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Physician Assisted Suicide:
Annotated Bibliography
Lyndsey York
Academic affiliation: Oklahoma State University
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Boehnlein, James. "The Case Against Physician Assisted Suicide." Community Mental Health Journal 35.1 (1999): 5-14. An article that explains in great detail many of the arguments against physician assisted suicide. Details on arguments such as: Personal autonomy vs. Social Imperatives, Social Roles of Physicians and medical economics are all present. This article is very successful in its attempt to explain that there are too many social and economic arguments against physician-assisted suicide to allow it to be an acceptable practice. The article also very briefly explains some of the religious issues of euthanasia and briefly argues what the role of a physician should be. This article is a very understandable article that goes into great depth dealing with the case against euthanasia.

Callahan, Daniel. "Vital Distinctions, Moral Questions: Debating Euthanasia and Health Care Costs." Arguing Euthanasia. Ed. Jonathan Moreno. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995. 173-90. A book that approaches the controversy of physician-assisted suicide and the right to die. This selection discusses the moral and medical issues that are often presented in arguments against physician-assisted suicide. It discusses an idea dealing with the distinction between killing and allowing a patient to die. The selection argues that "it makes no difference whether we killed or allowed to die; we are equally responsible morally" (183). It is suggested that a person who turns off a respirator is morally wrong if there is no reason to do so, however is it morally right if that person feels they have a reason to do so. This is a very organized and complex book that is important to bring new ideas of morality and medical issues to the controversy of physician-assisted suicide.

Doyal, Len, and Lesley Doyal. "Why active euthanasia and physician assisted suicide should be legalized." British Medical Journal 323.7321 (2001): 1079-081. An article that deals with some of the arguments for the legalization of physician assisted suicide. It begins with a brief case in hopes to get the reader to empathize with the patient. This article looks mostly at the moral arguments against assisted suicide and then argues the theories behind the arguments. It promotes the idea that if withdrawal of life sustaining treatment is beneficial to the patient in any way then death constitutes a moral good. This article does a great job of discussing a certain case and relating it to the different ideas dealing with the morality of this issue. This article is not lengthy however includes very useful information dealing with ideas in support of physician assisted suicide.

Fraser, Sharon, and James Walters. "Death-Whose Decision? Physician-Assisted Dying And The Terminally Ill." Western Journal Of Medicine 176.2 (2002): 120-24. An article that comments on many of the current issues dealing with physician assisted suicide. Some basic principles discussed included family autonym, individual autonym, democracy and justice. The article clearly takes a stand for euthanasia and encourages that "A democratic society that honors justice and liberty should permit these divergent opinions and allow dying people a degree of freedom in when and how it ends"(124). The article also goes into some detail on the different laws that have been set forth in different states regarding physician-assisted suicide. The article merely skims the surface of the controversy surrounding euthanasia but puts together a unique idea in favor of physician-assisted suicide.

Frileux, S., C. Lelievre, M. Sastre, E. Mullet, and P. Sorum. "When Is Physician Assisted Suicide or Euthanasia Acceptable?" Journal of Medical Ethics 29.6 (2003): 330-36. This article deals with the fact that there are many people who were opposed to assisted doctor suicide from the beginning, however now are saying that there are certain situations in which it is morally and medically okay to assist a patient in suicide. An article that covers an experiment that was used to study what factors affect peoples judgment towards physician-assisted suicide. It looks at many factors such as age, mental impairment and patient request. It suggests that people based their judgment on several factors and that may people believe that assisted suicide should be legal but only under circumstances. This is interesting article that is a little difficult to follow, however is important in understanding what causes people to have different opinions under different circumstances.

Mak, Yvonne Y, Glyn Elwyn, and Ilora G. Finlay. "Patients Voices Are Needed In Debates On Euthanasia." British Medical Journal 327.7408 (2003): 213-16. An article that promotes that idea that legalization of assisted suicide might be somewhat premature. The article suggests that legalization should not be approaches until it is known why patients request assisted suicide and whether or not better care at the end of life would change their mind. The article also touches on some of the issues that are presented against physician-assisted suicide, however does not go into much detail on the ideas presented by those in favor of legalization. This article is easy to understand and is important in bringing about a new idea surrounding the legalization of physician-assisted suicide.

Rogatz, Peter. "The Positive Virtues of Physician-assisted suicide." The Humanist 61.6 (2001): 31-35. Promotes the idea that there are two principles that support physician-assisted suicide, including patient autonomy and the physician's responsibility to relieve suffering. This article discusses many issues that people have with physician-assisted suicide and then each is succeeded by an argument to support physician-assisted suicide. One strong idea that is introduced is that many people against physician-assisted suicide believe that the patients that request this service are depressed or have not been properly treated. Argued is the fact that many patients who wish to end their life are dealing with a severe loss of dignity that leads to a life of misery and despair. This article does a thorough job of discussing many issues presented against physician-assisted suicide and then also looks at the opposing side of each issue. A detailed article which is successful at presenting a comparison between the pros and cons of physician-assisted suicide.

Traina, Cristina L. "Religious Perspectives on Assisted Suicide." Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 88.3 (1998): 1147-155. Discusses what religion says about physician-assisted suicide and also what feminist philosophers have contributed to the case against physician-assisted suicide. An article that gives details on the different views among several different religions such as Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Muslim. In particular this article deals with the negative ideas that are expressed by those in the religious community. The article however promotes the idea that religious ground is not a good ground on which to prohibit physician-assisted suicide because it invites counter-arguments that assisted suicide is a matter of religious freedom. A detailed article that touches on several different religious views of assisted suicide and is important in understanding were many of those that oppose assisted suicide are coming from.

Young, Robert. Voluntary Euthanasia. 2002. 27 Sept. 2004 <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/euthanasia-voluntary/>. Defining euthanasia, there is a better understanding of what exactly euthanasia is and what different types there are. Voluntary euthanasia is when a person makes a decision to make a request to help them die. Non-voluntary euthanasia is when there is not a decision or a request made by the person themselves. Finally involuntary euthanasia is when a person opposes the help and receives it on the contrary. Listed are several objections dealing with the moral issues of voluntary euthanasia, which help to put different perspectives in mind. This website is very well put together and contains a good basis for explaining what euthanasia is and exactly why it has become such a issue in the world today.

Yount, Lisa. Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. New York: Facts On File, 2000. A book that looks at the laws that are associated with physician-assisted suicide as well as giving detailed descriptions of different court cases that have been important in determining the legal status of physician-assisted suicide. It clearly explains that suicide is not illegal however there are laws that forbid assisting in suicide. It discusses many important acts such as the Death With Dignity Act and The Pain Relief Promotion Act. It also touches on certain court cases that give a better depiction of how the rules of physician-assisted suicide are often stretched and puts constant debate on the issue of whether or not assisted suicide should be legal or not. This is a sophisticated book that is important to understand the laws surrounding assisted suicide and different issues that were present in different court cases.

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