Hostility Towards Assisted Suicide

by jmckoymarchand on October 18, 2013 - 8:50pm

Hostility Towards Assisted Suicide


The article “Anti-Euthanasia Doctors Hostile to Quebec’s Assisted Suicide Bill” on behalf of CBC News highlights the present situation concerning Bill 52, the bill proposed by Quebec in which aims to legalize assisted suicide. The purpose of this article intends to inform the general public that the assisted suicide debate is far from one sided as physicians are shown to be in strong disagreement towards this bill. Furthermore, the article conveys the impression of persuading society into second guessing Bill 52 as another other option is introduced in the article which does not resort to euthanasia.


Bill 52 has shown to be supported by many; however, there are also a lot of people who happen to be on the opposite side of the debate as well. Although assisted suicide has obtained the support of all four parties of the province’s national assembly, they’re opposed by many of the doctors working in the field who will be expected to act upon the suicidal requests of the patients. Nevertheless, Bill 52 shall not oblige any physician to do so out of coercion/force, but it will require those physicians to seek willing doctors. Dr. Gerald Van Gurp, a Montreal family doctor who specializes in palliative care for terminally ill patients states “I don’t want to continue in [this] field if the law passes […]”. He explains that patients who request help in dying are most of the time in psychological turmoil and physical pain. Consequently, he states that “in his 30 years of practise he’s rarely encountered a case where a patient’s pain cannot be relieved” and that these cases of relief have been due to the supportive relationships on behalf of doctors and nurses. The implication here is that Van Gurp doesn't feel the need to introduce euthanasia, but to introduce high quality palliative care instead.


One can see that the main point, and quite arguably the only point that supports the author(s) idea, having doctors in disagreement of the bill, is the first quote stated by Dr. Van Gurp above. The quote mentioned serves as a clear illustration that supports the idea that physicians are hostile towards the bill. It furthermore implies strong feelings as this doctor in particular is supposedly ready to leave the field he’s been working in for 30 years if the bill were to pass. All in all, this issue makes for an immense social issue because this bill would supposedly serve as an “enormous door” that would completely “revolutionize ethics and law” according to Dr. Marc Beauchamp, an orthopedic surgeon who serves as the spokesman of the alliance consisting of the anti-euthanasia doctors. Another reason is that it’s an issue that can affect many people. This is because the population grows older, and as it does, lots of people may or may not have the option to end their own life if this bill were to eventually pass in the future.


     I am one to believe in the right to autonomy and the pursuit of our own best interests. I don’t understand why politics are put in place to interfere in the decision of ending one’s own life. That being said, I think people should rightfully decide what happens to their own body. After all, I think it’s safe and reasonable to say that people know what’s best for themselves and if euthanasia turns out to be one of those things for certain people, then I think they’re in the best position to decide as opposed to anything or anyone else.


I one hundred percent agree with you. If a person is suffering and there is nothing that can be done to make them better, except “relieve pain” it is not a life worth living. It comes down to the quantity or quality debate. I don’t feel that people should have a say on how others want to live their lives, it is up to them to decide if they want to live or not. I do understand how some doctors may not feel comfortable taking someone’s life because it is obviously something that would be very hard to do, especially in palliative care where the doctors get to know the patients very well. However I do believe that if the person has, say, stage four lung cancers, and is suffering in palliative care, regardless of their pain level, they are being kept alive, restricted to a bed, which is not a way to live a life. I feel that they should be allowed to make up their own mind, and if one doctor doesn’t feel comfortable doing it, I’m sure there is at least one in a hospital that would understand and be able to comply. I feel that you presented this article very well and really showed both the side of the physicians, the politicians and your own opinion.

Very good choice of subject! In my opinion, euthanasia should be legalized but should have many restrictions in order to avoid some people taking advantage of it. In fact, executing euthanasia is a very big deal and should only be an option if the patient is terribly suffering and if he cannot possibly get better. This option should not be possible for other cases, where the patient is in a lot of pain but will eventually get better. I also believe that this right should not include patients of under 18 years of age, since children are, in most cases, not fully conscious of the impacts of their decisions. I also personally believe that certain hospitals should not practice euthanasia at all to encourage doctors that are absolutely not comfortable with euthanasia to continue working, without witnessing it. I am very curious to see what will result of this very controversial debate!

Interestingly enough I wrote a response to an article on this same topic for my sociology class and I found this one to be very similar. This whole idea of assisted suicide is an odd concept in my opinion. There is a difference between someone who is deathly ill in the hospital and is suffering and wants to end their life and hanging a noose for your friend themselves. People should have the right to do what they want with their life without someone preventing them from doing so. Although if its something that has to do with depression that is something that should be treated and not dealt with by death. The whole situation with doctors ending patient’s life is tough because I feel like it could end up with various lawsuits from family members saying how the person didn’t actually want to die or what not. I do agree with you on the fact that people should be able to do what they want with their body.

This has been, and probably will always be, a very controversial subject. On one hand, doctors take oaths to do everything in their power to save a patient, no matter the personal cost and no matter their feelings toward the patient. But on the other hand, they are obligated to do what the patient wishes them to do, no matter what their personal opinion is, they serve as an adviser to the patient. I think the key phrase pulled out from this article is, “in his 30 years of practise he’s rarely encountered a case where a patient’s pain cannot be relieved.” I agree with the first comment that if all that can be done while one is waiting to die is to relieve pain, it is not a life worth living. This doctor says that most of the people that request euthanasia are in "psychological turmoil," but in countries where this is legal, you have to go through extensive therapy and tests to make sure that this is actually something that you want to do; this decision is not taken lightly by anyone involved. There is a fine line between saving a life and keeping a person alive.

I agree completely on what you are saying. I do not see an issue with euthanasia as long as the patient has been diagnosed with terminal disease where they are more than likely going to suffer. I know that if I were dying of a terminal disease that I would like to have the option of euthanasia. Ever since my senior year participation in government class where we had to watch the HBO movie on Jack Kevorkian and the 60 minute special interview on him, I have became interested in assisted suicide and what peoples viewpoints are on it. I don’t see how it should be anyones business besides the patient and the doctor doing the procedure, if a person wants to do that because he has no chance of living then they should be able to make their own decision.

I completely agree with what you on your point of view about politics governing a person's choice to end their life. From a purely unemotional point of view, I understand why the government would want to pass this bill. With an aging population, health care costs for the government is only going up, and giving a dying person high quality care is expensive, and simply giving them the choice of ending their life would certainly cut the costs as well as give the patient a choice of how to end their life. However, we must also think of the doctors and nurses who will have to end the patient's life. It must not be easy, and making them do such a thing would not be healthy for their well-being. All in all, a good summary of the article and of your opinion, well done.

I agree completely with your view, when I think of assisted suicide and euthanasia my mind automatically goes to cancer patients. Cancer patients have to go through so much with chemo, radiation, all of the medications, and sometimes surgery. I think cancer patients should be able to decide if they call it quits and not continue with life knowing it will torture them. I also see the point of view of the doctor as well though, I think that if euthanasia was permitted who would be allowed to die? Could any person just walk into a hospital and call it quits, does the patient have to be ill, and are there family regulations? I am sure the list of questions go on and on but I am curious as to who will be allowed and what qualifies or allows a person to go on with assisted suicide? I agree that people should have their own choice whether to end their life or not, but what makes this different from suicide? Is it solely the medical attention related to the matter or is it that the people receiving the assisted suicide? I think that if this were to pass that this should be used as a last resort type situation, and that maybe counseling could be instructed. I like this article and I do think that euthanasia should be allowed, but maybe with some regulations.

For the most part I completely agree I think euthanasia should be legalized. No one should be able to tell you that you can’t end your life if you’re suffering, and all they can do to help you is give you some pain killers. You and you only, should have the choice to do what’s best for yourself and for some instances, even though it is sad to say, but that could be choosing not living. If doctors can make the choice to keep you alive and save you, then you should get the choice to say yes or no.. I understand this might be a very uncomfortable and controversial topic for doctors because they took an oath to save everyone, but why should they get the choice to make that we have to stay alive, when that’s maybe not what we want? I know it is very hard to ask of a doctor or a nurse to end another person’s because it would not be good for their mental health. But we should have control over our bodies. The part I don’t exactly agree with is if the person is under the age of 18. No one under that age should be given the responsibility to choose to keep their live or not. Also on a similar subject, I don’t believe in suicide. For the most part it has to do with depression, and for the most part with medicines and some therapy depression can be helped and fixed. Very good topic choice I would love to learn more!

I'm sorry, but I have to respectfully agree with the hostility against the assisted suicide. I understand that we as humans have a low tolerance for pain and suffering, but is that really a reason to support the killing of oneself? Is it possible that by enabling this form of suicide it is sending the message that suicide in general is an acceptable practice? To my knowledge the last "respectable" form of suicide was in the days of the samurai where death came before dishonor. Is alleviating the pain of oneself a more reasonable cause for death? I really do not understand how and I feel very strongly that assisted suicide is unethical and should not be a legalized practice.

This is an excellent point to touch on. I agree with you 100% percent and this should be available in the United States, too. But, you raise the interesting point about the doctors and how they would ethically deal with the passing of this law. This is an issue I had never considered and I wonder what results a survey of physicians on this topic would yield. I would also like to find out how many patients already in a situation where very little can be done for them would actually choose this alternative and how many would continue to suffer with the small hope of recovery. In my own experience, any time this topic had come up, my peers had agreed with the fact that this should be an alternative for terminally ill patients. Without a doubt, so many of us have known people in a situation where they are suffering and unfortunately may even be terminally ill. I would like my loved ones or even myself to have the option to end my misery, especially at an old age. I enjoyed your summary of the article and your opinions were very intelligent.

Assisted suicide is a very touchy subject and I feel that it can easily go both ways. I feel that each person should have the right to decide what they want to do with their lives. If a person is very sick and dying I think that they should have the right to end their life and suffering. Someone else should not have the right to keep a person alive against their wishes. If I had a terminal illness and was suffering terribly I would want the right to end my life. Now if a person is young and just depressed I feel as though that is a completely different story. I don’t think that a person should be able to have helping ending their life for no good reason. I believe that a line should be made as to what is acceptable assisted suicide and what’s not acceptable. This is a very touchy subject and so many things could go terribly wrong so I think that it should be well thought through. Very clear stipulations need to be made so that people fully understand the terms.

I have to say that I strongly agree with what you said. I also believe in the right to autonomy and I just can't fathom dictating what other people should do in regards to their own bodies. The fact that it has to do with pain and suffering only strengthens my opinion, these people are aware of all the pain medications and the like which we have nowadays, but at a certain point that just can't help and there are other issues with personal hygiene, feeding oneself, etc. If the patient has run their course with pain meds and they are just uncomfortable and in pain constantly they should be able to make their own choice. In fact, by not allowing them to make this choice it's condemning them to suffer, and that is just a miserable existence. I find it interesting that it was even suggested as a bill. I think that this bill will never pass in our lifetime because as you said, it opens up a whole can of worms with moral issues of where the boundaries for assisted suicide would begin and/or end.

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