Conflicts for Supporters of Aid in Dying: Comparative Study Among Three States in the U.S.

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:30
Oral Presentation
Shizuko KATAGIRI, Kagoshima University, Japan
In the U.S. some of the States have Aid in Dying Law. Pioneer is Oregon, where Death with Dignity Act had passed in 1997. Washington State was followed in 2008, and also in Vermont where they had passed in 2014. These three States are different from the euthanasia in Europe because of that the patients take lethal medications for themselves after physicians prescribed. Oregon and Washington States disclose the patients’ data submitted by the physicians as annual reports on website. These reports say that typical patients’ profile is Caucasian, high educated, suffering from cancers, and living in urban area.

The purpose of this paper is to show the conflicts for the supporters of patients who had prescribed lethal medications under this Law. The reason why to choose these three States as research targets is to pass this law before the turning point, which means that 29-years-old woman, Brittany Maynard, who had advocated for the legislation by using social media collaborating with national organization, Compassion & Choices.

Qualitative data was collected by in-depth interview on August in 2016 and 2017. Research targets are executive directors, prescribed physicians and support volunteers in these three States.

Comparative content analysis brought us some insights in terms of conflicts when they support. Firstly they had a payment conflict, which means whether the patients can apply to use state insurance in order to get lethal medication. Secondly they had conflict on physical pain, because ironically some patients had severe physical pain after taking medication. Thirdly they have philosophical conflict sandwiched between the personal value and the organization one. Forth conflict is the gap between the patients themselves and their family members, or the gap among their family members. Fifth one is that they notice spiritual conflict which is related to existential anxiety for the patients.