Oregon's Guidelines for Physician-Assisted Suicide: A Legal and Ethical Analysis

38 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2000 Last revised: 26 Oct 2009

See all articles by Christine Neylon O'Brien

Christine Neylon O'Brien

Boston College - Carroll School of Management

Gerald A. Madek

Bentley University - Department of Law

Gerald R. Ferrara

Bentley University - Department of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2000

Abstract

Oregon's Death With Dignity Act was first passed by a ballot initiative in 1994, but numerous judicial challenges delayed implementation of the Act. In November of 1997, following the United States Supreme Court decisions in Vacco v. Quill and Washington v. Glucksberg, which left the states' power to regulate physician-assisted suicide undisturbed, the Oregon voters upheld their law. Oregon remains the only state in the nation to authorize physician-assisted suicide. The Task Force to Improve the Care of Terminally Ill Oregonians published a Guidebook for health care providers on the Oregon Act, and the New England Journal of Medicine recently issued a special report on the first year's experience under the Act. This paper analyzes the legal context of the Oregon Death With Dignity Act, discusses the efficacy of the tenets in the Guidebook, and explores ethical issues underlying the guidelines, particularly those pertaining to the meaning of a patient's request for assisted suicide and processes supporting informed consent.

JEL Classification: K4, K2

Suggested Citation

O'Brien, Christine Neylon and Madek, Gerald A. and Ferrara, Gerald R., Oregon's Guidelines for Physician-Assisted Suicide: A Legal and Ethical Analysis (2000). University of Pittsburgh Law Review, Vol. 61, No. 2, pp. 329-365, 2000, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=242168

Christine Neylon O'Brien (Contact Author)

Boston College - Carroll School of Management ( email )

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Business Law Department
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
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Gerald A. Madek

Bentley University - Department of Law ( email )

United States

Gerald R. Ferrara

Bentley University - Department of Law ( email )

United States

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