Giving Death a Helping Hand

Physician-Assisted Suicide and Public Policy. An International Perspective

  • Dieter Birnbacher
  • Edgar Dahl

Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 38)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XII
  2. Physician-Assisted Suicide and Public Policy

  3. Physician-Assisted Suicide – An International Perspective

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 65-65
    2. Linda Ganzini, Edgar Dahl
      Pages 67-75
    3. Sheila A.M. McLean
      Pages 113-128
  4. Physician-Assisted Suicide – Narratives from Professional and Personal Experience

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 129-129

About this book


If it comes to choosing between methods of last resort for severely suffering, physician-assisted suicide will probably prove more acceptable as a method of last resort than active euthanasia both to patients, to legislators and to the general public. From the perspective of patients, physician-assisted suicide is a more unambiguous expression of the patient's autonomous will. From the legislator's perspective it seems less liable to misuse and abuse. And often the availability of assisted suicide, instead of shortening the life of a patient, has proved to prolong it. Public policy has begun to respond to this prospect. Notably in Switzerland and Germany, the attitudes of public bodies towards physician-assisted suicide are in a process of change, partly motivated by the wish to take the edge off the pressure for legalisation of active euthanasia.

The present volume focuses on public policy issues related to physician-assisted suicide. It offers a detailed analysis of the current legal standing and practice of physician-assisted suicide in various countries and discusses the ethical principles underlying its legal and professional regulation. In addition, it contains a number of personal narratives by professionals who have for many years been involved in end-of-life issues.


euthanasia human rights medical law physician-assisted suicide professional medical codes public policy

Editors and affiliations

  • Dieter Birnbacher
    • 1
  • Edgar Dahl
    • 2
  1. 1.Heinrich-Heine-Universität DüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Justus-Liebig-Universität GiessenGermany

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Medicine Medicine (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-1-4020-6495-1
  • Online ISBN 978-1-4020-6496-8
  • Series Print ISSN 1567-8008
  • Buy this book on publisher's site