One of the major conditions to allowing a physician aided death, or physician aided suicide is that, the patient must voluntarily and competently request for the process without coercion from any other party (Battin, Rhodes, & Silvers, 1998). The multicultural society today requires multidimensional considerations of issues such physician aided death. However, research indicates that, little attention has been accorded the religious, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds, which shape the varied views on physician aided deaths (Mark, 2010). The conflicting cultural and religious viewpoints of physician aided deaths have been studied in different countries among the patients, families, and health professionals.
Culture is an important component of the society, which shapes the thinking on different aspects of interactions in the society. The Indian culture is diversely comprised of its religious and customary concerns on physician aided death. A study on the health professionals indicated that a majority of these professionals oppose physician aided death notwithstanding their religious affiliations (Khan & Tadros, 2013). Various Supreme Court case rulings on PAD have been made based on cultural considerations, such as the case involving Waldo Herman and Dr. Jack Kevorkian (Hetherly, 1998). Another study conducted in Egypt revealed that the physicians and other health stakeholders, based on their cultural beliefs, strongly opposed physician aided deaths (Gloth, 2014).
The religious and legal perspectives on physician aided death seem universal across all religious affiliations and in most legal institutions. Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists, and other religious affiliations consider PAD as a violation to the innocent human right to live. With the exception of Oregon State’s Death with Dignity Act, several legislations have been passed outlawing PAD. God-like arguments have been used by legislators to consider human life important, thereby outlawing PAD. In most cases, courts have ruled against PAD arguing that human beings do not have the moral or legal right to take away the life of another human being.
Khan F. & Tadros G. (Jan-Mar, 2013). Physician-assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in Indian Context: Sooner or Later the Need to Ponder! Indian Journal of Psychology Medicine. 35(1): 101–105. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.112220
Gloth F. M. (2014). Physician-assisted Suicide: The Wrong Approach to End of Life Care. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved from http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/assisted-suicide/to-live-each-day/physician-assisted-sucide-wrong-approach.cfm
Hetherly, M. (1998). WORTH NOTING. Humanist, 58(3), 43.
Kopelman L.M., & de Ville K.A. (2001). Physician-Assisted Suicide: What are the Issues?: What are the Issues? Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer
Battin M. P., Rhodes R., & Silvers A. (1998). Physician Assisted Suicide: Expanding the Debate. United Kingdom: Psychology Press.
Mark F. C. (2010). Physician-assisted Suicide: Religious Perspectives on Death with Dignity. Tucson, Arizona: Wheatmark, Inc.