Understanding Medical Right-to-Die Terminology

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Need to Know Information for Financial Planners

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CPHQ, CMP™

By Hope Rachel Hetico; RN, MHA, CPQH, CMP™

[Publisher-in-Chief and Managing Editor]dave-and-hope10

Nothing fans the fire of public awareness more than the language associated with a news report; like Death with Dignity [DwD].

Death with Dignity

Unfortunately, several monikers have become associated with the Death with Dignity [DwD] Act. The public and the media refer to it as ‘physician assisted suicide.’ This in turn has often been confused with euthanasia and the potential for abuse either by physicians, or by family members. Oregon law, for example, allows death-with-dignity, but expressly prohibits euthanasia – wherein a physician or another person intentionally administers medication to end another’s life.

Terms

The actual terms of the Act allow terminally ill Oregon residents to obtain from their physicians, prescription drugs, for use in self administered – lethal doses.  The act states that for those already terminally ill, ending one’s own life in accordance with the law does not constitute suicide

Assessment

The term “physician assisted suicide” is used rather than “Death with Dignity” because [Rx] and prescription drugs are not available without the express prescription of a patient’s physician. Yet, we ask if this is just legal parsing, or a real definitional distinction?

Conclusion

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3 Responses

  1. Hawaii Docs Form Group to Aid Assisted Suicide

    A group of Hawaii physicians is offering to write lethal prescriptions for terminally ill patients in a bid to test whether doctor-assisted suicide is allowed under state law. Unlike Oregon and Washington, the only two states where writing such a prescription is explicitly allowed and regulated, Hawaii has no law authorizing physician-assisted suicide.

    http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/04/16/prsd0417.htm

    Moreover, Hawaii Attorney General David M. Louie issued an opinion in December 2011 saying that manslaughter charges could be brought against physicians who write prescriptions with the intention of causing death.

    Clare

    Like

  2. NM Judge Rules Patients Have A Right To Die

    Competent, terminally ill patients have a fundamental right under the New Mexico Constitution to seek a physician’s help in getting prescription medications if they want to end their lives on their own terms, a state district judge just ruled.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/nm-doctors-can-prescribe-meds-to-help-people-die-judge/?utm_source=Copy+of+1.13.14&utm_campaign=11713&utm_medium=email

    Ann Miller RN MHA

    Like

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