Physician-assisted suicide

Physician-assisted suicide is one medical issue that has been treated with controversy for several decades because it overlaps with other systems such as culture, religion, justice and ethics. Physician-assisted suicide, also called euthanasia, pertains to a procedure of hastening death in a patient so that the further suffering and misery can be avoided (Materstvedt et al. , 2003). There are several forms of physician-assisted suicide and each form is based on the individual who requests that a patient be put finally to rest.

Voluntary physician-assisted suicide involves the direct request of a patient to end his suffering that is related to his medical illness. This form is characterized by an awareness of the patient that he is in pain and that he expresses that he wants his experience of pain to end as quickly as possible. The other form of physician-assisted suicide involves family members requesting that a patient be assisted to his death in order to shorten the patient’s suffering. In this case, the patient is generally unable to communicate due to a comatose condition, or the patient is too young to speak, such as those of newborn patients.

Physician-assisted suicide may also be classified according to the mode of administration to the patient. The administration of a toxic drug that would immediately induce death to a patient is considered as active physician-assisted suicide. On the other hand, the discontinuation of a particular treatment in order to induce the deterioration of the patient to his death is classified as passive physician-assisted suicide. Other examples of passive physician-assisted suicide involve the disconnection of the life support system from a patient and allowing him to eventually die due to poor physiological functioning of the body.

There are several theories that attempt to explain the driving force behind the occurrence of physician-assisted suicide. One possible theory is that the patient may not have been cared for in the best possible way, resulting in extreme discomfort, as well as pain. It should be understood that serious medical disorders such as cancer is far more difficult for a patient to accept due to at least two reasons. Firstly, it is human nature that an individual will think that he will always be healthy and that any kind of illness is not part of his life.

Thus, when an individual realizes that he is sick or has been diagnosed with an illness, the feeling of helplessness sets in and the patient will feel depressed because he was not able to prevent the illness from setting into his body. Secondly, an even graver disease such as cancer extremely disables and weakens an individual and thus he will feel far more helpless than a patient with a simple bacterial infection. The patient would also deny the idea that there is no cure for his cancer and thus instead of facing that truth, the patient would try to find a way to avoid such realization and ask for a treatment to end this reality.

The presence of pain also magnifies a patient’s mental condition of his illness and the idea of avoiding such reality seems much more enticing than struggling to fight against cancer. When a patient experiences extreme discomfort during his serious medical illness such as cancer, it is thus important to establish the healthcare priority that terminal stage cancer patients be given as much palliative care as possible in order for the patient to remain calm during his last stages of life.

It is important that a cooperative effort be put in by physicians, nurses, technicians and family members in keeping the patient as comfortable as possible, without overdosing the patient with painkillers and tranquilizers. However, there will always be a point when so much morphine could be administered to a patient yet he would still experience unbearable pain that is associated with the disease.

It is thus also possible that the patient be allowed to participate in alternative medical treatments such as music therapy, prayer groups or acupuncture, for the simple goal of providing other methods of treatment that will result in alleviating the patient’s condition. Another theory behind the force of requesting assistance from a physician to assist in death is that the physician himself did not completed examine the patient’s condition, resulting in the patient’s poor and miserable hospital stay.

It is possible that the physician did not competently look into the entire condition of the patient and was only treating the most obvious signs in the patient. Most of cancer patients have co-morbidities, or co-existence of other medical disorders such as depression or paranoia. It is unfortunate to know that there are some physicians that only prescribe treatment regimens for the patient’s cancer condition and the depression is left to worsen. Thus there is a great possibility that the patient was not in his right mental state when he requested his physician to help him out in stopping the pain that he is experiencing with his cancer.

At the same time, the physician may know of the co-morbidity of depression in his cancer patient, yet he decides on his own that he will only treat the cancer and that he is always amenable to assist the patient in euthanasia should the patient eventually feel hopeless with regards to his worsening medical condition. Medical research reports have shown that cancer patients who have reached their terminal stages often request for physician-assisted suicidal procedures in order to prevent their further suffering and misery.

It is thus important to determine whether a cancer patient is suffering because of the characteristics of the disease itself or simply due to the poor healthcare that is being provided to the patient. It has also been determined that approximately 30% of patients of earlier requested for physician-assisted suicidal procedures changed their minds after allowing them some time to seriously think about their decision. It has been observed that patients who have changed their mind with regards to death have found other sources of hope such as stronger faith in their religion or more encouragement from their family and friends.

This observation thus shows that physician-assisted suicide is not the main solution in ending suffering and misery in a patient. This observation also validates the theory that alternative treatments should always be provided to a patient in order for him to have more choices with regards to have to deal with such a difficult medical condition. Illness is definitely a challenging and draining mental and physical condition and the support, encouragement and caring that may be received from family, friends and healthcare personnel will help in augmenting the condition of a patient.

Alternative treatment methods may also provide a way for a patient to keep his mind off his illness. For example, music therapy allows a patient to listen to relaxing and inspirational music and this may even decrease his chances of getting more depressed. Other patients would participate in painting sessions and this medium may serve as an outlet for the patients to release their contained emotions of fear, anger and bitterness. Yoga may also serve as an alternative medical treatment for cancer patients, wherein these individuals learn ancient techniques in breathing, stretching and relaxing.

The participation in alternative methods, coupled with medical and psychological therapy may assist in alleviating the condition of patients. The encouragement, support and prayers of family members and friends are also helpful in strengthening the morale of the patient. It is thus a good sign that euthanasia is illegal in some countries, because this means that physician-assisted suicide is not considered a legal and acceptable option by the court and the society at large.

It is also important to understand that terminal diseases are extremely challenging and it is also human nature for a patient to lose hope, become angry and deny that he is currently experiencing such difficult situations. However, there is always room for a patient to change his outlook in life, based on the options that can be provided to him, and eventually the patient may realize that there is still more to look forward to in his life, amidst his current medical condition and physical weakness. 2. Research in anthropology has established that violence is a common characteristic of the primate species (Walker, 2001).

Among humans, violence is generally associated with criminal behavior, and this unlawful action commonly happens in almost every city around the world. Law authorities have actively examined the social conditions that may have influenced the increase in crime rates in cities and countries, yet it is also known that criminal behavior is also a result of psychological conditions that are often observed among specific types of personalities. It has been earlier postulated that the behavior of an individual is the resultant conglomeration of ethics, morals and will of a person.

However, it should also be understood that each action or behavior of an individual is stimulated by a factor in his immediate environment, and the physical action that is imparted by an individual is completed by the action of the nerve cells that are present in every part of the body of the human being. Another view of behavior is the concept of Cartesian dualism, which pertain to the concept that the mind and the brain are separate and independent entities, yet these two communicate and coordinate with each other.

Current research reports indicate that the criminal justice system should also uphold the scientific results obtained from neurological investigations because there is a significant amount of evidence now that shows that human behavior is a simple and direct result of a reaction to a specific stimulus. To date, neurological data show that the violent behavior that is commonly seen among criminals is due to several factors. According to Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990), the main force behind the criminal behavior of an individual is self-control.

Their theory thus describes that criminal behavior is simply an uncontrollable action that is performed by an individual in response to a particular stimulus. According to the self-control theory, a criminal act is similar in mechanism as to an addiction such as nicotine addiction or alcohol abuse because the action of smoking or drinking alcohol results in a temporary yet satisfying and gratifying emotion within an individual. Similar to any kind of addiction, a criminal act is also characterized by an individual’s feeling of poor self-control.

In this situation, an individual could not proceed with his normal or routine activities without the act of puffing on a cigarette or having a drink of alcohol. A criminal also feels that without performing an action that is socially categorized as unacceptable, he feels he is not in control of himself and that he could not proceed with any else before him unless he gets this particular action completed. The self-control theory describes that this concept of not being in control is an inherent mental condition that may have started during his early years in life, such as his childhood years or around 7 or 8 years old.

In the case of criminal behavior, the founders of the self-control theory explain that crime is a simple action that immediately results in attaining satisfaction within an individual. This concept of crime thus can be correlated with several factors of the general theory of crime. According to the general theory of crime, a criminal act pertains to a simple action that does not require any meticulous planning or wide knowledge of a particular person or place.

The general theory of crime is generally associated with several elements that are associated with the concept of routine actions because it has been established that most crimes that have been successfully performed are not conceptualized in detail. In addition, individuals who are characterized to have low levels of self-esteem are most susceptible to perform such criminal acts. Criminal behavior is also highly correlated with the immediate environment. An example is the low numbers of easy victims or the availability of accomplices that could assist in performing an unlawful act.

The general theory of crime also explains that individual will always continue to act in unacceptable and unlawful ways even as they age or change in their status. For example, an individual may still continue on acting in a criminal way even when he is already married. Unfortunately, these married criminals are often left behind by their spouses as they realize that their partners will never change in their habit. A similar condition may be observed among offenders who work in an office or in a company.

These individuals are observed to maintain their criminal behavior at the workplace and they generally end up being terminated from their positions. The self-control theory of crime thus provides an argument that an individual with a history of criminal behavior is incapable of maintaining a marriage or staying on as employed because they frequently are tempted to behave in an unlawful way and they are found guilty of such acts and are terminated from their positions left behind by their spouses. The main reason behind such poor performance in marriage and at work is that the individual has no control over his actions.

The criminal force within an individual is so strong that he feels incomplete and useless unless he does commit an unlawful action. The occurrence of violence in a workplace generally results in the accumulation of injury and possibly the loss of life. The term workplace may pertain to an area where routine work is performed hence this may pertain to an office, clinic, store or factory. Reports have established that around 20 workers are murdered and thousands of co-workers are physically harmed at the workplace, due to violent and criminal acts committed in the area (Kwesiga et al.

, 2007). In addition to physical harm and death, the workplace may also experience a loss in income, or production if the workplace is a company that generates an expected number of products per day. The workplace may also loss wages and work hours because the rest of the staff will not be allowed to enter the workplace while a criminal investigation is being conducted. It is thus important to understand that violence in the workplace is also an important concept to examine in the field of criminology.

Analysts have identified common features that are associated with violence in the workplace. It has been established that workplaces involved with retailing and service make up around 50% of the violent incidents. In addition, majority (%85) of physical attacks often take place in the workplace. The job of driving a taxicab has been identified to be the most dangerous work because it involves dealing with unknown passengers that may request to be driven to remote areas in order to commit their crimes.

In another setting, healthcare institutions and community centers have also been identified as risk areas for physical attacks that are considered non-fatal. Preventive measures have been suggested to decrease and ultimately prevent any cases of violence in the workplace. For example, the employees of the workplace should be educated with respect to prevention and avoidance of instances that may involve physical attacks on them. For workplaces that handle money in transactions with the public, safes should be used to prevent criminal from attempting to grab and break into the workplaces.

Employees should also be advised to only handle minimal amounts of cash during their shifts, in order to detract criminals from performing their unlawful actions. The advent of computerized transactions has also campaigned for the use of debit cards during transactions so that the employees do not have to handle cash. In addition, criminals will have a difficult time in procuring the money if debit cards are involved in a transaction because digital settings are in place and it is so easy to deactivate debit or credit cards.

The installation of barriers between an employee and the customer can also prevent a criminal in performing an illegal act. The barrier will also provide extra safety to the employees. The attachment of cameras at the workplace will also provide documentation of any criminal act that could be conducted at the workplace. Bullet-proof windows will also help keep the employees safe from any physical attacks from criminals. References Gottfredson, M. R. and Hirschi, T. (1990). A general theory of crime. In: Jacoby, J. E. (ed. ): Classics of criminology, 3rd ed.

Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc. Kwesiga, E. , Bell, M. P. , Pattie, M. and Moe, A. M. (2007). Exploring the literature on relationships between gender roles, intimate partner violence, occupational status, and organizational benefits. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22(3),312-326. Materstvedt, L. J. , Clark, D. and Ellershaw, J. (2003). Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: A view from an EAPC ethics task force. Palliative Medicine, 17,97-101. Walker, P. L. (2001). A bioarchaeological perspective on the history of violence. Annual Review Anthropology, 30,573–596.