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Just When You Thought the Euthanasia Debate Had Died


The death by assisted suicide in Switzerland of Australian Dr. John Elliott, in early 2007 has highlighted the inadequacy of the law pertaining to medical decisions at end-of-life, both from a legal as well as ethical perspective. Despite being illegal in most jurisdictions around the world, physician-assisted death is a reality, in part because of the flexibility, inconsistent application and, at times, invisibility, of laws surrounding it. The appropriate response to this should be greater transparency by a reform of the law.

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The author thanks Prof. Bernadette McSherry, Faculty of Law, Monash University, for her review and comments on a prior draft of this article.

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None declared.

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Correspondence to Alan Rothschild.

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Rothschild, A. Just When You Thought the Euthanasia Debate Had Died. Bioethical Inquiry 5, 69–78 (2008).

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  • Euthanasia
  • Physician-assisted suicide
  • Law and ethics
  • End-of-life decisions
  • Withdrawing and withholding of treatment
  • Palliative treatment
  • Terminal sedation