Discussion: End-of-Life Rights: Physician-Assisted Suicide

Learning Goal: I’m working on a health & medical discussion question and need support to help me learn.

Discussion: End-of-Life Rights: Physician-Assisted Suicide

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.
— The Hippocratic Oath, fourth paragraph

While the Hippocratic Oath clearly states a position on physician-assisted suicide (also known as physician-assisted death), some physicians choose to aid patients in taking life-ending measures in accordance with individual state laws. At this point, physician-assisted suicide has been legalized in seven states and in many countries around the world.

Dr. Jack Kevorkian is probably the most well-known physician for assisting ill people with ending their lives. He gained national attention in 1990 when he assisted a 54-year old woman in Oregon with ending her life (Bernstein, 2018). In 1998, after many other suicide-assists, Dr. Kevorkian was sentenced to prison for 10 to 25 years. In 2007 he was granted parole for good behavior. He died in 2011. Since then, several states have changed their laws including Oregon, where Dr. Kevorkian initially gained notoriety.

Dr. Kevorkian’s controversial practices gained wide publicity, which led to national conversations and eventually state laws supporting physician-assisted suicide. For this Discussion, you will examine laws for physician-assisted suicide in different states. You will also explain and support your opinion about physician-assisted suicide.

Bernstein, E. (n.d.). Jack Kevorkian. Retrieved September 16, 2018 from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jack-Kevorkia…
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). (2001). The Hippocratic oath today. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/hippocratic-oath…

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Read the Learning Resources that pertain to physician-assisted suicide.
  • Research the ethics and laws associated with physician-assisted suicide, especially those that pertain to your state or province.


Post a comprehensive response to the following:

  • Briefly describe your state or province’s position on physician-assisted suicide.
  • What is your opinion concerning physician-assisted suicide? Support your response using your personal ethical framework.
  • Based on your opinion, describe any circumstances when physician-assisted death might be appropriate. Support your response.
  • Finally, does a patient have the right to determine how he or she wants to die? Support your response using ethical principles.

Note: Initial postings must be 250-350 words (not including references).

Support your Discussion and peer responses with in-text citations and references from specific Learning Resources.

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