Although assisted dying has been most commonly presented within a medicalised framework, the notion of de-medicalisation is employed in this paper to suggest that there are emerging models of assisted dying in which some medical aspects assumed to be an integral part of the phenomenon are both challenged and diminished. The paper considers cases where relatives have facilitated a loved one's assisted suicide abroad, cases of assisted death in which the assistor in the actual suicide act is a non-medic, and the growing debate surrounding non-medical grounds for desiring death. In evaluating the potential impact of partial de-medicalisation on the assisted dying debate, the argument presented is that whilst a de-medicalised model could well contribute to a richer understanding of assisted dying and a better death for the person who is assisted, there are cogent reasons to retain some aspects of the medicalised model and that a completely de-medicalised model of assisted dying is unrealistic.
This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in the Medical Law Review following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Ost, S. The demedicalisation of assisted dying : is a less medicalised model the way forward. Medical Law Review. 2010 18 : 4 497-540. is available online at: http://medlaw.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/18/4/497