A term used in varying ways to describe the involvement of a physician in the death of a patient upon that patients request. Some use the term to describe anything from the involvement of a physician in the act of terminating treatment of a patient that results in his or her death to a physician who knowingly and willingly prescribes a lethal medication for a patient to use in ending his or her own life, which is legal in the State of Oregon.

A term used in varying ways to describe the involvement of a physician in the death of a patient upon that patients request. Some use the term to describe anything from the involvement of a physician in the act of terminating treatment of a patient that results in his or her death to a physician who knowingly and willingly prescribes a lethal medication for a patient to use in ending his or her own life, which is legal in the State of Oregon. In this regard, there are many who believe that the term "physician-assisted dying" is preferable to the term "physician-assisted suicide." This is because the dying who request and receive physician assistance are not committing suicide, because their death is inevitable and often imminent, and the act is lessening the period of their suffering.

In these cases, physician assisted dying allows patients to escape what the patient defines as meaningless suffering prior to their death, especially when death is the only way to relieve their suffering.

Adopted from:
Death and Dignity, Marking Choices and Taking Charge by Timothy E. Quill, M.D.