The essence of this conversation is on the debate surrounding the term “Physician-Assisted Suicide.” Most health professional agree that this term (that we’ll call PAS) applies only to patients that are diagnosed as terminally-ill. The debate arises in the ethics or moral implications. My understanding (as in a PBS series I watched) of the Oregon Law supporting PAS is simply about a prescription consisting of enough sedative-type medication to stop respirations much like a “deep” sleep. Of course, there is much involved regarding counseling and hospice management prior to this discussion and making a decision. For more information, you can refer to:
Whether you support PAS or not, the subject is of much interest and involves individual rights. In fact, there are ethical and moral issues attached to most health care issues. How did we get to the point of even having to address Physician-assisted Suicide?
Can an Advance Directive state “I want to be comfortable even if this (medication) hastens my death?” What is the definition of comfort – pain, respiratory distress, not being a burden, being alone, being physically in an unwanted environment, feeling bored with no sense of quality – who gets to make that decision? The individual? The family members? The physician? The politicians?
Articles in this Website often will look into these ethical dilemmas and varied personal values. Your own experiences and comments on this subject are most welcomed.