Us Stance On Euthanasia Essay

1. Deliens L, van der Wal G. The euthanasia law in Belgium and the Netherlands. Lancet. 2003;362:1239–40. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(03)14520-5.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

2. Watson R. Luxembourg is to allow euthanasia. BMJ. 2009;338:b1248. doi: 10.1136/bmj.b1248.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

3. Steinbrook R. Physician-assisted death—from Oregon to Washington State. N Engl J Med. 2008;359:2513–15. doi: 10.1056/NEJMp0809394.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

4. Hurst S, Mauron A. Assisted suicide and euthanasia in Switzerland: allowing a role for non-physicians. BMJ. 2003;326:271–3. doi: 10.1136/bmj.326.7383.271.[PMC free article][PubMed][Cross Ref]

5. Smets T, Bilsen J, Cohen J, Rurup ML, De Keyser E, Deliens L. The medical practice of euthanasia in Belgium and the Netherlands: legal notification, control and evaluation procedures. Health Policy. 2009;90:181–7. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2008.10.003.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

6. Caplan AL, Snyder L, Faber–Langendoen K. The role of guidelines in the practice of physician-assisted suicide. University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics Assisted Suicide Consensus Panel. Ann Intern Med. 2000;132:476–81.[PubMed]

7. van der Heide A, Onwuteaka–Philipsen BD, Rurup ML, et al. End-of-life practices in the Netherlands under the Euthanasia Act. N Engl J Med. 2007;356:1957–65. doi: 10.1056/NEJMsa071143.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

8. Van den Block L, Deschepper R, Bilsen J, Bossuyt N, Van Casteren V, Deliens L. Euthanasia and other end of life decisions and care provided in final three months of life: nationwide retrospective study in Belgium. BMJ. 2009;339:b2772. doi: 10.1136/bmj.b2772.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

9. Van den Block L, Deschepper R, Bilsen J, Bossuyt N, Van Casteren V, Deliens L. Euthanasia and other end-of-life decisions: a mortality follow-back study in Belgium. BMC Public Health. 2009;9:79. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-9-79.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

10. Chambaere K, Bilsen J, Cohen J, Onwuteaka–Philipsen BD, Mortier F, Deliens L. Physician-assisted deaths under the euthanasia law in Belgium: a population-based survey. CMAJ. 2010;182:895–901. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.091876.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

11. Prager LO. Details emerge on Oregon’s first assisted suicides. American Medical News. Sep 7, 1998.

12. Rurup M, Buiting HM, Pasman RHW, van der Maas PJ, van der Heide A, Onwuteaka–Philipsen BD. The reporting rate of euthanasia and physicians-assisted suicide. A study of the trends. Med Care. 2008;46:1198–202. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e31817d69e8.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

13. Smets T, Bilsen J, Cohen J, Rurup ML, Mortier F, Deliens L. Reporting of euthanasia in medical practice in Flanders, Belgium: cross sectional analysis of reported and unreported cases. BMJ. 2010;341:c5174. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c5174.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

14. Onwuteaka–Philipsen B, van der Heide A, Muller MT, et al. Dutch experience of monitoring euthanasia. BMJ. 2005;331:691–3. doi: 10.1136/bmj.331.7518.691.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

15. Inghelbrecht E, Bilsen J, Mortier F, Deliens L. The role of nurses in physician-assisted deaths in Belgium. CMAJ. 2010;182:905–10. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.091881.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

16. Hendin H. Seduced by death: doctors, patients and the Dutch cure. Issues Law Med. 1994;10:123–68.[PubMed]

17. Hendin H, Foley K. Physician-assisted suicide in Oregon: a medical perspective. Mich Law Rev. 2008;106:1613–40.[PubMed]

18. Van Wesemael Y, Cohen J, Onwuteaka–Philipsen BD, Bilsen J, Deliens L. Establishing specialized health services for professional consultation in euthanasia: experiences in the Netherlands and Belgium. BMC Health Serv Res. 2009;9:220. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-9-220.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

19. Gamaster N, Van den Eynden B. The relationship between palliative care and legalized euthanasia in Belgium. J Palliat Med. 2009;12:589–91. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2009.0065.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

20. Oregon Department of Human Services (dhs) Death with Dignity Act. Portland, OR: dhs; 2007. [Available online at:; cited February 17, 2011]

21. Chochinov HM, Wilson KG, Enns M, et al. Desire for death in the terminally ill. Am J Psychiatry. 1995;152:1185–91.[PubMed]

22. Emanuel EJ, Fairclough DL, Emanuel LL. Attitudes and desires related to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide among terminally ill patients and their caregivers. JAMA. 2000;284:2460–8. doi: 10.1001/jama.284.19.2460.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

23. Breitbart W, Rosenfeld B, Pessin H, et al. Depression, hopelessness, and desire for hastened death in terminally ill patients with cancer. JAMA. 2000;284:2907–11. doi: 10.1001/jama.284.22.2907.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

24. Ganzini L, Goy ER, Dobscha SK. Why Oregon patients request assisted death: family members’ views. J Gen Intern Med. 2008;23:154–7. doi: 10.1007/s11606-007-0476-x.[PMC free article][PubMed][Cross Ref]

25. Ganzini L, Goy ER, Dobscha SK. Prevalence of depression and anxiety in patients requesting physicians’ aid in dying: cross sectional survey. BMJ. 2008;337:a1682. doi: 10.1136/bmj.a1682.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

26. Smith SW. Evidence for the practical slippery slope in the debate on physician assisted suicide and euthanasia. Med Law Review. 2005;13:17–44. doi: 10.1093/medlaw/fwi002.[Cross Ref]

27. Keown J. Euthanasia, Ethics, and Public Policy: An Argument Against Legalisation. Cambridge, U.K: Cambridge University Press; 2002.

28. Sheldon T. Dutch GP found guilty of murder faces no penalty. BMJ. 2001;322:509.[PMC free article][PubMed]

29. Sheldon T. Dutch court acquits suicide counsellor of breaking the law. BMJ. 2007;334:228–9. doi: 10.1136/bmj.39108.711794.DB.[PMC free article][PubMed][Cross Ref]

30. Bilsen J, Cohen J, Chambaere K, et al. Medical end-of-life practices under the euthanasia law in Belgium. N Engl J Med. 2009;361:1119–21. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc0904292.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

31. Smets T, Bilsen J, Cohen J, Rurup ML, Deliens L. Legal euthanasia in Belgium: characteristics of all reported euthanasia cases. Med Care. 2010;48:187–92. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e3181bd4dde.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

32. Sheldon T. Dutch euthanasia law should apply to patients “suffering through living,” report says. BMJ. 2005;330:61. doi: 10.1136/bmj.330.7482.61.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

33. McAlpine CH. Elder abuse and neglect. Age Ageing. 2008;37:132–3. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afn008.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

34. Verhagen AA, Sol JJ, Brouwer OF, Sauer PJ. Deliberate termination of life in newborns in the Netherlands; review of all 22 reported cases between 1997 and 2004 [Dutch] Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2005;149:183–8.[PubMed]

35. Sheldon T. Dutch law leads to confusion over when to use life ending treatment in suffering newborns. BMJ. 2009;339:b5474. doi: 10.1136/bmj.b5474.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

36. Burgermeister J. Doctor reignites euthanasia row in Belgium after mercy killing. BMJ. 2006;332:382. doi: 10.1136/bmj.332.7538.382-c.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

37. Cohen–Almagor R. Belgian euthanasia law: a critical analysis. J Med Ethics. 2009;35:436–9. doi: 10.1136/jme.2008.026799.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

38. Wilson K, Chochinov HM, McPherson CJ, et al. Desire for euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide in palliative cancer care. Health Psychol. 2007;26:314–23. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.26.3.314.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

39. Bernheim J, Deschepper R, Distelmans W, Mullie A, Bilsen J, Deliens L. Development of palliative care and legalisation of euthanasia: antagonism or synergy? BMJ. 2008;336:864–7. doi: 10.1136/bmj.39497.397257.AD.[PMC free article][PubMed][Cross Ref]

40. Wasserfallen JB, Chioléro R, Stiefel F. Assisted suicide in an acute care hospital: 18 months’ experience. Swiss Med Wkly. 2008;138:239–42.[PubMed]

41. Pereira J, Laurent P, Cantin B, Petremand D, Currat T. The response of a Swiss university hospital’s palliative care consult team to assisted suicide within the institution. Palliat Med. 2008;22:659–67. doi: 10.1177/0269216308091248.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

42. Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland . Submission from the Ethics Committee to the Select Committee of the House of Lords on the Assisted Dying Bill. Southampton, U.K.: Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland; 2004.

43. Kelly BD, McLoughlin DM. Euthanasia, assisted suicide and psychiatry: a Pandora’s box. Br J Psychiatry. 2002;181:278–9. doi: 10.1192/bjp.181.4.278.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

44. Shah N, Warner J, Blizard B, King N. National survey of U.K. psychiatrists’ attitudes to euthanasia. Lancet. 1998;352:1360. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(05)60751-9.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

45. Harvath TA, Miller LL, Smith KA, Clark LD, Jackson A, Ganzini L. Dilemmas encountered by hospice workers when patients wish to hasten death. J Hosp Palliat Nurs. 2006;8:200–9. doi: 10.1097/00129191-200607000-00011.[Cross Ref]

46. George RJD, Finlay IG, Jeffrey D. Legalised euthanasia will violate the rights of vulnerable patients. BMJ. 2005;331:684–5. doi: 10.1136/bmj.331.7518.684.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

47. Euthanasia [letter] Lancet. 1991;338:1150.[PubMed]

48. Zylicz Z. Hospice in Holland: the story behind the blank spot. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 1993;10:30–4. doi: 10.1177/104990919301000409.[PubMed][Cross Ref]

49. United Kingdom . Human Rights Act 1998. London, U.K.: United Kingdom; 1998. Schedule 1, Article 2.1. [Available online at:; cited February 17, 2011]

50. Oregon Department of Human Services (dhs), Office of Disease Prevention and Epidemiology . Sixth Annual Report on Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. Portland, OR: dhs; 2004. [Available online at:; cited February 17, 2011]

51. Battin MP, van der Heide A, Ganzini L, van der Wal G, Onwuteaka–Philipsen BD. Legal physician-assisted dying in Oregon and the Netherlands: evidence concerning the impact on patients in “vulnerable” groups. J Med Ethics. 2007;33:591–7. doi: 10.1136/jme.2007.022335.[PMC free article][PubMed][Cross Ref]

52. Finlay IG, George R. Legal physician-assisted suicide in Oregon and the Netherlands: evidence concerning the impact on patients in vulnerable groups; another perspective on Oregon’s data. J Med Ethics. 2010. [Epub ahead of print].


In April 2002, the Netherlands became the first country to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide. It imposed a strict set of conditions: the patient must be suffering unbearable pain, their illness must be incurable, and the demand must be made in "full consciousness" by the patient. In 2010, 3,136 people were given a lethal cocktail under medical supervision.

So-called palliative sedation has also become a widespread practice in hospitals, with 15,000 cases a year since 2005, according to the Royal Dutch Medical Association. Patients with a life expectancy of two weeks or less are put in a medically induced coma, and all nutrition and hydration is withdrawn.

The legislation has provoked a fierce debate over the "right to suicide," because assisted suicide outside of the criteria set for euthanasia is still illegal and is counted as homicide.

"Around 10% to 15% of the people who come to us looking for information actually commit suicide", says Ton Vink, head De Einder (Horizon), a foundation that advises people contemplating suicide. To avoid prosecution, he never provides the medicine himself and is not around when somebody takes it. "Most of the people who contact us feel reassured by the information we provide and do not take their life away," he says. Sabine Cessou


Euthanasia and assisted suicide are against the law. The president, François Hollande, promised to look at the "right to die with dignity" but has has always denied any intention of legalising euthanasia or assisted suicide.

In 2005 the Léonetti law introduced the concept of the right to be "left to die". Under strict conditions it allowed doctors to decide to "limit or stop any treatment that is not useful, is disproportionate or has no other object than to artificially prolong life" and to use pain-killing drugs that might "as a side effect, shorten life".

Two recent high-profile cases have made the headlines: a doctor accused of administering drugs that hastened the deaths of seven elderly patients was acquitted, and France's high court authorised doctors to stop treating and feeding a young man who had been in a vegetative state on life support for six years. In the latter case, the patient's parents have appealed to the European court of human rights and are awaiting a decision. A parliamentary report on the subject is expected at the end of this year. Kim Willsher in Paris

United States

Doctors are allowed to prescribe lethal doses of medicine to terminally ill patients in five US states. Euthanasia, however, is illegal. In recent years, the "aid in dying" movement has made incremental gains, but the issue remains controversial.

Oregon was the first US state to legalise assisted suicide. The law took effect in 1997, and allows for terminally ill, mentally competent patients with less than six months to live to request a prescription for life-ending medication. More than a decade later, Washington state approved a measure that was modelled on Oregon's law. And last year, the Vermont legislature passed a similar law. Court decisions rendered the practice legal in Montana and, most recently, in New Mexico.

In 2013, roughly 300 terminally ill Americans were prescribed lethal medications, and around 230 people died as a result of taking them. Some patients choose not to take the medication. Lauren Gambino in New York

Germany and Switzerland

In German-speaking countries, the term "euthanasia" is generally avoided because of its association with the eugenicist policies of the Nazi era. The law therefore tends to distinguish between assisted suicide (beihilfe zum suizid) and "active assisted suicide" (aktive sterbehilfe).

In Germany and Switzerland, active assisted suicide – ie a doctor prescribing and handing over a lethal drug – is illegal. But German and Swiss law does allow assisted suicide within certain circumstances. In Germany, assisted suicide is legal as long as the lethal drug is taken without any help, such as someone guiding or supporting the patient's hand. In Switzerland, the law is more relaxed: it allows assisted suicide as long as there are no "self-seeking motives" involved. Switzerland has tolerated the creation of organisations such as Dignitas and Exit, which provide assisted dying services for a fee.

In a recent survey, two-thirds of Germans said they would support a law that enabled active assisted suicide too. But the government has announced it wants to tighten the law around assisted suicide, with the health minister, Hermann Gröhe, stating that he wants to ban organisations like Dignitas in Germany. Philip Oltermann in Berlin


Belgium passed a law in 2002 legalising euthanasia, becoming the second country in the world to do so. The law says doctors can help patients to end their lives when they freely express a wish to die because they are suffering intractable and unbearable pain. Patients can also receive euthanasia if they have clearly stated it before entering a coma or similar vegetative state.

Assisted suicide is not mentioned in the law, which does not specify a method of euthanasia. As Jacqueline Herremans, president of the Association for the Right to Die with Dignity, says: "We don't make a distinction in the semantics." However, the physician has to be present at the bedside of the patient to their last breath, unlike the Oregon model where the doctor gives only the prescription of drugs.

Belgian euthanasia cases rose to 1,807 in 2013, compared with 1,432 in 2012, 708 in 2008 and 235 in 2003. Just over half of cases last year were aged 70 or over, and 80% of the applications were made by Dutch-speakers.

High-profile euthanasia cases have included a 44-year-old transsexual woman whose botched sex-change operation left her with physical deformities that she felt made her look like a "monster"; and 45-year-old identical twins who were deaf and going blind and believed they had nothing left to live for.

This February, Belgium became the first country to legalise euthanasia for children. There is no age limit for minors seeking a lethal injection, but they must be conscious of their decision, terminally ill, close to death and suffering beyond any medical help. They also need the assent of their parents to end their lives. So far, no such cases have yet been reported to authorities. Leo Cendrowicz in Brussels

0 thoughts on “Us Stance On Euthanasia Essay”


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *