Hastened death: Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia in ALS

James A. Russell and Zachary Simmons

in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print February 2018 | ISBN: 9780198757726
Published online February 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780191817618 | DOI:
Hastened death: Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia in ALS

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  • Neurology
  • Development of the Nervous System


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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more than any other disease, promotes patient interest in hastened death. From an ethical perspective, end-of-life decision making should pivot on patient-centric considerations. However, medical decisions made by patients and their physicians are embedded in societal mores and the law. Opinions regarding the morality of physician participation in hastened-death and its incorporation into public policy remain sharply divided. This chapter attempts to provide a contemporary and measured review of the differing perspectives and the current status of physician participation in hastened-death. The focus will be on issues particularly relevant to ALS patients and those of us who care for them. Our primary goal is to provide for ALS clinicians a foundation upon which their individual consciences may determine whether their lawful participation in hastened-death can ever be considered an ethically permissible action or a socially acceptable policy.

Chapter.  9296 words. 

Subjects: Neurology ; Development of the Nervous System

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