Think about a chronically ill patient who is suffering, debilitated and can't seem to get relief. Think about the patient with an end-stage cancer who is not obtaining relief of suffering from established medical treatments. Suppose these patients ask their doctor to "help" them die and end their suffering.
In the United States, only two states, Oregon and Washington, permit, under restrictions, physician assisted suicide. Physicians can prescribe a lethal dose of pills that the patient can take by themselves at their own time if they desire. Despite the two states laws allowing physician assisted suicide, there is, I think, ethical reasons why physicians should not be doing this.
But what are the ethics of assisting a patient in their act of suicide? Should society really allow this generally as it has in the two states, by physicians and with requirements? But why physicians? By assisting in suicide, wouldn't they be violating professional principles? Wouldn't they be degrading the professional trust that society has expected from doctors? Wouldn't this lead to physician encouragement for suicide rather than the patient electing end-of-life palliative care?
Why not allow family to assist their suffering family member in the patient's own wish for suicide? The family members who assist have no professional oaths to uphold. Is there concern that family members who have attended and cared for the patient and now tire will have their own personal interest to accelerate the patient's death?
Any suggestions for the answer the question: Who should assist in "assisted suicide": Doctor or Family? ..Maurice.