Revisiting Physician-Assisted Suicide: Reaffirming the Christian Hippocratic Legacy

Support for physician-assisted suicide is growing as a result of ever-expanding cultural pressure. Healthcare professionals should oppose this trend and recognize that physician-assisted suicide is a misguided answer to human suffering. For 25 centuries, the Hippocratic Oath has served as the ultimate credo of the medical professional, and serves as a more trustworthy guide for professional ethics than contemporary culture. In this essay, I reflect on the Hippocratic Oath from a Christian perspective and reaffirm that physician-assisted suicide, despite growing in cultural acceptance, remains a misled answer to human suffering and as such is dangerous for the profession of medicine. Physician-assisted suicide corrupts the medical profession, relies on a distorted view of autonomy, and subverts true compassion. The way forward for the medical professional, in contrast, is an ethic of a “good death” comprised of healing, palliative care, and true compassion.