The Ethical and Moral Concerns Surrounding Assisted Suicide

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Unintended Consequences of Legalizing Assisted Suicide

When you think about a topic with many opinions and views, Physician-Assisted Suicide comes to mind. Is Physician-Assisted Suicide morally right? Physician-assisted suicide is a controversial topic in ethics. Many people are arguing if it is ethically unethical. The reason for their argument is if a goat can be put down, why not a human? Every life is important, no matter how critically ill it is. Instead of finding a way to terminate life faster, the government could channel the resource to something positive. If people are arguing whether the lives of these patients are important, the patients should also be questioned as well. Physician-assisted suicide will persuade terminally ill patients to die faster because it is less expensive and because they may lack self-confidence.

People that want physician-assisted suicide legalized probably never consider the consequences associated with the procedure. If assisted suicide was legal fifty years ago, we wouldn’t have some of the advancements in medicine that alleviate pain, diabetes, breathlessness, and other terminal illness today. As a result of improved medical advancement today, Some diseases that were terminal a few years ago are now treated. If we consider assisted suicide as the only solution, we might interrupt or even stop the discovery of effective treatments for those diseases that are now terminal.

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There would be a disregard for hope. There is no physician that has not come across a patient that was healed by divine intervention. The level of persuasion the patient would feel would be extensive. Families have many intent ways of persuading the patient to demand assisted suicide and alleviate them of the financial and social involvement even if their families are happy to take care of them. For many, this is just another way to terminate the guilt they feel, even if they don’t wish to die. The money which they incur from patients in obtaining medical and hospital bills would stop.

Ethical and Professional Integrity Concerns

Furthermore, physician-assisted suicide is not only illegal but also it is immoral and inhumane for physicians to implement. Any physician that does this immoral act has violated the ethics of their profession. A physician is supposed to be an advocator and helper that helps save the lives of patients and not help end the patients’ lives. Also, such a physician that does this has violated Hippocratic Oath, which is the oath sworn by the doctors prior to receiving his license.

The Oat states that ‘I will not give poison to anyone, though asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a plan?”. This means that no doctor should request or administer any lethal injection or medication to the patients. But unfortunately, today, so many physicians do not go by the oath they took. According to statistics, 1 out of 5 doctors and nurses have supported the patient to terminate their life in America. There is no meaning in taking an oat if no one will go by the Oat. The organization responsible for the oath-taking should also place several penalties on defaulters of the Oat of Hippocrates, or probably the license should be revoked or suspended.

Physician-assisted suicide is unethical and not a natural form of death. The severity of an illness or depression sometimes arises as a result of the thoughts and feelings of the suicide. One thing we should know is that pains are natural. Despite the fact that it is natural, there are ways to take away the pain that comes with death. There are many medications that can help alleviate pain and help sustain the lives of these patients who are terminally ill. For example, opioid (morphine) has been proven to provide effective pain control to most patients with severe pain. The Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) is a major technological advance in pain control.

With PCA, there is a constant supply of medications which allows a patient to administer doses when there is an emergency. Also, there is one that can administer to a patient to make him sleep all through the night. With proper healthcare education on the advancement of these pain control, physician-assisted suicide would not be necessary. The role of adequate pain control should remain an important duty in providing end-of-life palliative care to terminally ill patients. There should be a collaborative relationship between pain medicine services and palliative care services. With this, there has been found to be a commonness of pain in cancer survivors of 33 percent, in cancer patients undergoing active treatment of 59 percent, and across all stages of cancer of 53 percent. (Meier and Brawley 2011, 2750).

Moral Implications and the Sanctity of Life

The truth about physician-assisted suicide is that it is a form of murder and unethical. It should be against the law and the heart. This got to do with medicine and morality. If doctors are licensed to kill or become killers, then the profession will never be trusted, and people with a good moral background will be discouraged from entering the profession. If also, the doctors were given equal right to cure and kill, then the profession would be regarded as an immoral profession. This type of murder underestimates human value. The physicians involved in the act are now regarded as gods who can determine life or death for mankind. Their jobs are to cure and save the lives of their patients, and not god. They should understand that what the patients under them need is care, respect, and absolute love of the people around them.

Furthermore, those in support of physician-assisted suicide may think that they are making the right decision in ending their patient’s life because they are terminally ill. They may think they are ending their suffering and not their gifts and dreams. There is an argument by people in favor of this procedure. They argue that if the patient and the family agree, then there is no harm in carrying out the patient’s wish.

Though the terminally ill patient might not be capable of making a rational decision, the truth still remains that no one, even the family member, can assume a choice for an incompetent person without consent from the patient. Why on earth would one think of ending another person’s life? Life and death should not be placed in the hands of one another. The act of dying is determined by nature. Therefore, people should allow nature to take its place. If, in any case, a patient is making a decision, he needs to consider the mental and physical aspects of death. If physician-assisted suicide is considered ethical, it will expose our nation to frequent untimely death.

Challenging the Compassionate Facade: The Ethical Imperatives

Some people regard physician-assisted suicide as a compassionate means of ending pain in terminally ill patients. No matter how they see it, it is murder and is never morally justified. It is considered as killing with an intention. People are trying to make a sound as being medically compassionate and acceptable. Human life is never something to determine whether to continue or not. It can never be measured by the condition.

People think and speak as though human life is like a building you can decide whether to demolish it or not. Again, legalizing it can lead to other people deciding whether someone to live or not. For example, if an aged woman has a stroke or tumor and can not talk or stand, their family member could as well consider physician-assisted suicide because they don’t want to face the stressor they want to give her ‘mercy’ death. Incredible! Physicians should sort out new ways to cure their patients instead of killing them.

In conclusion, physician-assisted suicide is unethical and immoral. It should never be allowed or legalized. It is potentially giving lethal medication to the body and may be done by a doctor. The same doctor that is licensed to cure the body of illness is also involved in murder and killing. It is time for doctors to identify their morals and go by the ethics of their profession. They should consider human life and health as their topmost priority. With this, the world will realize that life is so precious and worth more important than mere emphasis.


  1. ‘Doctor-assisted suicide should not be legalized’ (, December 2018) accessed 13 December 2018
  2. Palliative care and the quality of life. Meier DE, Brawley OWJ Clin Oncol. 2011 Jul 10; 29(20):2750-2. Jun 13, 2011 – 2011 Jul 10; 29(20): 2750–2752.

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The Ethical and Moral Concerns Surrounding Assisted Suicide. (2023, Aug 15). Retrieved from

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