Death With Dignity?


Just wondering what you fellow healthcare professionals think about this law? This seems to be a topic that incites a lot of passion, so I'm sure someone out there has an opinion on it.

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Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,345 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.

Which particular law? There are various laws in various states. To which are you referring? Do you have a link to the law?

nutella, MSN, RN

1 Article; 1,509 Posts

What is your opinion?

For myself it is somewhat complicated.

Outside of my work/ role as palliative care nurse it is my opinion that people who have a terminal illness and go through the established process should have the possibility to end their life at a time when they are still able to make decisions. I have no reservation about patients getting a prescription for a lethal medication as long as they can take the drug themselves and are terminally ill. Because there is still illness that cause significant suffering and is not managed well, I think people need this option. Yes, there are options like palliative sedation and people can even have methadone iv for pain but there can be other symptoms or the person may not wish to go through some suffering.

I do not support assisted suicide where the healthcare professional injects or administers a lethal medication to the patient who is unable to do so for themselves.

It is important to be clear on that the relief of symptoms, even though it may requires large amount medications in some cases, does not equal "killing somebody". If somebody has severe pain they pain medication may have side effects but we accept that in this case because we give the appropriate amount of medication to relief suffering and not with the goal to end the life.

In my professional role as a palliative care nurse I stick with the position statement from the HPNA and also the code of ethics by the ANA:

Another option is becoming more popular, which is the "voluntarily stopping to eat and drink" , that does not require a prescription of lengthy process:

Voluntary stopping of eating and drinking at the end of life – a ‘systematic search and review’ giving insight into an option of hastening death in capacitated adults at the end of life


157 Posts

Specializes in Psych. Has 9 years experience.

Thank you for your response! I've posed this question on other forums with mixed results.

For what it's worth, I agree with you 100%.