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Palliative Care and Requests for Assistance in Dying 

Palliative Care and Requests for Assistance in Dying
Palliative Care and Requests for Assistance in Dying

Carey T. Ramirez

, Kathleen Fundalinski

, Judy Knudson

, and John Himberger

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date: 07 July 2020

Assistance in dying, though highly controversial, is requested of an increasing number of palliative clinicians. This necessitates an exploration of the current nomenclature, history, and ethical and legal foundations of the topic, followed by an evaluation of the characteristics of those who request physician assisted dying (PAD), suggestions for responding to requests, and recommended alternatives. As of 2017, medical aid in dying is legal in six states and the District of Columbia, jurisdictions in which 16.4% of the United States population live. In 2018, 27 states are considering legalization. Furthermore, assisted dying and euthanasia are legal in five countries and assisted dying without euthanasia is legal in three. The goal of this chapter is to ensure palliative specialists are prepared to handle requests for physician assistance in dying.

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