At present, Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia are illegal in Ireland, and are forbidden under the Irish Medical Council's ethical guidelines. With the recent introduction of a Bill in the Irish Dáil (Parliament) which would have permitted Physicial-Assisted Suicide in that country, Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia (PAS-E) has become the subject of debate, both within the medical profession and in the wider community. Geographical and historical considerations mean that the Irish situation may have relevance to many other countries, which have apparently little similarity among themselves. PAS-E is becoming more widespread and more acceptable in many countries throughout the world. There are ramifications for many aspects of medical care, and matters such as the broadening of euthanasia criteria beyond terminal illness, attitudes toward suicide, and the determination of capacity and voluntariness, suggest that it will be an important issue, not only for psychiatrists, but for the wider medical community as well, in the coming years.
Keywords: Assisted suicide; Ethics; Euthanasia; International; Psychiatry; Society.
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