The medicalization of dying

J Med Philos. 1993 Jun;18(3):269-79. doi: 10.1093/jmp/18.3.269.


Physician assisted suicide or active euthanasia is analyzed as a medicalization of the needs of persons who are suffering interminably. As with other medicalized responses to personal needs, the availability of active euthanasia will likely divert attention and resources from difficult social and personal aspects of the needs of dying and suffering persons, continuing the pattern of privatization of the costs of caregiving for persons who are candidates for active euthanasia, limiting the ability of caregivers to assist suffering persons to make their continued suffering tolerable, and casting doubt on the voluntariness of the choice of active euthanasia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Euthanasia* / psychology
  • Euthanasia, Active*
  • Euthanasia, Active, Voluntary*
  • Humans
  • Physician's Role
  • Resource Allocation
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sociology, Medical*
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Suicide, Assisted* / psychology
  • Terminal Care* / psychology