assisted suicide

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Related to assisted suicide: euthanasia, Physician assisted suicide


the taking of one's own life; also any person who voluntarily and intentionally takes his or her own life. Legally, a death suspected of being due to violence that is self-inflicted is not termed a suicide unless there is positive evidence of the victim's intent to destroy himself or herself, or the method of death is such that a verdict of suicide is inevitable. This means that many deaths that would be termed suicide according to medicopsychological criteria are reported as accidental or from undetermined cause. The difficulty of positively identifying a death as suicide is further complicated by the complexities of determining true intent and the psychological motivation one may have had for ending one's own life.

Incidence: Statistical evidence of the actual suicide rate for a specific population is difficult to compile because of the ambiguity of the term, a lack of criteria by which a death may be judged suicidal, and a lack of agreement among those reporting deaths as to what does, indeed, constitute a suicide. Existing data are as follows: Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for males and the 19th leading cause for females. It is the third leading cause of death among persons 15 to 24 years of age, according to the national institutes of mental health. The group with the highest suicide rate is white men over age 85. Other high-risk groups include the elderly, the sick, and the mentally ill. There is a tendency of suicides to occur in families, but there is no evidence of a genetically determined suicidal behavior pattern. There are also seasonal fluctuations in suicide rates, with the highest number occurring in the spring.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has developed a policy for the prevention of suicide. It includes as essential components of suicide prevention the following measures: educating professionals in recognition and treatment of individuals at risk; educating society that such individuals are suffering from a medical condition that must be recognized and treated rather than stigmatized, and that effective treatments are available; and educating survivors of suicide attempts about the resources available to them. Other recommendations include: improved methods of detecting individuals at highest risk for completed suicide; improved treatment interventions for high risk patients; responsible gun control legislation; education of media and mental health professionals in order to reduce inaccurate or sensational media coverage of suicide; and improvement of palliative care for seriously or terminally ill patients (including through education and legislation) so that suicide does not seem to be their only option. Depression screening should be a routine assessment for every clinician. Research is essential in developing, testing, and implementing treatment approaches to patients at risk for suicide, as well as developing prevention strategies that have been shown to be effective or appear likely to be effective.
assisted suicide suicide with the help of another person, such as when an incurably ill patient intentionally ingests a toxic substance or an overdose of a medication that was prescribed; the choice to die must always be made by the patient. See also euthanasia.

assisted suicide

Suicide committed with the aid of another person, sometimes a physician.

assisted suicide

a form of euthanasia in which a person wishes to commit suicide but feels unable to perform the act alone because of a physical disability or lack of knowledge about the most effective means. An individual who assists a suicide victim in accomplishing that goal may or may not be held responsible for the death, depending on local laws. The participation of health professionals, especially physicians, in assisted suicide is controversial. See also euthanasia, suicide.

assisted suicide

(1) Physician-assisted suicide, see there.
(2) Any suicide in which a second party participates in the act.

assisted suicide

1. Physician-assisted suicide, see there. See Double effect.
2. Any suicide with a 2nd party participant.

Assisted suicide

A form of self-inflicted death in which a person voluntarily brings about his or her own death with the help of another, usually a physician, relative, or friend.
Mentioned in: Suicide
References in periodicals archive ?
Learning from the Dutch and Canadian experience, the AMA believes that doctors who participate in Euthanasia or Physician Assisted Suicide are more likely to require the industrial, professional, medico-legal, and pastoral support of organisations like the AMA, Dr Gannon said.
The proposals for assessing those who ask for assisted suicide also lack proper rigour.
She wants to be sure that if her suffering becomes intolerable, her husband, Cuban violinist Omar Puente, will not be prosecuted if he helps her travel abroad to die in a country where assisted suicide is legal.
If the values championed by assisted suicide advocates are maximization of autonomy and minimization of suffering--even when they conflict with the extension of life--then it follows that chronically depressed, competent individuals would be ideal candidates for the procedure.
Relatively few people go through with assisted suicide, but those who do are determined to remain self-reliant until the end.
Compared with other patients, those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in Oregon have an odds ratio above 20 for dying by assisted suicide.
The emphasis upon individual autonomy, self-determination, and independence is compatible with although not an endorsement, of the practices of eugenics, euthanasia or assisted suicide (Koch, 2001).
His book Fatal Freedom is a great critique of suicide prevention, the power of professionals, and assisted suicide.
The book was intended in tandem with and responding to a 2002 volume entitled, The Case Against Assisted Suicide: For the Right to End of Life Care, containing essays by an equally distinguished group of opponents of assisted suicide.
On May 26, 2004, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit (which includes the state of Oregon) rejected the efforts of Attorney General John Ashcroft to, in effect, nullify Oregon's voter-approved assisted suicide law.
Another new organization has now emerged which offers assisted suicide to the mentally or psychologically ill.
She has come to Zurich courtesy of Dignitas, a four-year-old euthanasia group that is testing Switzerland's policy of permitting assisted suicide by offering services to non-citizens.

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