Patient Assisted Suicide Essay

1882 Words 8 Pages
One of the greatest dangers facing chronic and terminally ill patients is the grey area regarding PAS. In the Netherlands, there are strict criteria for the practice of PAS. Despite such stringencies, the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (1992) found 28% of the PAS cases in the Netherlands did not meet the criteria. The evidence suggests some of the patient’s lives may have ended prematurely or involuntarily. This problem can be addressed via advance directives. These directives would be written by competent individuals explaining their decision to be aided in dying when they are no longer capable of making medical decisions. These interpretations are largely defined by ones morals, understanding of ethics, individual
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Literature also suggests patients who wish to die, once treated for depression, often revoke their request for PAS (Breitbart, Rosenfeld, & Pessin, 2000).
PAS is an effective means to die and an increasing number of patients are seeking it in states where PAS is allowed. A study of patient requests and physician responses to PAS in Washington State found that almost 10% of the patients who requested a prescription for PAS, but did not get one, committed suicide using means not provided by a physician (Back, Wallace, Starks, & Pearlman, 1996). These means included carbon monoxide poisoning, gunshot wounds, and medication overdoses. The result of successful PAS is 100% mortality. In a study of PAS, of the patients who received a prescription for the purpose of suicide and took it as directed, one-third died within one week of taking the prescription and the rest between one and four weeks (Back, et al., 1996).
Legal Implications
The bond between physicians, nurses, and other providers with their patients involves an underlying sense of trust. A trust that no harm will intentionally be inflicted by their providers upon them (Friend, 2011). The concept of self-determination is that

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