I'm going to speak bluntly.
Many docs in the US have a heart and while they may not openly assist in the death of a patient....they do find ways to assist.
The public has much trouble with this issue unless they've ever had a loved one suffer through a horrible prolonged death. I suppose this is understandable. It is a fine line to walk. Can a patient accurately judge? Will docs be overly eager? Will insurance companies use this as a way to increase profits by not having to pay out for terminal care?
I've never seen a doctor without moral issues concerning aiding a patient to end their suffering, I've also never seen one take those steps lightly. I've yet to see a patient inaccurately judge.......patient's know, they're living it, it's THEIR quality of life (or lack thereof) that is in debate. Insurance companies might be another matter all together. Having a Living Will and such help.......but it's not quite the same thing.
We are kind and compassionate enough to end an animals suffering. Yet we can't extend the same level of kindness and compassion to a human being. This is a very touchy subject for me as I've watched too many patients and people I love suffer through long painful agonizing deaths....begging to die toward the end. It's just wrong in so many ways.
Quality vs quantity is at the very core of this debate. There are many who believe life no matter what the conditions should take precedence and be vehemently protected. Quality of that life doesn't factor into it. Unfortunately there does come a point in human suffering, especially with certain illnesses and conditions, when the quality of life drops so low that the person enduring it is living through what would qualify as torture........24 / 7.....life literally becomes a living hell on earth........there is no pleasure, no joy, not even comfort......they can't find peace. Far too many people linger in this stage for months, some for a couple of years.
A less severe example of quality vs quantity:
I had a patient once, she was in her 80's, diabetic with renal failure and was a nursing home patient. To look at her you'd think nothing was wrong with her....except that the poor sweet woman was utterly miserable. Due to the renal failure she was on fluid restriction (too much fluid her kidneys couldn't process causing all sorts of nasties including heart failure) This poor woman would literally beg for a drink.....just a sip please.....every single chance she got. She was dry as a bone thirsty ALL THE TIME. If she thought someone wasn't looking.......silent tears would slip down her cheeks. The woman was in her 80s for pete's sake. How much longer (with her dxes) did she have to live anyway, maybe a year or so? Dear God in heaven give the poor woman a drink. Yup, it would cause other horrible things........but most people have no clue what it is like to be perpetually thirsty. omg Fortunately for her there was kind staff and they would sneak her sips through out the day when given the chance. Having renal failure and diabetes her diet was severely restricted. There she sat in a nursing home......really wasn't up to doing anything except sit in a chair. Gee, that is just something to make you eager to wake up in the morning. The woman is DYING, they're just dragging it out.
I told my girls when my disease reaches that point if they don't bring me water or try to keep me from it I may strangle them.