The Justification of Physician-Assisted Deaths

Decisions on physician-assisted suicide have recently been handed down by the Ninth and Second Circuit Court of Appeals. These decisions are the latest developments in a rapidly unfolding legal history in which a consensus has been reached that no criminal liabilityinfo-icon exists for withholding or withdrawing a lifesustaining treatment when physicians are directed to do so by a patient or an authorized surrogate.
Given that there is a moral and legal right to refuse a lifesustaining treatment and that suicide has been decriminalized, it might seem that patients and physicians are at libertyinfo-icon to reach an agreement about how deathinfo-icon will occur, as the Ninth and Second Circuits' decisions faintly suggest.

Tom Beauchamp
Subject Area: 
Published in: Indiana Law Review
1996 Volume 29, No 4 Pages 1173-1200

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