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January 19, 2016

Physician-Assisted DyingA Turning Point?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Georgetown University Law Center, O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Washington, DC
JAMA. 2016;315(3):249-250. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.16586

In 2014, Brittany Maynard, who was dying of brain cancer, took a deliberative decision supported by her family to move from California to Oregon to utilize the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. Highly visible, deeply personal decisions by Maynard and others have influenced social and political discourse around physician-assisted dying (PAD). Although PAD broadly encompasses physician-assisted suicide (PAS) (medicines prescribed specifically for the purpose of being taken by patients to end their lives) and euthanasia (lethal medicines administered by physicians at the patient’s request), states currently only authorize the former.

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