Wednesday, July 6, 2016

More people can ask for help in dying, but very few do

"Anyone who feared that making physician-assisted suicide legal would lead to an onslaught of assisted deaths can relax. A new study led by University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel finds that only a tiny fraction of the dying want help speeding up the process. However, Emanuel is concerned about the reasons people are choosing to die - horrible pain is sixth on the list - and says doctors remain less supportive of assisted suicide than the general public. He said the topic requires more study and that states that have legalized it should be keeping much better records of problems that patients encounter. Oregon, he said, does not consider it a complication if a patient regains consciousness after taking medication meant to kill him. While people die, on average, within 25 minutes after taking a lethal dose, the range extends to more than four days. Emanuel has a long interest in physician-assisted suicide, and he opposes it. He said he purposely included researchers on his team from the Netherlands and Belgium who support it."

More people can ask for help in dying, but very few do

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