Ethics in Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide There are numerous controversial issues that currently affect the evolving field of psychology. Unsolved issues on human experimentation, abortion, genetic testing, animal rights are a few examples of themes that arouse conflict and contention. Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted suicide is yet another controversial issue that has particular relevance to the field of psychology because of the apparent moral and ethical dilemmas involved. Euthanasia, by definition a happy death, implies an easy or painless death. The purpose of this procedure is usually to end suffering analogous to the phrase mercy killing, the practice of putting to death a persons suffering from incurable conditions or diseases. This subject brings to discussion one of the oldest and most controversial issues in the practice of modern medicine. On one side of the argument, Euthanasia would appear to be contradicting the Hippocratic oath, which proscribes inducing death, even if it is requested by the patient. On the contrary, medicine could be referred to as the practice that not only prevents death, but enhances the quality of life through prevention of suffering. The issue of assisted suicide also stimulates the debate of legality versus situation ethics. Should jurors, in physician-assisted suicide cases involving Dr. Jack Kervorkian, vote on grounds that empathy and compassion takes precedence over the letter of the law? Antithetically, should the juror take the conventional or legalist perspective and enforce the law as not allowing room for such compassion? Is it is morally permissible for individuals to end their lives when they no longer wish to go on living or suffering? This central question of assisted suicide directly relates to the worries of how society would be impacted if Euthanasia were to be legalized. In addition to the societal impact of legalizing such a procedu…
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