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Physician Assisted Suicide
Transcript of Physician Assisted Suicide
Imaris Star Vera
What is Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS)?
" A situation in which patients receives the means of death from someone, such as a Physician, but activate the process themselves" (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2008).
PAS ≠ Euthanasia
Physician Administrated, not patient administrated.
“The ANA prohibits nurses’ participation in assisted suicide and euthanasia because these acts are in direct violation of Code of Ethics for Nurses. Nurses have an obligation to provide humane, comprehensive, and compassionate care that respects the rights of patients but upholds the standards of the profession in the presence of chronic, debilitating illness and at end-of-life.”
Vacco v. Quill (1997)
Michigan v. Kevorkian (1999)
Baxter v. Montana (2009)
Arguments for PAS
Respect for patient autonomy
Family of patient will be relieved of any burden
Right to privacy
Duty of physician
Arguments against PAS
Sanctity of life- "playing god"
Potential for abuse- coercion
U.S. States & PAS
New Mexico (2014)*
18 years old+
Diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within 6 months.
Decision making competence
The attending physician must be licensed in the same state as the patient.
The attending physician must inform the patient of alternatives, including palliative care, hospice & pain management options.
If either physician determines that the patient's judgment is impaired, the patient must be referred for a psychological examination.
Patient must make two oral requests to his/her physician (at least 15 days apart) with one of the requests written with two signed witnesses.
Prescribing physician & confirming physician must mutually confirm diagnosis & prognosis of patient.
Prescribing physician must request (but may not require) the patient to notify their next of kin of the prescription request.
"Inducement to commit suicide under paragraph (a)(2) when the other person commits suicide as a direct result of the assistance provided is a Class 4 felony...Inducement to commit suicide under paragraph (a)(2) when the other person
to commit suicide as a direct result of the assistance provided is a Class A misdemeanor."
Utilize resources to help manage distress
Promote frank & open discussions within nursing at the highest level of leadership in an effort to discourage secrecy & misunderstanding.
Encourage nurses to seek the expertise and resources when confronting the complexity of these issues
Avoid use of inflammatory language ( e.g. pull the plug)
Collaborate with local nursing organizations in states where PAS is legal
regarding what professional obligations do and do not exist when nurses in those states are present at such requests.
American Nurses Association. (2013). Position statements: Euthanasia, assisted suicide, and aid in dying. Retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org
Bostrom, B. A. (2011). Gary Blick v. Division of Criminal Justice. Issues In Law & Medicine, 27(1), 73-77.
Department of Health: Agency of Human Services. (2014). Patient choice and control at end of life. Retrieved from http://healthvermont.gov/
Frank, R., & Anselmi, K. (2011). Washington v. Glucksberg: patient autonomy v. Cultural mores in PAS. Journal Of Nursing Law, 14(1), 11-16.
Friend, M. (2011). Physician-Assisted Suicide: Death With Dignity? Journal Of Nursing Law, 14(3), 110-116.
Hehir, J. (2014). Physician-assisted suicide: political, pastoral challenges ahead. Health Progress, 95(1), 6-10. Nursing Law, 14(3-4), 110-116
People v. Kevorkian. (n.d.). Findlaw. Retrieved from http://caselaw.findlaw.com/mi-court-of- appeals/1372937.html
Rose, T. (2007). Physician-assisted suicide: development, status, and nursing perspectives. Journal Of Nursing Law, 11(3), 141-151.
Vacco, Attorney General of New York v. Quill, 117 S.Ct. 2293, 138 L.Ed.2d (1997). Retrieved from http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/95-1858.ZS.html
Washington State Department of Health. (2014). Death with dignity act. Retrieved from http://www.doh.wa.gov/
"Supreme Court rules in favor of Quill"