There exists a very thin demarcation between physician aided death and euthanasia.
Physician aided death is where a physician provides a lethal means to ending life to a willing,
terminally ill patient in the form of medication for him or her to administer at his or her own will.
Euthanasia on the other hand is a means of intentionally ending human life that does not involve
the consent of the individual whose life is in question. Euthanasia is usually mostly done to
relieve the individual off terminal suffering.
In physician aided death, the physician takes an active role in delivering the patients
request to end his or her own life. In euthanasia, the decision as to whether the patient lives or
dies is made by a third party, normally a close family member, therefore it entails implementing
the third party’s own independent decision on the said patient.
Physician aided death is normally a voluntary decision that is normally made by the
patient. giving the patient the chance to choose the method to be used and the time of death. On
the other hand, euthanasia is an involuntary decision that is made by another individual on behalf
of the patient. The patient does not get to have a say as to how and when it will be implemented
While euthanasia is normally carried out with utmost precision, physician aided death
may be postponed with request from the patient. This may give time between the patient and the
physician to discuss motives behind the decision and even options that are available for use
(Parpa et al., 165). Euthanasia does not provide such opportunities. Since physician aided death
is carried out on request of the patient, it is seen as emotionally easier for the physician and for
any third party present compared to euthanasia where the emotional burden falls squarely on the
physician and the individual authorizing the mercy killing.
American Nurses Association. "Position paper on promotion of comfort and relief of pain in
dying patients." Washington, DC: Author (1995).
Parpa, Efi, et al. “Attitudes of health care professionals, relatives of advanced cancer patients and
public towards euthanasia and physician assisted suicide.” Health Policy 97.2-3