Franklin G. Miller, PhD; Joseph J. Fins, MD; Lois Snyder, JD; University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics Assisted Suicide Consensus Panel
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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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.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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