Although physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia are two very distinguishable means of death by definition, morally, I believe that both are wrong. First of, euthanasia is a means of death by which the doctor or physician directly acts to ends the life of the patient. On the other hand, physician-assisted suicide alludes to the the physician or doctor providing the instrument of death to the patient, so that the patient completely voluntarily terminate their own lives. However, in both instances, the doctors plays such an influential role in the death of the patient that I find it extremely difficult to not categorize the doctor as equally guilty. Also, in my opinion, both of these methods of death are forms of suicide, which I believe is one of the least honorable way to die. There is not really a difference in someone overdosing on prescription pills to kill themselves, someone asking a medical facility to prescribe them a lethal dose of medication to die, and the doctor personally administering or injecting the lethal dose of medication into the patient. In all of those cases, the death is not natural. Although, I personally cannot place myself into the pain and suffering that terminally-ill patients experience, injecting any form of instrument of death to take one’s life does not sit right with my conscience and moral values.
For terminally ill patients who desire to quickly end their suffering by dying peacefully and honorably, they have to realize that physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia are not their only option. In fact, I believe it is more of a beautiful process for terminally ill patient to withhold or withdraw from medication and other technologies keeping them alive and instead, and let nature do its job. For example, a patient named Riva was diagnosed with severe emphysema and vigorously fought the disease for up to 20 years with numerous medications and treatments. However, after severe weight loss of up to 70 pounds and accumulation of lung-related ailments, Riva simply wanted to end her life, and she complained that the medical treatments were bringing her more discomfort and when she was asked for what she really wanted, Riva responded with, “I just want to die. Can’t they give me something for that?” Since euthanasia is not legal, the doctor explained that simply refusing medication and doing something like not eating will terminate her life. And that is exactly what Riva did and consequently, she was able to die in a couple of days with her family by her side.
For more information on Riva’s story: http://www.deathwithdignity.org/2013/06/05/dying-on-her-own-terms-a-tribute-to-courage