Medical assistance in dying: a disruption of therapeutic relationships

Leeroy William
Med J Aust 2018; 209 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja17.01217
Published online: 1 October 2018

Medical assistance in dying may disrupt therapeutic relationships and will challenge beliefs

Medical assistance in dying, whether voluntary euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, has been a recurring topic for societal debate. Voluntary euthanasia is the deliberate and intentional act to end a competent person’s life, at their request, to relieve their suffering.1 Physician-assisted suicide relates to the medical provision of the means or knowledge for someone to commit suicide via the self-administration of a prescribed medication.1 Amid growing societal support2 and stability of worldwide medical opinion, there has been a 66% increase in the legalisation of physician-assisted suicide since 2015,3 which indirectly legitimises such practices through the broad influence it has on societal support. Canada and the American states of California and Colorado legalised physician-assisted suicide in 2016.3 In Australia, the Victorian Parliament passed a Bill in 2017 to legalise physician-assisted suicide, while the debate currently continues in other Australian states and New Zealand. By contrast, in May 2018 Guernsey failed to become the first place in Britain to permit physician-assisted suicide.4

  • Leeroy William1,2

  • 1 Eastern Health, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 Monash University, Melbourne, VIC


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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