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A timed death.

St. Elmo Nanton asks, "Is there really such a thing as assisted suicide?" [Letters, The definition of assisted suicide, Jan. 2014, p.

The issue of determining the time of one's death is highly emotional, but some clarity results when the legal terms associated with it are used.

"Assisted suicide," where legal, is a multi-stage process. To be eligible, one obtains approval, normally requiring interviews with two doctors. If approved, a prescription for the product is issued. Next, one has to actually purchase the product. Third, at a time and place of one's choosing, the product is drunk, and death results. By any definition, this is suicide, made possible by the prior issuance of the product, therefore, "assisted suicide." Not everyone decides to follow through. In Oregon in 2012, 115 prescriptions were issued; 77 deaths were recorded as the result.

Melanie Delva writes about the death of her uncle, following a lethal injection by a doctor [Letters, Compassionate death, Jan. 2014, p. 4]. She uses the term "physician assisted suicide." "Euthanasia" is the appropriate term. (This may be the identical procedure our vet carries out on our pet when we decide that the pet's continuing life is no longer appropriate.) This clearly would be "murder" in any jurisdiction that had not legally sanctioned euthanasia. It is legal in Belgium. Again, jurisdictions where euthanasia is allowed have put regulations in place, attempting to ensure their use is restricted to specified cases.

In both cases, groups against these options continue to point out instances where the deaths do not seem to have met the requirements.

J.T. Reid

Oakville. Ont.

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Title Annotation:LETTERS
Author:Reid, J.T.
Publication:Anglican Journal
Date:Feb 1, 2014
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