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Assisted Suicide: Nurse Practitioners as Providers?

HALL, JACQULYN KAY RN, JD

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Abstract

Changes in the law of death are being made. Nurse practitioners will be asked to help their patients commit suicide, and to help euthanize their patients. Currently most nurse practitioners have legal authority to prescribe the drugs that can potentially kill patients. NPs may be more likely than physicians to be asked for these drugs. Assisted suicide, euthanasia, and related terms are defined. The specific changes in the law of causing death are provided. Collective payment for illness care may be one reason that changes In the law are now being made. Society projects that dying people do not want to live; but that assumption is wrong. NPs in the future may choose to act at the lowest standard of behavior (the law) or they may behave in accord with a higher standard, their personal ethics. NPs should assert that their professional duty is to do good for the patient, not to help kill the patient.

(C) Williams & Wilkins 1996. All Rights Reserved.

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