Franklin G. Miller, PhD; Joseph J. Fins, MD; Lois Snyder, JD; University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics Assisted Suicide Consensus Panel
Miller FG, Fins JJ, Snyder L, University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics Assisted Suicide Consensus Panel. Assisted Suicide Compared with Refusal of Treatment: A Valid Distinction?. Ann Intern Med. 2000;132:470-475. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-132-6-200003210-00008
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2000;132(6):470-475.
The continuing debate over the deeply controversial issue of physician-assisted suicide has been complicated by confusion about how this practice resembles or differs from refusal of life-sustaining treatment. Perspectives on ethics and policy hinge on the contested issue of whether a valid distinction can be made between assisted suicide and withdrawal of treatment. This paper uses three illustrative cases to examine leading arguments for and against the recognition of a fundamental distinction between these practices. The first case involves assisted suicide by ingestion of prescribed barbiturates, the second involves withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration, and the third involves a decision to stop eating and drinking. On theoretical and practical grounds, this paper defends the position that there is a valid distinction between assisted suicide and refusal of treatment.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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