Lewis Speaks at Michigan State about Terminally Ill Minors and Physician-Monitored Suicide

On Friday, Browne Lewis, C|M|LAW’s Leon and Gloria Plevin Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Health Law and Policy spoke at Michigan State University School of Law at a symposium entitled “Living With Terminal Illness: Should Adolescent Minors Make Decisions at the End of Their Lives?.”  The title of her talk was “Pain Matures: Terminally Ill Minors and Physician-Monitored Suicide”  and it focused upon the recent decision by the Belgium Senate to expand the availability of euthanasia to minors suffering from incurable physical and mental diseases. She discussed the ethical issues that would arise if, in the United States, we permitted terminally ill minors to select physician-assisted suicide.  In addition, she emphasized that the current legal regime contains inadequate safeguards to protect minors.  Lewis opined that if we allow doctors to prescribe lethal medication to be used by terminally ill minors to end their lives we need to ensure that the process is monitored by an independent third-party.  In addition, the law should be amended to include a mandatory reporting requirement for physicians and other health care providers who suspected that the minor was being pressured into taking the medication.

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