Ethics During End of Life Care | March Editor’s Choice
SHAWN PAUSTIAN | Senior Editor
October of last year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed in the End of Life Option Act.1 Starting June 9, patients in California who are terminally ill can request life-ending medication and services from their physician. California is not the only state to have signed some form of legislation regarding medically assisted suicide. Vermont, Oregon, Washington and Montana have already done so. The right to life and death is a consistent battle fought between political and religious sects, and was investigated by MDR Writer, Benjamin Mormann, in his Spring 2012 article, “On Physician Assisted Suicide.”
Mormann reflects on physician Jack Kevorkian’s (infamously named, Dr. Death) trials between the years 1994-1997. Throughout the essay, Mormann examines works from the philosophical such as Locke and Hippocrates to the clinical research on physician perspectives on physician assisted suicide (PAS), and concludes, “we will realize that it is time for physician assisted suicide to be legalized.”
While medicine is trending to consent for end of life options, there continues to be several op-eds sparking continued debate on PAS and what the bill would mean to society in context of socioeconomics and how terminal illness is viewed.2 As the dialogue continues, the intersection of beliefs and quality of life for terminally ill patients will continue to expand and possibly arrive at more than one answer.
Aliferis, Lisa. “California To Permit Medically Assisted Suicide As Of June 9.” NPR.
Camosy, Charles C. “California’s Right to Die Law Betrays the State’s Progressive Principles.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times