Alternatives to Physician-Assisted Suicide
Kelly, David F.
American Journal of Otolaryngology. 1995 May-Jun; 16(3): 181-185.
Two alternatives to physician-assisted suicide are ethically supported and legally permitted by American law. They are proper pain management and the forgoing of life-sustaining treatment. Correct understanding of pain management in the context of the dying patient shows that it is always medically possible, and, assuming that the proper decision-maker agrees, it is always legally permitted to eliminate physical pain in an imminently dying patient. It is also ethically right and legal to withhold or withdrew life-sustaining treatment in many cases. These alternatives significantly reduce, though they do not eliminate, the perceived need for suicide and euthanasia. Neither euthanasia nor physician-assisted suicide should be made legal, although they may be morally right in cases in which adequate pain control is unavailable. Reasons for this conclusion are discussed.
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