Intended for healthcare professionals


Decisions in US say that doctors can assist suicides

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 14 May 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1255
  1. J Roberts

    Americans got three messages within three days last week that in some cases it may be legal for doctors to help patients to commit suicide. It appears, at the very least, that prosecutors will have trouble imprisoning doctors who help people die.

    Most notably, a jury in Michigan acquitted Dr Jack Kevorkian, the 65 year old retired pathologist who has helped 20 seriously ill patients to end their lives. Dr Kevorkian faced charges on a law designed to stop his activities, and he was eager to face prosecution in the hope of forcing the courts to take a firm stand. “I just want to show society's insanity,” he said after the jurors acquitted him after nine hours of deliberations.

    The jurors were not unanimous …

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