Bioethics Blogs

Physician Aid in Dying via Advance Directive

Oregon S.B. 893 introduced on Tuesday will permits a patient’s healthcare agent “to collect and administer prescribed medication for purpose of ending patient’s life . . . if patient ceases to be capable after having received prescription for life-ending medication.”

This is a major development in U.S. policy on medical aid in dying.  The jurisdictions that now permit it (CA, CO, DC, MT, OR, VT, WA) require the patient, among other things: (1) be terminally ill, (2) have capacity at the time of the request for medication, and (3) have capacity at time of ingestion.

But many patients, particularly those with advanced dementia, cannot simultaneously satisfy eligibility requirements (1) and (2).  This bill helps some patients by eliminating eligibility requirement (3).   

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.