The issue concerning assisted suicide takes a special place not only in the sphere of medicine but also in our human society where there are both the supporters of this method and the opponents.
Supporters of assisted suicide and their ideas
The supporters of assisted suicide consider that any individual has his power of life and death and fight to implement this right into practice. They are sure that death sick people have their right to ask doctors for help to die. It is known that a famous French philosopher Montaigne argued that voluntary death is the best way to end life, and that all our life depends on the will of other people, only our death depends on our will. (Gorsuch 175)
Among those who died voluntary are Greek statesman and orator Demosthenes, Greek Athenian philosopher Socrates, Roman philosopher Seneca and others.
Opponents of assisted suicide and their ideas
The opponents of assisted suicide are mainly religious people who believe in God and think that assisted suicide contradicts the major principle of civilized society ”“ the value of human life. They protest against those physicians who help their patients to die. They consider that any physician should treat his patients no matter what diagnosis they have. A physician is not God. He has no right to kill his patients even if they themselves ask him to do it. The opponents of assisted suicide call this act “a crime”ť. (Smith 71)
The case of Ms. Adkins
This case which took place in 1990 impressed all the citizens of the United States. Dr. Jack Kevorkian helped his Alzheimer’s patient Janet Adkins who was 54 years old to die. Some time later it was disclosed that he even did not open her medical history, and did not make any examination. He met Ms. Adkins in his Volkswagen van where there was his so called “suicide machine”ť. The suicide machine had three unknown chemical solutions which were connected with an intravenous needle. It is known that Dr. Kevorkian tried to insert the needle several times. The assisted suicide of Ms. Adkins was a success. Later, Dr. Kevorkian wanted to legalized his practice in helping other patients to take their lives. He was convicted of a murder. It is also known that Dr. Kevorkian have assisted about 130 suicides. (Rubin)
Legalization of assisted suicide
Most countries of the world are against legalization of assisted suicide while there are some countries which gave legal sanction to this action. The Netherlands is one of them. In 1984, the Netherlands issued the law which made assisted suicide a legal action. It was declared by the Court of the Netherlands that it is a crime to kill patients but physicians can use this method as “an emergency defense under certain circumstances”ť. (Gorsuch 14)
In the United States, there are only three states which supported the practice of assisted suicide. They are Oregon, Washington and Montana. (Marker)
Assisted suicide can be represented in two forms: active and passive. The active form is when a lot of different medicines are used to kill the death ill patients. The passive form is when the physician takes no measures to save his patient. (Palmer 135)