Physician Assistance in Dying: The American Experience

Assistant Program Director and Palliative Care guru Dr. Elizabeth Paulk gave an insightful Grand Rounds Lecture today about the history and ethics of physician assisted death (PAD) in this country. She talked in depth about the 1997 Oregon Death with Dignity Act and showed data about the types of patients who seek physician assistance in dying. She highlighted the case of Brittany Maynard, a 29 year old woman with glioblastoma multiforme who became an outspoken advocate for PAD and died by choice in 2014 after moving to Oregon. The Maynard case thrust the issue of PAD into the national spotlight and a 2015 Gallup poll showed an increasingly favorable public perception of  PAD with 68% of Americans in favor. Physician assisted death is currently legal in Oregon, Washington, Montana, New Mexico and Vermont. Read more about the controversy and data surrounding PAD and about Brittany Maynard here and here. See Dr. Paulk’s slides for more information about this morally and legally complicated issue.

GRPaulk

Paulk Grand Rounds slides

 Photo courtesy of psychotherapynetwork.com