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Medical Ethics |

Aid in DyingAid in Dying: Guidance: Guidance for an Emerging End-of-Life Practice

Kathryn L. Tucker, JD
Author and Funding Information

From Legal Affairs, Compassion & Choices, Denver, CO, and Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, CA.

Correspondence to: Kathryn L. Tucker, JD, Legal Affairs, Compassion & Choices, PO Box 101810, Denver, CO 80250; e-mail: ktucker@compassionandchoices.org

Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The author has reported to CHEST that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.


Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2012;142(1):218-224. doi:10.1378/chest.12-0046
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Patients approaching death because of terminal illness may find themselves trapped in a dying process they find unbearable, even with excellent pain and symptom management. Some will want the option of aid in dying. Aid in dying is the practice of a physician writing a prescription for medication for a mentally competent, terminally ill patient that the patient may ingest to bring about a peaceful death. The practice is increasingly accepted by physicians, and it is likely that a growing population of patients will inquire about it. Data from states that give terminally ill patients a statutory right to aid in dying demonstrate that the practice improves end-of-life care. Therefore, it is timely for clinical practice guidelines to emerge to offer guidance to physicians willing to provide aid in dying.


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