Good Law | Bad Law #145 - The Ethics of Dying: A Conversation w/ Emily Largent

Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast, Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Emily Largent, a professor of medical ethics and health policy at the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn as well as a law professor at Penn Law, to discuss the issue of aid in dying – also known as, physician-assisted suicide.


New Jersey and Maine are set to become the 8th and 9th states with laws allowing physician-assisted suicide, subject to rigid rules and regulations.  With this development, 70 million Americans will live in states where access to life-ending medication is available where a person has a confirmed terminal illness.  Aaron and Dr. Largent discuss the legal and ethical issues raised by these laws.  Dr. Largent explains that a patient might want to choose physician-assisted suicide in order to have the ability to make their own end-of-life decisions.  Is it ethical to allow aided suicide to allow dignity in end-of-life care or is this a troubling development because doctors and others may participate in ending life rather than in making every effort to care for the sick and dying?


Emily and Aaron discuss many end-of-life care options, including doctor-assisted suicide, as well as other advanced directives like DNRs (Do Not Resuscitate orders), wills, and POAs (Power of Attorney orders.) Throughout the episode, Aaron and Emily consider the law and policy surrounding these choices, including the strict requirements associated with aid in dying options.  Listen in as Aaron and Emily discuss these difficult decisions and as they explore the laws that make them available.   


Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest: Emily Largent