What Is Physician Assisted Suicide (PSA) And Palliative Care?

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Physician assisted suicide is a relatively new topic that is causing a lot of discussion about the ethics and legal right for a person to choose to end their life. This continues to be a controversial topic in the healthcare field because research and medicine are evolving constantly, bringing about changes in societies view on death. As a member in the healthcare field it is important to explore alternatives for ones end of life care and understand the perspectives that society comprises about physician assisted suicide. It is important to first define the differences between euthanasia, physician assisted suicide (PSA) and palliative care as they have some similarities, but their implications are vastly different. Euthanasia is defined …show more content…
To help protect the patient and make sure they are making sound judgments, there are criteria that the patient must meet before obtaining a prescription. To obtain a prescription, the patient must be a resident of California, Oregon, Vermont or Washington, 18 years of age or older, mentally competent and “diagnosed with a terminal illness that will, within reasonable medical judgment, lead to death within six months,” ("How to Access," n.d.). The patient also has to be able to self-administer and ingest the medication and be assessed by two physicians to determine if they met all the criteria ("How to Access," n.d.). The physician starts with a medical assessment where they explore the underlying reason as to what makes the patients situation unacceptable to live, as well as reassessing and focusing on palliative efforts (Quill, Back, & Block, 2016, p. 245). Assessment of mental status is performed to make sure the patient is mentally competent and assessment of emotional support is also looked at, as well as, the patients personal history and values to help align the request of PAS (Quill, Back, & Block, 2016, p. 245). After all the assessments are done and the patient meets all criteria, the patient can put in a request for the prescription. The goal of meeting the criteria is to ensure that the patient has been made aware of all possible options, such as palliative care, that are available and the patient has all the resources that they could need to make sure they are making the decision they want. In Oregon where PAS has been legal for 18 years, 1 in 500 directly access the option, 1 in 6 terminally ill patients talk with family about PSA, and 1 in 50 talk to their physician about PSA (Quill, Back, & Block, 2016, p.

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