Physician-Assisted Death

Physician-Assisted Death

Topic Overview

Physician-assisted death refers to a practice by which physicians provide the means for a person to voluntarily cause his or her own death. This is usually done by prescribing lethal doses of medicine. Although indirectly participating in the person's death, the physician does not directly cause the death. Only a few states have legalized physician-assisted death.

A person with a terminal illness may think about physician-assisted death. Among the factors that may cause a person to consider ending his or her life are pain, distress, and fear of becoming dependent on others. A person who is dying may be concerned about being a burden to others and may not realize that loved ones want to provide care as an expression of love and as part of their own healthy grieving.

Often when a person with a terminal illness considers physician-assisted death, his or her physical or emotional symptoms are not being managed effectively. Symptoms associated with the dying process (such as pain, depression, or nausea) can be controlled. Talk to your health professional and family about your symptoms, especially if these symptoms are so bothersome you are considering ending your life.

Related Information

Credits

Current as ofApril 18, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine
Jean S. Kutner, MD, MSPH - Geriatric Medicine, Palliative Medicine

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.