WikipediaEvaluation Essay on Assisted Suicide (PAS)
Thegeneral definition of physician-assisted suicide is the death of aterminally ill patient, which involves the assistance of a doctor.Both the Wikipedia and non-Wikipedia sources agree on thisdefinition. However, the Wikipedia article differs a little with theother three sources because it further argues that assisted suicidedoes not always require the help of a doctor. According to Wikipedia,any person, other than a physician can assist a person in ending hisor her life. The Wikipedia source seems to purport that it is notonly the terminally ill who are assisted in ending their lives butany person with a sound mind willing to make such a decision. On theother hand, Boudreau’sarticle argues that PAS mainly involves terminally-ill patients withminimal chances of survival and undergoing unnecessary pain (2). Thediscussion of the entry will help to highlight the credibility of thesources employed, as well as, relate the information provided topeer-reviewed articles.
Physician-assistedsuicide has often been confused with euthanasia (Boudreau andSomerville 1). The Wikipedia and non-Wikipedia sources all argue thateuthanasia is different from PAS. According to these sources, in thecase of euthanasia, it is the physician who administers the legaldrugs or injection that causes the death of the patient. On the otherhand, in the case of PAS, the physician only provides the patientwith the knowledge or means of ending life but does not administer.After defining the terms physician-assisted suicide, the Wikipediaarticle presents the arguments for and against the act. However, itdoes not get into details of the arguments and leaves the readerstruggling to understand the pros and cons of PAS. In comparison, theother three non-Wikipedia sources are detailed and offer significantinformation not only about the arguments for and against but mostimportantly helps a reader to make a personal opinion about thetopic. For instance, the article by Boudreau and Somerville describevarious ethical perspectives regarding the legalizing of PAS andeuthanasia. On the other hand, the Wikipedia source only touches onthe legality of PAS in various countries but fails to explain theprevailing professional and ethical debates over the issue in thesenations.
Itis also important to point out that the sources differ in terms oftheir originality and credibility. The Wikipedia article has an openaccess that allows any person to edit its information. Additionally,it seems to present some information from a personal point of viewlacking the support of previous research carried on this topic. Incontrast, the non-Wikipedia sources present accurate statistics fromprimary research carried out by the authors. Moreover, the threesources back up their arguments with credible sources and do notallow any alteration of their material. The sources have up-to-dateinformation and offer the outcome of assisted suicide in healthcarepractices and care. The sources have undergone review from experts,unlike the Wikipedia entry whose information has not been reviewedfor errors, bias, or reliability of the data.
TheWikipedia entry encompasses probable bias that leans on the pros andcons side. The bias arises from the random writing style rather thanout of perniciousness, for example, the section itemizing support forassisted suicide does not offer comprehensive reasons and reliesheavily on specific data on the operations of organizations.Moreover, the section undecipherable and subject to be disregarded.The opposition section contains detailed data on why organizations orpeople oppose PAS. Thus, the entry does not provide dynamism as tothe support or disapproval of PAS, which makes it less credible. Onthe other hand, most of the sources cited in the entry are credible.Nevertheless, some sources are old (published in the early 1990s and2000s), which makes their information unreliable given theimprovements experienced in the healthcare industry. Significantly,some of the sources have only offered one-sided data and narrativeson the occurrence of PAS, which highlights probable bias. Otherarticles have provided comprehensive information usually supported bydata and studies, which makes them greatly reliable. Thus, thesources are quasi-credible and significant for providing generalinformation. However, it is clear that the information presented bythe non-Wikipedia sources is credible and up-to-date while, on theother hand, the Wikipedia article provides information that lackscredible sources hence in one way or another might be biased andmisleading.
Myunderstanding of PAS has significantly changed after reading thethree non-Wikipedia articles. Despite the fact that the Wikipediasources present the arguments for and against PAS, they do not offerinsightful knowledge that can influence a reader`s perception of thetopic. The entries succeed only in providing general information orskewed data for or against PAS. I have always been againstphysician-assisted suicide because I believed that it is only God whohas the final decision as to when and how a person should die.However, after going through the three non-Wikipedia sourcesparticularly the one by Hartwell and Gagan, the various reasons givenby nurses as to why PAS should be legalized in the UK hassignificantly changed my opinion. I have discovered that the topic ofPAS and euthanasia is highly delicate and controversial and I nowbelieve that in some circumstances, a terminally-ill patient shouldhave the right to end his or her pain and suffering in a dignifiedway.
Inone way or another, the Wikipedia article has been of help in myresearch on the topic of physician-assisted suicide. It offers someuseful background information about the issue, for instance, thearguments for and against and its legality in various countries. However, the Wikipedia source seems to be biased given the fact thatit is open to alteration by any willing person. There are somearguments that seem to be personal and lack backup from previousacademic research. Furthermore, most of the sources that theWikipedia article has cited are not credible since they are from theinternet and not from scholarly or peer-reviewed journals. It is alsoclear that the article has overlooked useful information such asmorality and ethical opinions surrounding PAS, the way forward forvarious countries in regard to this issue, should PAS be legalized ornot among others. Such information would not only make the sourcemore detailed but would significantly help readers understand theissue of PAS. I would suggest that Wikipedia revises the article andmakes it more reliable by including topics such as ethicality andmorality of PAS. Individuals allowed to edit any entered informationin Wikipedia should be experts in their fields. Consequently, areviewing body should be instituted to assess all data entered forreliability and bias. Additionally, Wikipedia should consider lockingarticles to prevent distortion of original information that leads tobiases. Lastly, Wikipedia should use credible sources to back up thearguments provided.
Boudreau,J. Donald. "Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia: can youeven imagine teaching medical students how to end their patients’lives?.”Issues (2016).
Boudreau,J. Donald, and Margaret Somerville. "Euthanasia and assistedsuicide: a physician’s and ethicist’s perspectives." Medicolegaland Bioethics 4.1(2014): 1-11.
Hartwell,Matthew, and Mark Gagan. "Nurse prescribers and legalizingassisted suicide in the UK." NursePrescribing 14.5(2016): 248-251.
Wikipedia.Assisted suicide. Web.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_suicide.