assisted suicide

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The act of helping someone to commit suicide by giving them the means (e.g. drugs) to do so. Aiding and abetting a suicide is a criminal offence in England and Wales. However, a number of recent cases involving terminally ill patients have either not reached prosecution or resulted in very lenient penalties. It is important to note that respecting a competent patient's right to refuse life-saving treatment is not legally regarded as helping them die (see advance decision). Case: R (Pretty) v DPP [2001] UKHL 61, [2002] 1 AC 800. See also euthanasia.

Subjects: Law — Medicine and Health.

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