Physician-Assisted Suicide


Theethical question that is under consideration is whether euthanasiashould be legalized or it degrades the value of human life. Theargument is that mercy killing helps in ending pain among patients,especially who are terminally ill (Kopelman &amp Ville, 2012).Besides, (PAS) can assist in saving vitalorgans with the ill individuals so that they can be used to salvagelives of other people in the future. For example, practicing PAS on apatient who is suffering from throat cancer can save the kidneys,liver or other important organs with this particular patient(Kopelman &amp Ville, 2012). These tissues can be used later intreating other sick people who might be in need of such organs. Theessay will use the deontological theory in approaching the issue ofmercy killing. This theory is among the normative principles thatoutline the choices that are morally permitted, required, orforbidden. In this regard, the hypothesis guides as well as assessesthe choices that people decide to take. The theory does not judge theactions that people take by just looking at the consequences or thestate of affairs that the options bring. However, the presumptionholds that some alternatives will always be unethical and morallyforbidden. The hypothesis supports that euthanasia cannot belegalized on the basis that it brings an end to the suffering of thepatients who might be in great pain, and mercy killing can beconsidered as suicide in some religions thus amounting to crime.


Thedeontological theory argues that choices cannot be justified by theiroutcomes irrespective of whether the results are positive ornegative. The hypothesis argues that individuals cannot make unlawfulpreferences on the account that the wrong alternatives are being madeto prevent suffering (Nathan, 2015). Therefore, a decision is rightor bad depending on the decision’s conformity with the ethicalstandard. An action will be good if it is conforming to the ethicalstandards in the society or different professions. According to thedeontologists, a right action is preferred to a good one (Nathan,2015). This implies that an action should not be taken by an agentbecause it is good but right. However, any action that an individualdecides to take should be following the right outcome irrespective ofthe good results that it may produce. In this regard, some choicescan be right even if they are not yielding any good results,especially if the actions being taken have been permitted (O`Gormanet al., 2013). Besides, some actions can be right even if the personundertaking the acts is not obligated to do so, as far as themeasures have been permitted or legalized. According to theagent-centered deontological theory, agents such as physicians haveboth the right and obligation regarding the action that they cantake. A doctor has a duty to refrain from doing certain things suchas administering PAS. Agents also have the permission to act inparticular ways depending on their personal ethical standards(O`Gorman et al., 2013). Deontologists argue that an agent shouldalways be prepared to tolerate the evils that may arise from his orher actions. Furthermore, the agent-centered deontology maintainsthat human deeds must always come from the mind. This implies that anindividual must be willing to undertake some actions and should notbe forced to do so. Therefore, an action that an agent decides totake must be morally right according to his or her individual moralvalues. On the other hand, the patient-centered deontological theoryis based on the people’s rights. The theory argues that no oneshould be used as a way for producing positive consequences withouthis or her willingness to engage in the act. Therefore, no personshould be utilized by another individual for the benefit of a thirdparty without the agreement of the person whose labor, body or skillsare being used. The patient-centered deontological theory does notallow a killing of anyone even if their execution would mean savingmore lives, not unless the person to be killed is in total agreement.For example, the patient-centered theory would not support a body ofone soldier to be used to save other soldiers by touching an enemy’sbarbed wire, not unless with the consent of the particular soldier tobe sacrificed on behalf of the other soldiers. Therefore, any actionmust be permitted for it to be moral (O`Gorman et al., 2013).

Applicationof the Theory

Thedeontological theory is applicable in the issue related to (PAS). PAS can arise due to many factorswith the main aim of the act being the need to end the suffering ofthe patients, especially those waiting for their deaths while in pain(Nathan, 2015). The hypothesis argues that an agent cannot make anillegal option because he or she is trying to bring about goodconsequences (Nathan, 2015). For example, it is wrong for a physicianto help a patient to terminate his or her life barely because thedoctor has sympathized with the patient who is terminally ill. Theintention for a doctor who administers PAS might be to terminate thepain that a particular patient is experiencing. However, according tothe theory, the act of killing is illegal and should not be allowedor be undertaken whatsoever. On the contrary, deontologists arguethat the Right should be given priority over the good (O`Gorman etal., 2013). In this regard, physicians are only supposed to conductmercy killing only with the consent of the patient. This implies thatdoctors should not kill a patient even if he or she is in great painnot unless the sick person requests for PAS. In situations whereby apatient requests for euthanasia, a physician has the right andobligation to resist from assisting the ill person from committingsuicide according to the agent-centered deontological theory. Thedecision on whether to kill a patient or not should be made dependingon the physician’s readiness to tolerate the immorality that canresult from the act of killing. Therefore, patients should not forcetheir doctors to kill them, but rather the physician must be willingto commit the act. Besides, according to the patient-centereddeontological theory, patients should not be killed so that theirbody organs can be used to save lives of other people or just for thesake of relieving the patient’s families. It is unethical, forexample, to kill a person who is in great pain due to prostate cancerso that his or her kidneys can be used to treat other people withoutthe consent of the patient or his family’s approval. It is wrong tokill a sick individual so as to benefit other people withoutpermission from the sick person (O`Gorman et al., 2013).


Itis a mistake to let a patient continue living while in great pain andat the same time let vital organs that can be used to treat otherneedy patients get wasted when a patient dies after refusing to optfor euthanasia (Nathan, 2015). The deontological theory states thateuthanasia should be voluntary irrespective of the condition of apatient. PAS should be legalized so as to bring peace to sufferingpatients as well as relieving their families. This will help inreducing financial burdens as well as lessening the grief in familieswho have terminally ill individuals.


Inconclusion, the issue of euthanasia requires a critical analysis ofits possible benefits and shortcomings so as to make an informedjudgment on whether mercy killing should be legalized or not. PAS canbe seen as important since it helps in saving organs that are laterused to treat other patients, but at the same time,physician-assisted suicide degrades the human lives. According to thedeontological theory, PAS should be voluntary, and doctors should begiven the freedom to choose whether to undertake PAS or not. Besides,patients should not be killed if they do not ask the healthcare to doso. The deontological theory argues that patients have the right tosay if they want to be killed so as to benefit other needyindividuals or not. Therefore, the decisions that people makeregarding the physician-assisted suicide should always conform to themoral standards in the particular profession. For example, before adoctor agrees to undertake euthanasia on his or her patient, thephysician should consider the ethics in his or her field.


Kopelman,L. M., &amp Ville, K. A. (2012). Physician-AssistedSuicide: What are the Issues?.Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.

Nathan,R. (2015). Is Euthanasia Morally Permissible? Why or Why Not?. SoundDecisions: An Undergraduate Bioethics Journal,1(1),4.

O`Gorman,C. S., Macken, A. P., Cullen, W., Dunne, C., &amp Higgins, M. F.(2013). What is the difference between deontological andconsequentialist theories of medical ethics? IrishMedical Journal.