In this round I will be looking into what countries have legalized euthanasia, as well as their specific requirements for what is covered by the law( ie. what illness’s and to what degree).
(1)Firstly I would like to clarify, there is euthanasia which is where the physician must deliver the substance which will end his/her life and then there is PAS (physician-assisted-suicide) where the doctor gives the patient the substance which will end his/her life but do not actually do it themselves.
(2)(3)Here is a list of the main places Euthanasia/PAS is legal
- The Netherlands
- Montana, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, new Mexico
The tricky thing is with all of these, is that the regulations of what is considered Euthanasia are all slightly different. Firstly I will be looking at the rules and what makes you qualify In Canada.
(4)In Canada the only people who are legally allowed to do this are physicians and qualified nurses in which they can either directly do this or provide the substance. In Canada, the first was once classified as euthanasia and the other was assisted dying/suicide, but now we call them both euthanasia.
As per the government of Canada, The qualifications include:
- be eligible for health services funded by the federal government, or a province or territory
- generally, visitors to Canada are not eligible for medical assistance in dying
- be at least 18 years old and mentally competent. This means being capable of making health care decisions for yourself.
- have a grievous and irremediable medical condition (Serious illness, disease or disability that cannot be reversed, be in unbearable suffering that you claim unfit and you do not see a natural death come soon enough) make a voluntary request for medical assistance in dying that is not the result of outside pressure or influence
- give informed consent to receive medical assistance in dying
Plus each Province and Territory have their own set of regulations you must follow depending on where you are. In Canada, as long as you meet the requirements and the doctors see you are 100% lucid to make the decision it is ultimately your choice.
Next is looking at the regulations of the Netherlands. (3) What’s interesting with this is that fist was the first country to legalize euthanasia in 2002, however now there are many investigations regarding the increasing numbers of people being euthanized. (5) The difference between Canada and the Netherlands is that Euthanasia is “Physician based”, meaning in the end it is their choice if you will receive euthanasia.
As per the NCBI, the qualification include:
- must be convinced that it concerns a voluntary and well considered request
- must be convinced that it concerns unbearable and hopeless suffering of a patient
- has informed the patient about the medical condition and the options
- has concluded with the patient that there are no reasonable alternatives for the situation of the patient
- has consulted with at least one other physician independent of the case, who has seen the patient and has given his conclusions in writing with respect to the above conditions and
- has carried out the life ending intervention or assisted suicide in a medically correct way
Lastly I will be looking at the regulations in Oregon. (6)In 1997, Oregon, legalized the Death with Dignity Act which “is allowing terminally ill Oregonians to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of a lethal dose of medication, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose”. This is different than euthanasia because euthanasia is normally done by a physician him/herself, whereas in Oregon, the substance is prescribed to the patient.
As per the Oregon government, the requirements include:
- 18 years of age or older,
- a resident of Oregon,
- capable of making and communicating health care decisions for him/herself, and
- diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months. It is up to the attending physician to determine whether these criteria have been met.
As well as following these steps:
- The patient must make two oral requests to the attending physician, separated by at least 15 days.
- The patient must provide a written request to the attending physician, signed in the presence of two witnesses, at least one of whom is not related to the patient.
- The attending physician and a consulting physician must confirm the patient's diagnosis and prognosis.
- The attending physician and a consulting physician must determine whether the patient is capable of making and communicating health care decisions for him/herself;
- If either physician believes the patient's judgment is impaired by a psychiatric or psychological disorder (such as depression), the patient must be referred for a psychological examination;
- The attending physician must inform the patient of feasible alternatives to the DWDA including comfort care, hospice care, and pain control;
- The attending physician must request, but may not require, the patient to notify their next-of-kin of the prescription request.
Overall for this round, I found it interesting to see the different rules for each country. For the next round I will be looking into the different points of view from different religions. I want to take a closer look at the most common religions, their view and their reasoning behind either being for or against euthanasia. Along with how religion could conflict with ones wishes.