Is Phyiscian Assisted Suicide Ethical? Essay, Research Paper
Physician-Assisted Suicide is Ethical
Jack Kevorkian addresses many aspects of physician-assisted suicide. First, he addresses the Hippocratic oath, stating that there is no oath concerning a doctor?s moral codes. Next, he addresses the slippery slope argument. Kevorkian states that the only way the slippery slope argument will take place, is if everyone is insecure and cannot control their individual actions. Finally, Kevorkian proves that physicians are no longer the mediators of death. By using the Mercitron, a physician would not be responsible for the death of another human being. Through all of these aspects of euthanasia, Kevorkian explores moral codes within the medical field and within society, proving that there is no set of moral codes labeled as the Hippocratic oath.
The Hippocratic oath, according to society, is a set of moral and ethical codes that limit a doctor to doing the right thing. Now, what is the right thing? Each individual has a different set of moral codes. In addition, if each individual has a different set of moral codes, how can each doctor have the same set of moral codes? Kevorkian answers this by saying that he never took a Hippocratic oath after graduating from the University of Michigan. Most doctors have allegedly taken this oath of ethics, yet not one doctor can pinpoint the exact oath. Next, if you ask the doctors who invented the Hippocratic oath, you will get varied replies, most focusing on Hippocrates in ancient Greece. As Kevorkian points out, ?the oath was something occasionally mentioned in medical school but rarely studied in detail.? In short, the Hippocratic oath is almost like a fairytale that professors tell their medical students.
The slippery slope argument is a weak man?s argument. The reason being, in order for the slippery slope to take effect, people have to lose total control over their decisions and actions. The slippery slope is backed up by a bunch of what if?s. If we allow one thing to happen, a chain reaction of events could occur. Kevorkian, however, states that ?the President?s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine concluded that ?much more is needed than merely pointing out that allowing one kind of action could conceivable increase the tendency to allow the unjustified action.??
The Mercitron is a machine that ?provides a lethal intravenous solution to assist people in suicide?. This machine prevents physicians from being the mediators of death. Kevorkian proves that doctors are not needed to commit suicide. Either the patient or the patient?s family can give the injection or insert the IV to inject a lethal solution into the patient. Society may think that it is wrong for a doctor to interfere with the suicide of a patient because it is morally wrong. Kevorkian then says that suicide may be wrong for society, or certain individuals, yet for the patient, suicide might be morally right. As Kevorkian states, ?it is wrong for any and all members of society to even try to judge the morality of an individual?s action, deemed by that society to be immoral, when the individual concerned disagrees and performs the action in such a manner as not to infringe the autonomy of others or society?s official rules of culpability.? Therefore, most likely, a doctor is not held responsible for the suicide of an individual. When an individual has made a decision to commit such an act, as suicide, no person should pass judgment on them as long as they do not interfere with the lives of others.
In conclusion, Jack Kevorkian has stated three facts. First, that there is no written set of rules known as the Hippocratic oath. Second, that the slippery slope argument has no bearing on the actions of society; it is the individual?s actions that influence society. Third, physicians are no longer needed to be mediators of death. When committing suicide, individuals may inject themselves or have a family member inject them with the lethal solution. Jack Kevorkian has proven that each individual has there own set of moral codes that they live by, so doctors must be no exception.