Euthanasia: Not Just a Moral Issue essays

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Euthanasia: Not Just a Moral Issue essays

Debates about the ethics of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) date back from Ancient Rome. Michigan Circuit Court judge Richard C. Kaufman, while presiding over a case involving the infamous Jack Kevorkian, and after extensive study into the subject writes: "The evidence is, then, that the Romans looked on suicide with neither fear no revulsion, but as a carefully considered and chosen validation of the way they had lived and the principles they had lived by […]". Physician assisted suicide is once again in the forefront of serious social issues, due in large part to the "Oregon Death with Dignity Act", a 1994 referendum in which the citizens of the state of Oregon legalized physician-assisted suicide (Weir xii). It is important to examine whether the legalization of euthanasia would have beneficial or detrimental effects on society as a whole. While the idea of allowing someone in pain to choose to end their own life sounds reasonable, the legalization of euthanasia also opens society to entire new host of problems, namely; undermining the professional integrity of the medical profession as a whole, coercion or outright forcing of euthanasia on a patient who is not willing, and the psychological stress and harm done to the surviving family members (Emanuel 4).While the possible detrimental effects on the medical profession due to legal PAS could be regarded as an issue that different people could see in different ways, these possible effects should not be ignored. These effects include, possible psychological damage to the physician, hindering the advancement in research and development of cures for life-threatening illnesses, and a breakdown in the doctor-patient relationship. Euthanasia, while seemingly a victimless crime, causes detrimental and wholly irreparable damage to the medical profession and in turn, society as a whole.
A key issue in regards to the detrimental effects on the medical…