In the United States there are physician assisted suicide laws restricted to terminally ill and mentally competent adults in Oregon, Montana, Washington and Vermont. Oregon was the first U.S State to legalize physician assisted suicide. In October 1997, Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act became a law. In March 2009, Washington’s Death with Dignity Act became a law. In 2009, physician assisted suicide became legal in Montana through the court ruling Baxter v Montana. In March 2013, Vermont signs the Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act into law. Since the first law passed in 1997 a total of 1,173 people have had prescriptions written and 752 have died from ingesting the medications prescribed. For the patient to be eligible to participate the patient must be diagnosed by an attending physician as well as by a consulting physician.
Reasons for participating in physician assisted suicide varies. “The most frequently reported reasons for ...
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...patients the more in favor of physician assisted suicide he or she becomes. “The role of the nurse in the discussion of assisted death should be, like all other aspects of nursing, patient centered. This means that whatever a nurses level of education, religion, experience, or country or origin, a nurse should not be allowed either to discredit or endorse assisted suicide for person reasons”(Evans 631).
As a nurse I will need to stay informed on physician assisted suicide so that I can inform my terminally ill patients of their options. I must know where it is available and what the requirements are. Along with informing my patients I must also support and respect them no matter what their decision is. Physician assisted suicide is a rising topic within the health care field and I must keep myself educated, as laws and discussions will become constant.
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