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This list of peer-reviewed journal articles about physician-assisted dying and related issues is organized by topic:

For books on Death with Dignity and related end-of-life issues, click here.

Implementation of Death with Dignity Legislation

“When a Patient Discusses Assisted Dying: Nursing Practice Implications.” July 2016. Rebecca H. Lehto; Douglas P. Olsen; Roxanne Raffin Chan. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 184-191.

“Attitudes and Practices of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide in the United States, Canada, and Europe.” July 2016. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Bregje D. Onwuteaka-Philipsen, John W. Urwin, Joachim Cohen. JAMA, Vol. 316, No. 1 [Summary by Science Daily]

“Legalised Physician-Assisted Death in Oregon.” January 2016. Linda Ganzini. QUT Law Review, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp 76-83 [pdf]

Ganzini reviews the Oregon Death with Dignity Act by discussing what the collected data present. She concludes that legalization of physician-assisted dying has not decreased the use of or quality of palliative and hospice care. She also addresses other concerns about the law, including mental illness and depression, and shows that there is much support for greater psychiatric involvement to evaluate patients for depression. However, it is unclear whether mandatory psychiatric evaluations would benefit and protect vulnerable patients and psychiatrists. Overall, the data show a slight increase in use of aid in dying over time; that the large majority of patients using the life-ending medication have similar terminal illnesses; and that patients are educated, insured, and mentally competent.

“Clinical Criteria for Physician Assisted Aid in Dying.” November 2015. David Orentlicher, MD, JD, Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD, & Ben A. Rich, JD, PhD. Journal of Palliative Medicine, Vol. 18, No. X, pp. 1-4.

Authors discusse the main areas in which the Physician Aid-in-Dying Clinical Criteria Committee deemed most important for physicians to focus on when a patient requests aid-in-dying. First, they express the importance of determining if the request is voluntary, informed, and without influence of others or of mental illness. Secondly, they asses whether the patient thoroughly understands his/her options for end-of-life carem such as hospice, stopping eating/drinking, and palliative sedation. Third, they assert that physicians must make clear the results of ingesting the life-ending medication and must be thorough in documenting the patient’s understanding through the process of requesting. Lastly, the Committee urges patients to have family present and discusses the steps of how to ingest the medications for the safest possible death.

“Implementing a Death with Dignity Program at a Comprehensive Cancer Center.” April 11, 2013. Elizabeth Trice Loggers, Helene Starks, Moreen Shannon-Dudley, Anthony L. Back, Frederick R. Appelbaum, and F. Marc Stewart. New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 368, No. 15, pp. 1417-1424.

This article provides an institutional response to Death with Dignity through the perspective of a Washington cancer center. The cancer center found that their Death with Dignity program showed data consistent with the overall Death with Dignity data collected in Oregon and Washington. This institution’s Death with Dignity program has elicited positive responses from physicians, patients, and families. They attribute this acceptance to the professional leadership team at the cancer center who provide great care in prescribing and consulting patients in the end-of-life process.

“Legal physician-assisted dying in Oregon and the Netherlands: The question of “vulnerable” groups. A reply to I.G. Finlay and R. George.” July, 27 2011. Margaret P. Battin, Agnes van der Heide, Linda Ganzini, Gerrit van der Wal, Bregje D. Onwuteaka. Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 37, No. 3, pp. 171174.

This article defends the data the authors collected and refutes Finlay and George’s argument that being in the position to request physician assisted death makes one vulnerable by nature. The authors argue that the way opposers of physician assisted death define vulnerable groups is different than how they have in their studies because they recognize all types of “vulnerable” groups, not just the ten most common groups that Finlay and George identify. They argue that Finlay and George’s critique of their data merely reflects the limitations of their study.

Healthcare Professionals on Death with Dignity

Legal Challenges

End of Life Care

Palliative Sedation and Voluntary Refusal of Treatment or Food & Fluids

Physician-Assisted Death and People with Disabilities

  • “The Ethics of PAS: Morally Relevant Relationships Between Personal Assistance Services and Physician-Assisted Suicide.” 2001. Andrew I. Batavia. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vol. 12, Suppl. 2, pp. 25-31.
  • “So Far, So Good: Observations on the First Year of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.” 2000. Andrew I. Batavia. In: Special Theme Issue: Hastened Death. G. Andrew H. Benjamin, James L. Werth, Jr, and Lawrence Gostin, eds. Psychology, Public Policy and Law, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 291-305.
  • “The Relevance of Physician and Disability Data on the Right to Physician-Assisted Suicide: Can Studies Resolve the Issue?” 2000. Andrew I. Batavia. In: Special Theme Issue: Hastened Death. G. Andrew H. Benjamin, James L. Werth, Jr, and Lawrence Gostin, eds. Psychology, Public Policy and Law, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 546-558.
  • “Disability and Physician-Assisted Suicide.” June 1997. Andrew I. Batavia. The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 336, No. 23, pp. 1671-73.
  • “A Disability Rights/Independent Living Perspective on Euthanasia.” May 1991. Andrew I. Batavia. The Western Journal of Medicine, Vol. 154, pp. 616-7.