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What is aid in dying?

The term ‘aid in dying’ stands for the possibility to help another person to die. It includes both what is called ‘assisted suicide ‘ and what is called ‘euthanasia’. Is is not the same as palliative care (which is caring for a dying person) and not the same as refraining from treatment (the person dies as result of the disease, not as result from the help). 

Aid in dying can be given by medical practitioners, then it is called medical aid in dying (MAiD), or by other persons, like relatives, then it is only aid in dying (AiD). 

When people want to die with help of medication, which is in almost all countries controlled by medical institutions, a physician is necessary to prescribe the lethal medication. So, even when not a medical practitioner but some one else is administering the lethal medication, the AiD in fact is MAiD.  This is for instance the case in Switzerland. Although the law does not require the intervention of a doctor in order to be legally allowed to assist in a suicide, in most cases a physician plays a role in prescribing the medication – as the suicide is in most cases performed with help of lethal medication. Read the brochure of Dignitas to see the role of the doctor in their procedure: Brochure “How DIGNITAS works”