This is why any person who chooses to be involved in the death of another - however tangentially and for whatever reason – needs to be very careful. This is especially true when friends and family are involved and the imperative to do the loving thing, may not equate with a legal obligation to the ‘right’ thing.
Definitions & Terminology
The history of the right to die movement is remarkable for its ever-changing vocabulary. Whereas a decade ago, phrases such as voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide were used to describe all types of help to die, in these more nuanced, political times, the words we use have been ‘toned down’ with phrases such as voluntary assisted dying (VAD) and medical aid in dying (MAID) entering common parlance.
Voluntary euthanasia (from the Greek meaning ‘a good death’) is the term used to describe the situation when a medical professional might administer to a patient a lethal injection. Voluntary euthanasia is legal in countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Interestingly, as early 2001, a British House of Lords select committee on medical ethics defined euthanasia more broadly as a ‘deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering’ (https://bit.ly/3c943n3). Readers can see the confusion that exists.
By contrast, Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) or Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) are generally the terms that describe when a medical professional prescribes, but does not administer, a lethal drug to a patient. A small number of US states, Canada and the Australian states of Victoria and West Australia permit some form of PAS or MAID.