Assisted Death in Europe and America: Four Regimes and Their Lessons

Hardcover | September 25, 2010

byGuenter Lewy

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Advances in medical treatment now enable physicians to prolong life to a previously unknown extent, however in many instances these new techniques mean not the saving of life but prolonging the act of dying. In the eyes of many, medical technology has run out of control and contributes tounnecessary suffering. Hence the demand has arisen that patients should be entitled to choose death when pain and physical and mental deterioration have destroyed the possibility of a dignified and meaningful life and that their doctors should help them to realize this endeavor.At the present time there are seven jurisdictions in the world that, with various restrictions, have legalized the practice of assisted death -- physician-assisted suicide and/or voluntary euthanasia - to wit, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland in Europe and the states of Oregon,Washington and Montana in the United States. Four of these regimes - in the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and the state of Oregon -- have been functioning for many years, and we have for them a substantial body of data as well as much observational research. This book is based upon thismaterial.The literature dealing with the moral, legal and social aspects of assisted death is voluminous, but there is a paucity of writing that provides a detailed account of the way these four regimes are actually working. Many partisans, on both sides of the issue, cite existing data selectively or, attimes, willfully distort the empirical evidence in order to strengthen their case. Based on the documentary record and interviews with officials and scholars, this book seeks to give the specialist as well as the general interested reader a reliable picture of the way assisted death functions and todraw relevant lessons. While accurate factual information cannot settle a moral debate, it nevertheless is a precondition of any well-founded argument.

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Advances in medical treatment now enable physicians to prolong life to a previously unknown extent, however in many instances these new techniques mean not the saving of life but prolonging the act of dying. In the eyes of many, medical technology has run out of control and contributes tounnecessary suffering. Hence the demand has aris...

Guenter Lewy is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:September 25, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199746419

ISBN - 13:9780199746415

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Table of Contents

Preface1. IntroductionWhy Assisted Death has Become an Important Public Policy IssueThe Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide UndergroundThe Aims of this Study2. Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide in the NetherlandsThe Path to LegalizationThe Law of 2002 Decriminalizing Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted SuicideEmpirical Data on the Practice of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide: Who, When, Why, Where and HowProblems in the Practice of Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide:1. Failure to Report Cases of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted suicide2. Ending Life without Explicit Request of the Patient3. Termination of Life in Pediatric Cases4. Assisted Death for Patients with Mental Suffering5. Can Palliative Care Eliminate the Need for Assisted Death?The Dutch Regime of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide Assessed3. Voluntary Euthanasia in BelgiumHow Belgium Legalized EuthanasiaThe Law on Euthanasia of May 28, 2002The Practice of Euthanasia since 20024. Assisted Suicide in SwitzerlandExit German Switzerland - Association for a Humane DeathExit/Association pour le Droit de mourir dans la Dignite/Suisse RomandeDignitasOther Right-to-Die OrganizationsThe Public Debate on Assisted Suicide5. Physician-Assisted Suicide in OregonA Legal Obstacle CourseThe Death with Dignity Act (DWDA)Ten Years of Physician-Assisted DeathCriticism and Problem Areas6. Assisted Death as a Last ResortLessons from Four Regimes of Assisted DeathA Model Statute for Physician-Assisted SuicideDilemmas and Promise of Legalized Assisted DeathAppendices1. Dutch Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act.2. Belgian Act on Euthanasia.3. Swiss Criminal Code, Arts. 114 - 115.4. Oregon's Death with Dignity Act and Compliance Forms.NotesWorks CitedIndex

Editorial Reviews

"The information collected here makes an important contribution to the literature on PAS because it collects a broad array of relevant information into a single volume. It is interesting and enlightening. This will make the book a valuable resource for anyone interested in the subject and anespecially useful resource for academics who study or teach about the issues." --Rosamond Rhodes, Director, Bioethics Education, Mt Sinai School of Medicine