Assisted Death and the Public Good

Authors: Lydia S. Dugdale, MD, Daniel Callahan, PhD


The movement toward physician-assisted suicide, also called assisted death (AD), is built upon a fundamental moral premise: each of us should have control over our lives and deaths. Moreover, the relief of suffering, a core premise of traditional medical ethics, is integral to the care of dying people. Physician assistance in facilitating death is therefore appropriate and justified.

We disagree. Although autonomy is a fundamental principle of ethical medical practice, we wish to advance an alternative value, that of the public good, to offset that of autonomy

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