having first prescribed the medicine that has taken away the life of another that this particular physician would not then be more inclined to continue to prescribe such medicine since the inclination to do so, has already previously been displayed?


So too, does not each patient within a hospital have not the right to know whether within that hospital, assisted suicide has been performed or not?  And, therefore knowing the answer to that question, should not that patient have the right to be in a hospital that is consistent with their belief as to whether or not they would ever consent to assisted suicide in their case? 


In point of fact, all patients that interact with physicians need to know exactly what Hippocratic Oath, that such physician did or did not take, and specifically whether or not that physician has taken an oath to the effect that: "I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect," in which each patient of every physician and within every hospital should have a clear and unequivocal understanding as to what the position is of each physician and of each hospital, before they are admitted to such as a patient.


Further to the point, it is a catastrophic mistake that physicians are even permitted to assist in any patient's suicide, for such besmirches greatly the profession, itself.  Instead, in those States that permit assisted suicide, the person prescribing the medicine should be a special type of degreed individual, which specifically deals only with death, so that, this person, would be the one that prescribes not only assisted suicide medication but also would be the one that performs abortions and any and all other legal acts of death to what would be viable life. 


Perhaps there is a need for assisted suicide medicinal prescribers, but that need should not be fulfilled by physicians as is currently performed in certain States, today, but by some other entity; for the most vulnerable amongst us, deserve so much better, than physicians that assist them in killing themselves.