Sample Biology Research Paper on Physician assisted suicide “euthanasia”


This literature is peer-reviewed with many opinions, which are concerning the issue of suicidal cases that incorporate assistance from physicians commonly known as euthanasia. In this case, a doctor or any other health specialist helps patients that they feel they ought to end their lives. Many people visit clinics to seek for help in their ailing health. Those who attend to them are the health specialists, who are professionals in the areas of medicine and thus are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that they give the best to these patients. However, sometimes these health specialists neglect their responsibility. This is because in the recent past, many health specialists are advocating for euthanasia.

This involves the specialists giving some patients medicinal drugs that end their lives. This is unethical to humanism because every life has its Creator, who is perceived to be the only one to end life. In addition to this, the practice is unacceptable, according to the principles that are advocated by humanism. Humanism is about the study of the welfare of people and by the specialists, assisting to end lives of patients they think should not live ignores their welfare. This paper pays attention to this issue and gives a deeper analysis concerning it, beyond the contemporary views that various agents continue to hold about it. Part 1 of the paper talks about case study analysis using Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide and the second part will make an analysis of a current policy in the biomedical sector in USA.

Physician assisted suicide\”euthanasia\”

Policy Analysis in health institutions


Euthanasia is commonly used in the place of a physician assisted death case. However, these two words are different and receive different treatment by law, though they are similar in that they are used to accomplish the same mission. They are also similar in that they involve medical professionals offering some help to end lives of people, for instance, patients that they think are undergoing through a lot of pain and thus should die. Euthanasia involves a person directly taking an action that can lead another person to death (Dworkin, Frey & Bok, 1998). In this case, the individual taking the action does so knowingly and with the intention of causing death. An example could be a person injecting another with a lethal injection so that they could die. In some situations, when a patient suffers much pain that he or she thinks is unbearable and has no signs of improving, he or she may ask a health provider to relieve him from the pain. In this case, a physician can decide to give him injections that can end his life.

Physician- assisted suicide refers to provision of ways that can cause a person’s death. The physician will give some drugs that a person will take and they will later lead to death. The physician does so with full know-how. However, the slight difference does not make the subject matter of the two issues different and this makes them be used interchangeably. Different countries have different law provisions concerning these issues. In some nations, they are acceptable and in some countries that are taken to be crimes. However, applying humanism to the issue, it is unethical because it does not cater for the welfare of people. Instead of physicians helping patients end their lives, they are supposed to work hard to ensure that their health improves. This ought to work until the last point of the patient, death, if it occurs. They should devise ways of improving the patient’s condition using the knowledge they have but if death occurs, it should not be initiated by them, but the Creator is responsible for it. It is against their professional codes that provide that health specialists are to apply any of their professional knowledge or skills to help patients who need their help (Wasserman & Wasserman, 2009).

To develop informing literature concerning euthanasia, the case about Sigmund Freud will be used. He was a famous participant in the analysis of psychology but he suffered from a cancerous palate and this led him to engage in euthanasia. His doctor, who was Max Schur, relieved him from pain, as he called it. Freud suffered the disease for the last sixteen years and by the time he sought help from his doctor, he was in deep pain, that he thought it would not end but would later lead him to death. Freud was in deep pain, and this made his doctor have sympathy on him. Freud asked his doctor to end the suffering that he was undergoing by giving him some doses of drugs that would make him rest in eternal peace.

Since Max had witnessed the suffering that his patient had been undergoing, he had no option but to relieve the poor man from his suffering. Concerning this case, there are some ethical issues that relate to each of the two agents. Max, being a medical specialist can be questioned of the ethics he applied in his acts. To begin with, he was ethical enough to help the patient for all those years that he suffered for the palate. He never abandoned him but instead looked for all the means that could bring healing to him. He applied his professional skills and knowledge in an attempt to bring happiness back to the patient. Nevertheless, he was unethical to assist the patient in such a manner. He misused his professionalism by giving Freud sedatives that caused his death.

Freud was also unethical too. Having known that he suffered from the palate, he still started smoking and this worsened his condition. More pain invaded him and this is what made him earn much sympathy from the doctor. He would have attempted to maintain healthy behavior that would help him avoid bringing more infections to his body. When the pain was unbearable, he asked his doctor to relieve him from it and this led to his suicidal case. However, this could be justified using the situation that Freud was in. For more than sixteen years, he was in deep pain and showed no sign of recovering. Both on the side of the patient and on the physician, there are emotions that are witnessed, and they determined the judgment that was made by the two agents.

Whenever human beings develop negative emotions, concerning a tremendous situation, they tend to have little involvement in it to avoid being affected adversely. From the health history of Freud, situations were worsening day by day. There was no single sign that there would be recovery of the patient and this could have probably made the doctor think that the final destination of Freud would be the grave. Instead of allowing him to undergo so much pain, and this would just make him suffer more for nothing, as he would not heal, he probably thought that the best thing was to relieve him from the pain. Dealing with people’s lives is sensitive and touching especially when one realizes that they cannot change the situations they are in to bring better outcomes to those who are facing challenges. This probably what was the doctor thought, that Freud was only going to die and thus there was no need to undergo lots of pain, and yet he would not recover. When he realized that Freud’s tumor was not operable again, and he was in deep pain, he probably thought that Freud dying was the best thing. This could be the reason why he gave him sedatives that took him to a comma and never regained his consciousness.

Freud on the other hand, could have acted the way he did out of the unbearable pain he was in. For sixteen years, he suffered from the palate and later realized that he had a tumor in his jaw. He underwent surgeries and was then forced carry a limb an artificial limb and this inconvenienced him very much. However, the artificial limb caused irritation in his mouth that led to more suffering. In addition to this, he continued to smoke and more irritations were witnessed in his mouth, which led to more lumps. The situation continued to worsen and thus he underwent many operations to remove the lumps. The pain was unbearable such that he could neither sleep nor work. Later the tumor was inoperable anymore and this meant that more lumps were inevitable. This made Freud exhausted and saw death approaching. This is where he asked his doctor to relieve him from the severe pain, which he thought that would not end but would take him to his graveyard. The following day, the physician could not watch him suffer but instead injected him with a full dosage of sedatives that led to a comma, which he never woke up from.

A preferred solution to this case is undertaking of continuous training courses by professionals in their careers. In this case, a professional will be equipped with the necessary skills of determining what ethical action to take when faced with different situations (Roleff, 1998). For instance, considering that Freud was undergoing very much pain, the doctor would have been able to overcome the pity that he had on the patient, which led him to assist him commit suicide. Professionals, especially those that deal with lives of people tend to face emotional challenges that probably disclose their judgmental status and make them develop negative emotions. This may lead to them undertaking actions that are unethical, though they may be of help to patients who are in deep pain, such as euthanasia.

Training these professionals will harden their feelings and emotions and thus will not be tempted to assist patients commit suicide. They will be advised that they ought not to sympathize with patients but should always show them that there situations will improve even when they seem to be worsening. According to humanity, when faced with such a challenge, the Creator (God) is the only one who is allowed to take away life. A medical specialist will do anything that could save the life of a patient, but where situations cannot be mend; God comes in and takes away the life. This is always the last point of a physician, but they should be made to understand that until this point, they should work hard to save people’s lives.

To extend the policy analysis, a current biomedical policy in America that can lead to high chances of euthanasia will be used. Human beings are created to possess the nature that they always want to be by the side of their loved ones when they are undergoing challenging situations. For instance, to be precise, when one is dying, their relatives and friends will want to be beside their beds to console themselves. This is because, according to humanity, people want to stay close to their loved ones since they are born until they die. However, the policy of family members of a patient during operations has always raised ethical questions. The presence of family members can even trigger the mind of the patient to commit suicide. A patient may have self-pity when he sees how his family members are suffering emotionally and can ask his doctor to relieve the pain to avoid the suffering on the family members. This is not only raising questions in USA but also in other corners of the world (DeGrazia, Mappes & Brand-Ballard, 2011). Some countries, based on the principles that guide their biomedical ethics have accepted euthanasia and others have rejected it claiming that it is unethical. This has resulted to the policy having different sides, with some people considering it to be an obligation while others consider it as a right. Some of the organizations in USA that have maintained written documents concerning the issue include Emergency Nurses Association as well as American Heart Association.

However, the policy needs to be improved because it results to bad memories that could affect the lives of the family members later on, when their loved one dies being assisted by the same persons that need to provide help to him or her. It is so touching to see a loved one die in the hands of physicians such that to delete this memory becomes difficult. The question to be asked at this point is whether there is a guarantee that a person who is seriously sick will get the right help that he or she ought to receive from physicians. The obvious answer would be that there is no guarantee and this implies that family members are not fully assured that their loved one will choose to commit suicide by the help of the physicians or not. This brings the need to improve the policy because whenever a death case is witnessed at such a situation, the burden remains on the family members (Veatch, 19970. It is not ethical to allow people see their loved ones die in the hands of physicians and thus other ways of standing with the person by physicians could be advocated. This would avoid the sad memory refreshing in the minds of the family members.

To find a solution to the question whether it is ethical for the family members to witness the death of their loved one die in the hands of the physician who attends to him or her, the theory of utilitarianism will be used. The theory bases are more concerned with things that are good and the results of those actions. However, it is necessary to point out that everyone has their own definition of what good things are. In this case, they are things that are associated with good results. Its relevance in this issue is that it will help in determining whether it is good to practise euthanasia depending on the consequences that will be later realized. This practice may lead to positive or negative consequences. The theory goes ahead and outlines that a good thing results in good consequences while bad things, which are the things that lead to painful moments that inhibit a person from having result to negative consequences.

Some researchers have said that the presence of family members of a person who is seriously sick in the hospital helps the victim physically, psychologically and emotionally (Beauchamp & Childress, 2001). They will be able to give their loved one every support he or she needs, as they are able to witness the condition he or she is in. Some of the good consequences that result from this presence include that it will make physicians work harder to impose greater efforts to save the person than when they are absent. They will be able to receive emotional support from physicians that will relieve their fear and anxiety that their loved one will die. Physicians stay with them at the bedside rather than leave them in the waiting rooms and this makes the physicians more responsible, and this would probably lead to positive outcomes on the side of the patient thus euthanasia possibilities are reduced. It is important that whenever a person dies during extreme cases their family members will not blame the physicians. They will be able to see the great effort applied by them and will get a chance of attending to their loved one by giving him or her, an amicable goodbye.

On the other hand, some of the bad consequences of euthanasia include that they will bear a shocking moment on the side of family members and relatives who are left. This is the main reason for health attendants opposing this issue in some of the countries that reject it. In addition to this, some physicians have embraced it and have used other policies with the intention of getting a chance to exercise euthanasia. They argue that when family members have regular access to their ailing loved one, they interrupt health specialists and this may lead to bad consequences because the specialists will not be effective in their work. They attach this argument with the reasoning that family members also interfere with the private life of the patient while in the hospital (Nimrod, Griener & University of Calgary, 1988). When the patient is at a bad condition, the family members will be emotional and this may lead to bad consequences on the side of the patient due to the noise, as it will be difficult to administer treatment to him or her. In addition to this, in case of few health providers, the presence will just create commotions in the health institution, as there will not be enough people to attend to them and to their loved one. However, this is all meant to create some space for conducting euthanasia in extreme health cases of the patients they attend to. Lastly, the long memory of the tragedy of their loved one die is a bad consequence that can stay in their minds and thus they will live to put the whole blame on physicians, without knowing that their loved one asked for the help of committing suicide.


When the advantages and disadvantages of various approaches to euthanasia are weighed, there are more disadvantages than the advantages. This creates a need to improve the policies that support the practice to ensure there are more outcomes that are positive. Some nations have argued that there is no need for this policy in their health institutions. However, in countries where the policy is already operating, there could be some improvements. Some of the improvements include setting specific times for the family members to be at the side of their loved ones to ensure that their loved one receives moral support from them and this will reduce chances of committing suicide. In this case, health providers will ensure that whenever the patient is at a bad condition, the family members will not be allowed to see them to avoid emotional moments that could affect the treatment of the patient (Frederick, 1986). Allowing few members to be by the patient’s side would help to avoid commotions especially when there are few health attendants in hospitals. This will also reduce the thoughts of the patient engaging in euthanasia.



Beauchamp, T. L., & Childress, J. F. (2001). Principles of biomedical ethics. New York: Oxford University Press.

DeGrazia, D., Mappes, T. A., & Brand-Ballard, J. (2011). Biomedical ethics. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Dworkin, G., Frey, R. G., & Bok, S. (1998). Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press

Frederick, Md. (1986). Bioethics literature review: University Pub. Group.

Nimrod, C., Griener, G., & University of Calgary. (1988). Biomedical ethics and fetal therapy. Waterloo, Ont., Canada: Published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press for the Calgary Institute for the Humanities.

Roleff, T. L. (1998). Biomedical ethics: Opposing viewpoints. San Diego, Calif: Greenhaven Press.

Veatch, R. M. (1997). Medical ethics. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Wasserman, D., & Wasserman, C. (2009). Oxford textbook of suicidology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.