Medical Aid In Dying by Telehealth
51 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2018 Last revised: 20 Apr 2020
Date Written: September 23, 2018
Medical aid in dying is a form of medical treatment recognized in several states and the District of Columbia and available to adult residents of those states who are competent and suffer from a terminal disease. Timely access to it is critical for qualifying patients. The article explores the possibility of facilitating access to medical aid in dying via telehealth—a method of providing health care remotely by means of electronic communication. Specifically, I analyze the feasibility of medical aid in dying by telehealth from clinical and legal perspectives. I also examine a relevant normative issue of the nature of in-person medical examination and its relation to a valid doctor-patient relationship. I conclude that while clinically medical aid in dying can be provided to some qualifying patients, existing legal restrictions make it problematic. I argue that to improve access to medical aid in dying, we need to rethink what “in-person medical examination” means in the digital age.
Keywords: bioethics; telemedicine; medical aid in dying; physician-patient relationship
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