CT doctors challenge assisted-suicide statute

Two Connecticut physicians have filed a challenge to the state's assisted-suicide statute, arguing that they should have the right to offer what they call "aid in dying." This represents a new approach to what has been a long battle by some physicians to win the right to assist terminally-ill patients with suicide. The plaintiffs include Gary Blick, MD, an HIV/AIDS specialist in Norwalk, and Ronald Levine, MD, a Greenwich internist.

Right now, state law says that a person is guilty of second-degree manslaughter if he (or she) intentionally causes or aids another person, other than by force, duress or deception, to commit suicide." The doctors' challenge argues that "aid in dying is a recognized term of medical art," and may be appropriate in some cases.

Right now, only Oregon and Washington officially allow physician-assisted suicide. Previously lawsuits arguing that patients have a right to physician-assisted suicide have been rejected by several state courts. Now, the Montana Supreme Court is considering a lower court ruling arguing that the state's constitution would allow for "the right of competent mentally-ill patient to die with dignity."

To learn more about the case:
- read this American Medical News piece
- read the case itself

Related Articles:
Calif. considers physician-assisted suicide
Physician-assisted suicide legalized in Wash.
Wash. assisted suicide law takes effect, with mixed participation

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