Definition of Physician-assisted suicide

Physician-assisted suicide: The voluntary termination of one's own life by administration of a lethal substance with the direct or indirect assistance of a physician. Physician-assisted suicide is the practice of providing a competent patient with a prescription for medication for the patient to use with the primary intention of ending his or her own life.

Physician-assisted suicide has its proponents and its opponents. Among the opponents are some physicians who believe it violates the fundamental tenet of medicine and believe that doctors should not assist in suicides because to do so is incompatible with the doctor's role as a healer. Physician-assisted suicide is often abbreviated PAS. It is called doctor-assisted suicide in the UK.


Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

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