Ethics in physician-assisted dying and euthanasia

Brandi McKinnon MBA, Menfil Orellana-Barrios MD


The definitions of physician-assisted dying, passive euthanasia, and active euthanasia are reviewed. The ethical implications of physician-assisted dying are also examined. Proponents argue that physician-assisted dying is a more respectful and dignified way for terminally ill patients to die. However, opponents claim that physician-assisted dying devalues human life, which should be treasured and protected. A majority of the general population and physicians support physician-assisted dying, but there is a need for medical societies to develop training, support, and implementation standards to aid physicians in this process. Ethics committee’s may help fill this gap and provide institutional resources and mediation of value conflicts.

Keywords: Physician-assisted suicide, physician-assisted dying, euthanasia, medical ethics

Article citation: McKinnon B, Orellana-Barrios M. Ethics in physician-assisted dying and euthanasia. The Southwest Respiratory and Critical Care Chronicles 2019;7(30):36–42
From: The Department of Internal Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas
Submitted: 1/24/2019
Accepted: 6/7/2019
Reviewers: Gilbert Berdine MD, Chery Erwin JD, PhD
Conflicts of interest: none
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