Physician assisted suicide is something that has been debated upon by doctors for decades. Some believe that they have a duty to the patient, in order to fulfill their wishes. Others think that they do not have the right to “play God.”
“Living is better than dying until it’s not. But even if letting a person die is the right thing to do, its not what surgeons are built for. We are arrogant and competitive. We don’t like to lose and death feels like a loss even when we know it’s not. We know it’s time, we know it’s right, we know we did everything we could. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that we could have done more.”
Grey’s Anatomy Summary
In the Grey’s Anatomy episode “Suicide is Painless,” a terminally ill cancer patient request that Teddy Altman facilitate her death through physician assisted death. Teddy turns to Dr. Hunt because there must be two doctors to approve it. Hunt refuses to sign off because he does not agree. The woman’s husband also has some objections to his wife’s decision. She inquired about how long it would take for her to die after she took the medication orally and Teddy told her about 45 minutes. Hunt argued with Teddy because he believed that she was killing her patient, she told him she would find another doctor to approve the procedure. His wife asks her husband what he felt about her decision, he didn’t answer but instead went home to get wine and other items that she had desired. When Christina enters the room, the patient states that men may not know what they are feeling. When Hunt asks Teddy to perform one last test to show that the patient is not improving, she reluctantly agrees. While the test is being done, the husband wonders why the test is being done in the first place and Christina replies that the hospital is just coving its ass, Teddy thanks her for covering for her. Later Teddy prescribes the patient barbiturates that would ultimately kill her. Hunt enters the room and asks the patient if it was worth risking her life if they could potentially find a cure. The patient tells him that at a certain point death loses its scare factor and it becomes more frightening to hang on to hope because it makes her feel lonely and she doesn’t want to die alone. She says to Hunt, “I’m not afraid of this, why are you? Hunt then goes to be alone and sits outside in the rain on a bench. The patient’s husband comes and sits next to him and shows him the pills that are going to kill his wife. Hunt tells him that there is a moment after she takes the pills, right before she dies, where you can see all the pain disappear from her face and there will be relief. He tells her husband that at that exact moment he would know he did the right thing and to hang on to that moment. The patient takes the pills with her husband beside her and asks if he is scared, she dies moments later. Teddy arrives at Sloan’s apartment and tells him that she “helped her patient die today.”
Article Summary and Analysis
In the article Physician Assisted Suicide: For and Against, Andrew D. Boyd, University of Texas Southwestern at Dallas and member of the American Medical Student Association, explains the arguments for and against physician assisted suicide. Dr. Boyd uses logical and pathetic appeals to present the arguments. He explains the requirements one must have in order to qualify for this extreme treatment. Doctors want to ensure that the patients are not abusing the procedure and are making a sound conscious decision. Boyd also considers opposing sides of the argument. He considers whether or not assisting a patient in their death is ethical. Boyd also uses imagery, by comparing ending life sustaining treatment to a person sitting at the beach waiting to be drowned by the tide and another person just walking into the ocean and drowning. “The analogy is one of a person sitting on a beach waiting for the tide to come in to drown and then another person walking into the ocean to drown.” Diction, the author uses phrases familiar to the medical field in order to effectively communicate with individuals belonging to that grouping. The tone along with diction makes it apparent that the issue is serious and thought provoking.
Andrew Boyd wrote this article with the hopes of educating the public “about the different legal options concerning end of life care and the consequences of any changes in laws governing such care” (Boyd).
Grey’s Anatomy Analysis
Grey’s Anatomy appeals to the audience using pathos, ethos and logos. Logos refers to the clarity of the claim, the logic of its reasons, and the effectiveness of its supporting evidence. Ethos refers to the trustworthiness or credibility of the writer or speaker. Ethos is often conveyed through tone and style of the message and through the way the writer or speaker refers to differing views. It can also be affected by the writer's reputation, their expertise in the field, their previous record or integrity, and so on. Pathos is often associated with emotional appeal. An appeal to pathos causes an audience not just to respond emotionally but also to identify with the writer's point of view--to feel what the writer feels. Pathos thus refers to both the emotional and the imaginative impact of the message on an audience, the power with which the writer's message moves the audience to decision or action. Although they do not present the information in a factual way, they do maintain accurate information. Because Grey’s Anatomy is a TV show, their ultimate goal is different than that of the article. They aim to please the audience visually and stir up emotion in order to keep them attached to the show and improve ratings. But not only does the show entertain the audience, it also “serves to both influence public debate and increase public understanding about given topics” (Spence Jr.).
Writing done in the medical field is very factual and most of the time leaves out ethos and focuses on logos. The terms are usually difficult to understand because members of this discourse community have their own language. (Procedures, conditions, symptoms, etc.) Because of this, the audience is usually other doctors, surgeons, nurses, and other people who know the lingo. The popular media writing is watered down and put into simpler terms so that even the general public can understand what is being said and the claims being made.
· Communicate the facts
· Evaluate all angles of the argument
· Know the proper medical terms
· Answer who, what, when, where, why, and how
· Writing sound be clear, concise and to the point