Rates of Physician Assisted Suicide Remains Low Worldwide, Despite Legalization
Countries worldwide including the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Colombia, Canada, Switzerland, and several states in the US are legalizing the practice of physician assisted suicide in cases of terminally ill patients (Perelman School of Medicine). According to Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, chair of the department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, “there are perceptions that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are widespread regardless of its legal status” (Perelman School of Medicine). However, a recent study led by Dr. Emanuel has shown that despite its permissibility the actual cases of physician-assisted suicide are still relatively rare, from 0.3 to 4.6 percent of all applicable cases (Perelman School of Medicine). Additionally, the data shows that cases of physician assisted suicide stem more often from psychological pain rather than physical, particularly among the whiter upper-class.
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. (July, 2016). Despite increasing global legalization of physician-assisted suicide, use remains rare. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160705112130.htm