The Death With Dignity Act

957 WordsApr 4, 20164 Pages
Background The Death With Dignity Act (DWDA) was passed in the state of Oregon on November 8, 1994, and allowed competent, terminally ill patients 18 years old or older and were also state residents to acquire a prescription of barbiturates from a doctor to end their own life when their anguish became intolerable.6 208 individuals died under the DWDA. 36% of patients who received the lethal prescription never took them.2 This insinuates that patients dealing with immense suffering from a terminal illness at least sought control over the situation. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld court decisions in Washington and New York states that criminalized physician-assisted suicide on July 26, 1997.12 They found that the Constitution did not provide any “right to die,” however, they allowed individual states to govern whether or not they would prohibit or permit physician-assisted suicide. Without much intervention from the states individuals have used their right to refuse medical treatment resulting in controversial passive forms of euthanasia being used by patients to die with dignity such as choosing not to be resuscitated, stopping medication, drinking, or eating, or turning off respirators.9 The three main stakeholders in this issue are the physician, the patient, and the patient’s loved ones. Neither the American Medical Association (AMA) nor the American College of Physicians (ACP) do not officially support physician-assisted suicide because they do not view it as attuned with

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