A Physcian’s Opinion on Assisted Suicide
An Interview with Dr. Hardwick
As previously discussed and examined, Physician Assisted suicide has been an ever growing controversial topic in America, especially since the legalization in California. While anyone can research and provide evidence for or against this topic, it will take time for everyone to realize that this process does more good than harm. In examining this topic, it seemed only natural to interview an actual physician on the background of this topic and get a firsthand opinion on the subject. Dr. Hartwick was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule, running the ER at the McFarl0 Hospital in Ame, Iowa, to answer a few questions regarding this subject and give his educated opinion.
Dr. Hartwick was very professional with his answers to the controversial questions at hand, while still giving great insight into the mindset of someone who would be on the other end of providing the life-ending service that a patient requested. He defined Physician-Assisted Suicide as “essentially a doctor prescribing medication to a patient with the dual intention of that medication ending said patient’s life.” He goes on to mention that this does ultimately violate the Hippocratic Oath that a physician must take in order to practice medicine. “We must first do no harm, and participating in assisted suicide, although per the patients request, ultimately contradicts this oath.” Hartwick however goes on to mention that we do not live in a perfect world and in specific cases there is a necessary action for Assisted Suicide, if the patient feels as though there is no other end to their daily suffering.
Physician Assisted Suicide, Dr. Hartwick, assures us is only an option to those who are terminally ill and have no other end in sight, and that the medication prescribed would only speed up the patient’s inevitable death. As a country, there are currently six states that have legalized this assisted suicide, and Dr. Hartwick points out the success that has grown from this step into a new frontier. “If a person has the right to life, they must then have the right to die; the two go hand in hand.” This major controversy in this subject is where the law is struggling to catch up to society’s beliefs, however, slowly but surely, state by state, the nation is progressing to allow a person to make their own decisions rather than have some government entity deciding that their suffering is better.
Although Dr. Hartwick, resides in Iowa, a notoriously conservative state, he leans toward the progressive liberal side in this aspect. When questioned about the specific controversies within the subject of Physician-Assisted Suicide, Dr. Hartwick brings up where the controversies arise, but explains how they are truly not relevant. “Personally, I do not have any opposition, however religion and politics play a major role in the opposition of this concept. Religions advocate that suicide is a sin, which again proves how this act should be a personal decision, since Religion does not apply to everyone. Politics have not caught up to medicine yet, and politicians like to cover all of their bases, in the rare case that a doctor went on a rouge killing spree or something to that aspect. However, as we’ve seen with it being legalized in a few states, it has been ultimately successful.”
Dr. Hartwick ends the interview with his personal belief that “while it does violate the Hippocratic oath that I took as a physician, I believe that in cases of extreme suffering of the terminally ill, that physician assisted suicide is necessary on a case to case basis, and ultimately would benefit the patient.” In this interview Hartwick exemplifies his beliefs with necessary explanations that allow the audience to see just how a physician who see’s death on a daily basis, still believes that sometimes the good of the individual is more beneficial than the good of the masses. Allowing the legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide, would allow one person to escape the permanent pain and suffering they have on earth, and pursue an afterlife hopefully free of the Hell they will continue to experience if they cannot be helped.