Journal of Medical Ethics 33 (10):591-597 (2007)

Authors
Margaret Battin
University of Utah
Amy Van
Case Western Reserve University
Abstract
Background: Debates over legalisation of physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia often warn of a “slippery slope”, predicting abuse of people in vulnerable groups. To assess this concern, the authors examined data from Oregon and the Netherlands, the two principal jurisdictions in which physician-assisted dying is legal and data have been collected over a substantial period.Methods: The data from Oregon comprised all annual and cumulative Department of Human Services reports 1998–2006 and three independent studies; the data from the Netherlands comprised all four government-commissioned nationwide studies of end-of-life decision making and specialised studies. Evidence of any disproportionate impact on 10 groups of potentially vulnerable patients was sought.Results: Rates of assisted dying in Oregon and in the Netherlands showed no evidence of heightened risk for the elderly, women, the uninsured , people with low educational status, the poor, the physically disabled or chronically ill, minors, people with psychiatric illnesses including depression, or racial or ethnic minorities, compared with background populations. The only group with a heightened risk was people with AIDS. While extralegal cases were not the focus of this study, none have been uncovered in Oregon; among extralegal cases in the Netherlands, there was no evidence of higher rates in vulnerable groups.Conclusions: Where assisted dying is already legal, there is no current evidence for the claim that legalised PAS or euthanasia will have disproportionate impact on patients in vulnerable groups. Those who received physician-assisted dying in the jurisdictions studied appeared to enjoy comparative social, economic, educational, professional and other privileges
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1136/jme.2007.022335
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,337
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Groningen Protocol - Euthanasia in Severely Ill Newborns.E. Verhagen & P. J. J. Sauer - 2005 - New England Journal of Medicine 352 (10):959-962.
Physician-Assisted Suicide.John Lachs - 2013 - In Arthur L. Caplan & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Bioethics. Wiley. pp. 25--203.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Ending One's Life.Margaret Pabst Battin & Brent M. Kious - 2021 - Hastings Center Report 51 (3):37-47.

View all 31 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Oregon's Experience: Evaluating the Record.Ronald A. Lindsay - 2009 - American Journal of Bioethics 9 (3):19 – 27.
Public and Private.Gregory E. Kaebnick - 2010 - Hastings Center Report 40 (5):2-2.
What Does a `Right' to Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS) Legally Entail?M. T. Harvey - 2002 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 23 (4-5):271-286.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-08-24

Total views
66 ( #173,812 of 2,507,897 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #169,107 of 2,507,897 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes