Running Head: PATIENT-ASSISTED DEATH VS EUTHANASIA 1Physician-Assisted Death in the US vs. Euthanasia in the Netherlands, Belgium, CanadaName Institution Course Date
PATIENT-ASSISTED DEATH VS EUTHANASIA 2Physician-Assisted Death in the US vs. Euthanasia in the Netherlands, Belgium, CanadaThe concepts of assisted death and euthanasia are often confused by some scholars, but thereunderlies an elaborate difference between the two. For decades now, the two ideas have beencontroversial and emotive topics regarding the underlying frameworks of biomedical ethics. A report fromthe World Health Organization (WHO) states that over half a million people commit suicide every year inthe low and middle-income nations. In all these deaths, the physician-assisted deaths account for less thanhalf of the total deaths, and the procedure is limited to a few wealthy jurisdictions. Euthanasia, on theother hand, also account for most deaths in countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, and Canada, wherethe practices are legal. Euthanasia is the act only undertaken by physicians to intentionally end the life ofa person at his or her request. Upon the request, the physician then administers a lethal substance toterminate life. Euthanasia is often confused to Physician-assisted Suicide/Death (PAS). In PAS, a personapplies the lethal subsistence on himself upon the recommendation by a physician. Even though countriessuch as US, Belgium, Netherlands, and Canada legalize or ban euthanasia or PAS for different reasons,both PAS and euthanasia are necessary if the underlying ethical frameworks and procedures are followedto the latter as seen in these countries. Physician-Assisted Death in the USThe Physician-Assisted Death is legalized in only five of the fifty states in the US. The five statesinclude Oregon, Vermont, Montana, Washington, and California. In New Mexico, the legislation waspassed in 2014 consistent with the underlying practice but was reversed following an appeal in August2015 (Nordqvist, 2016). On the other hand, euthanasia is banned in all states in the US. Oregon becamethe first state to legalize PAS in October 1997 following the approval of “Death with Dignity Act.” Thisact allows competent adults from the age of 18 with a life expectancy of fewer than six months andterminal illness to receive medications, through voluntary self-administration of lethal doses to end life(Castro et al, 2016). The doctor must prescribe this dose only for this purpose. Any other provisionbreaches the ethical considerations of PAS. According to the act, the self-administration of such
PATIENT-ASSISTED DEATH VS EUTHANASIA 3prescriptions is not considered suicide, but death with dignity. Nevertheless, many Catholic hospitalsopted out of this practice.
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- Fall '19