Physician-Assisted Suicide: Compassionate Liberation or Murder?
Medsurg nursing : official journal of the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses 2010 Mar-Apr; 19(2): 121-5
PAS is legal only in Oregon, Washington, and Montana. Studies show nurses receive requests for aid in dying from patients (Asch, 1996; Ferrell et al., 2000: Kuhse & Singer, 1993; Schwarz, 2003; Volker, 2003; Wurzbach, 2000). The simple answer to these requests is that the nurse is prohibited in participating in assisted suicide or euthanasia by the Code of Ethics for Nurses and by the ANA position statements (ANA, 1994). In this article, the author attempted to present a balanced view of the ethical issues on both sides of the question of PAS. Honoring the autonomy of a patient does not require participation in PAS. However, nurses who support PAS speak of the patient's autonomous choice and their choice to assist in ending suffering of terminally ill patients. As more states pass ballot initiatives or laws supporting PAS, nurses will be faced with the legal choice to participate in the process of PAS by providing information on the option and attending to the patient who has taken the lethal drug. Nurses need to consider their comfort with the idea that patients may choose to accelerate dying.
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