Medical Aid in Dying: Not a Medical Choice, but a Personal One


Further arguments against MAID.



This article is in response to the series, “Medical Aid in Dying: Defining “Treatment”” by Douglas W. Heinrichs, MD.

I thank Douglas W. Heinrichs, MD, for his response. I do respect his point of view and commitment to the autonomy of suffering patients. But physician-assisted suicide undermines that autonomy. Through these laws, society appoints physicians as gatekeepers of the terminal patient’s autonomy. Whether the requesting patient receives a lethal prescription is completely dependent on the physician’s values and perspective, not on the patient’s autonomy. Dr Heinrichs would say yes; another doctor might say no.

If a competent terminal patient (or anyone else) wants to die, that decision is not a medical one, but an intensely personal one. The license to assist another person’s death should not be given to a stranger with a medical degree.

Dr Stefan is one of the country's most highly regarded experts in mental disability law.

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