0

The full content of Annals is available to subscribers

Subscribe/Learn More  >
Position Papers |

Physician-Assisted Suicide

Lois Snyder, JD; Daniel P. Sulmasy, OFM, MD, PhD, Ethics and Human Rights Committee, American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine*
[+] Article and Author Information

From the American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine.


Requests for Single Reprints: Lois Snyder, JD, American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

Current Author Addresses: Ms. Snyder: American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

Dr. Sulmasy: Center for Clinical Bioethics, Room 236, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007.


Ann Intern Med. 2001;135(3):209-216. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-135-3-200108070-00015
Text Size: A A A

Medical professional codes have long prohibited physician involvement in assisting a patient's suicide. However, despite ethical and legal prohibitions, calls for the liberalization of this ban have grown in recent years.

The medical profession should articulate its views on the arguments for and against changes in public policy and decide whether changes are prudent. In addressing such a contentious issue, physicians, policymakers, and society must fully consider the needs of patients, the vulnerability of particular patient groups, issues of trust and professionalism, and the complexities of end-of-life health care. Physician-assisted suicide is prominent among the issues that define our professional norms and codes of ethics.

The American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP–ASIM) does not support the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. The routine practice of physician-assisted suicide raises serious ethical and other concerns. Legalization would undermine the patient–physician relationship and the trust necessary to sustain it; alter the medical profession's role in society; and endanger the value our society places on life, especially on the lives of disabled, incompetent, and vulnerable individuals. The ACP–ASIM remains thoroughly committed to improving care for patients at the end of life.

*This paper was written by Lois Snyder, JD, and Daniel P. Sulmasy, OFM, MD, PhD, for the American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP–ASIM) Ethics and Human Rights Committee. Members of the Ethics and Human Rights Committee were Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD (Chair); David W. Potts, MD (Vice Chair); David A. Fleming, MD; Susan Dorr Goold, MD; Vincent E. Herrin, MD; Jay A. Jacobson, MD; Joanne Lynn, MD; Daniel P. Sulmasy, OFM, MD, PhD; William E. Golden, MD; and Lee J. Dunn Jr., JD, LLM. This paper was approved by the ACP–ASIM Board of Regents on 27 October 2000.

Figures

Tables

References

Letters

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Comments

Submit a Comment
Submit a Comment

Summary for Patients

Clinical Slide Sets

Terms of Use

The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.

Toolkit

Buy Now

to gain full access to the content and tools.

Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Advertisement
Related Articles
Topic Collections
PubMed Articles
Forgot your password?
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.
(Required)
(Required)