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  1. Introduction.
  2. Description of physician-assisted suicide.
  3. Legislation relating to physician-assisted suicide.
  4. Ethical Positions.
    1. Pro.
    2. Against.
    3. My opinion.

My cousin died after battling a brain tumor for six years. Before being diagnosed, she had moved to Dallas, got engaged and planned to be a teacher. At her time of death, she did not even look like the same person. One of my mother's closest friends, Joan, a registered nurse, died of cancer a few years ago. It had been in remission several times and came back aggressively. She was very tall (5' 11?) and when she died, she weighed about 100 pounds. Almost a decade ago, my family traveled to Vermont to visit my step-grandfather in a skilled-nursing facility. He had been an articulate man who now could only yell indiscriminately and incomprehensibly (he died within months after our visit). My step-father said, ?If I ever get like that, slip me a pill.? I think he meant it too. My step-father, an Ivy-league graduate with a JD, is an intelligent man. He would not want to revert to being a child: helpless in his ability to express himself and in lack of function in caring for himself on a daily basis. This is about the choice of how one wants to live and how one wants to spend one's final days and how one wants to die. Would someone want to be on life support?a respirator-- or a feeding tube?

[...] In the first 56 cases of physician-assisted suicide that occurred in Oregon since the implementation of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, the reason to seek a physician's help in ending one's life was not due to pain but due to worries about loss of autonomy and control. ?Arguments supporting physician-assisted suicide highlight the duty to relieve suffering or stem from a vigorous understanding of the duty to respect patient autonomy. The suffering of patients at the end of life can be great. [...]

[...] The Harris Poll conducted in December 2001 among a nationwide sample of adults found that 65% believed that physicians should comply with the desires of a dying patient who asks to end his or her life agreed with the Oregon proposition that allowed for physician- assisted suicide for patients with six month to live. Against The medical profession has as a duty in general to protect the value of human life. This would apply to vulnerable members of society: the infirm, the dying and the elderly. [...]

[...] ?Public Continues to Support Right-to-Die for Terminally Ill Patients: At Least 6 in 10 Americans Support Euthanasia, Doctor- Assisted Suicide.? Gallup Poll News Service. June Humphry, Derek and Clement, Mary. Freedom to Die New York: St. Martin's Press. Hurst, Samia and Mauron, Alex. Ethics of Palliative Care and Euthanasia: Exploring Common Values.? Palliative Medicine Vol pg. 107-112. Jamison, Stephen, PhD. Final Acts of Love New York: The Putnam Publishing Group. Lorenz, Karl, MD, MSHS and Lynn, Joanne, MD, MA, MS. ?Moral and Practical Challenges of Physician-Assisted Suicide.? JAMA. Vol No (May 2003): pg McCuen, Gary E Doctor-Assisted Suicide and the Euthanasia Movement. [...]

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