A Lifelong Prisoner’s Choice of Death: Ethical Issues Involved in Considering Dutch Prisoners Serving Life Sentences for Physician Assisted Death
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Prisoners serving life sentences who wish to lodge a request for physician assisted death face a wide range of responses from the general public, politicians, medical professionals, criminologists, lawyers, and many others. In this thesis I focus on the ethical issues involved in considering these requests, creating a broad context that shows the interconnectedness of the many considerations involved, and where and why they collide. The two main topics I discuss are the autonomy required of prisoners to request physician assisted death, and the possibility of meeting the requirements of the Dutch euthanasia law with regards to suffering, within the context of the prison. In this thesis I discuss the area of tension that arises when considering the ethical issues alongside issues from other relevant disciplines, in the process of finding out whether physician assisted death should belong to the choices of prisoners serving life sentences.