Physician-assisted suicide and the Supreme Court: the Washington and Vacco verdicts
Department of Psychiatry
Medical Subject Headings
Advisory Committees; Government Regulation; Humans; Intention; New York; Persons; Professional Autonomy; Resuscitation Orders; Right to Die; Suicide, Assisted; *Supreme Court Decisions; United States; Value of Life; Vulnerable Populations; Washington; Withholding Treatment
Law | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry
In June 1997, the Supreme Court decided that statutes proscribing physicians from providing lethal medication for use by competent, terminally ill patients do not violate the Due Process or Equal Protection Clauses of the Constitution. The Court returned the question of physician-assisted suicide to the states, but did not foreclose future review of state laws that may be too restrictive of care at the end of life. The conceptual distinctions between assisted suicide, refusal of life-sustaining treatment, and administration of pain medication to terminally ill patients were endorsed as important guideposts for future analyses.
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Citation: J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 1997;25(4):595-606.
Candilis, Philip J. and Appelbaum, Kenneth L., "Physician-assisted suicide and the Supreme Court: the Washington and Vacco verdicts" (1997). Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center Publications and Presentations. 397.