Looking for a Nonlegal Process: Physician Assisted Suicide and the Care Perspective

51 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2017

See all articles by Paul J. Zwier

Paul J. Zwier

Emory University School of Law

Date Written: February 1996


This article will first review the cases (up until 1995) that deal with physician- assisted suicide and show how unsatisfactory the legal analysis has been. Second, it will describe a care perspective and demonstrate how a perspective that revolves around caring, listening, and consensus-building improves and enhances the moral responsibility for the choices that are to be made. Rejecting blanket legal solutions, I will discuss how the care perspective also better deals with the psychological factors of depression and hopelessness that bring about the suicide request in the first place. Part of this section will argue that the law prohibiting suicide has the reverse effect of that intended and causes more suicides; that studies of attempted suicide suggest that in listening to and respecting a request for suicide, the patient will more likely be persuaded not to commit suicide. Finally, I will suggest a framework in which the care perspective can be implemented, which should satisfy concerns about care providers' abuse of helpless and depressed patients when we allow for the possibility that patients be assisted in suicide.

Keywords: physician assisted suicide care perspective

Suggested Citation

Zwier, Paul J., Looking for a Nonlegal Process: Physician Assisted Suicide and the Care Perspective (February 1996). University of Richmond Law Review, Vol. 30, No. 199, 1996, Emory Legal Studies Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2911075

Paul J. Zwier (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

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