Assisted Suicide

What is it?

Noun or verb, an act and/or a decision. 

Assisted suicide, also known as physician-assisted suicide, is when a person that is terminally ill or restricted by a medical condition to the point of low- or no- quality of life, chooses, knowingly and intentionally, to end their own life. In such a case, a doctor provides the knowledge and the means, and typically administers a lethal dose of a sedating drug at a predetermined time.

Why should you know?

The right to die is a highly debated subject which often splits groups in political and moral values. Those in support of assisted suicide argue for personal autonomy­— that an individual and their family should be able to make their own decisions without interference from the government.

Often, people report feelings of control and relief when granted the right to die, especially when it holds the promise of the end of suffering for those whose ailments have become too much to bare.

In contrast, those who argue against assisted suicide claim that it is morally unforgivable— that murder is murder. Some claim that doctors who allow or participate in the death of a patient have broken the Hippocratic Oath, which is historically taken by physicians, although is more traditional than it is mandatory.

 

Why now?

In countries like Switzerland, assisted suicide has been legal for years. In Canada, though, it was only approved in 2016. Since then, hundreds of patients have died with their dignity and chosen to, with the help of a doctor, take their own lives.

Since it was approved, many people, both doctors and patients (or their families), have come forward to admit their participation in the not-yet-legal practice. Some notable Canadians, like famous modern-era poet Al Purdy, have been discovered to have taken their own lives under careful medical assistance.

For example:

Rather than suffer through debilitating Parkinson’s Disease, she decided that assisted suicide would allow her to end her suffering.

Assisted suicide is legal in some US states, but not all.

Together, both doctor and patient decided that assisted suicide was the best option.

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