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Box 1 Definition of physician assisted suicide (PAS) and euthanasia

From: Trends in Swedish physicians’ attitudes towards physician-assisted suicide: a cross-sectional study

PAS means that a patient who is found to be competent and fulfils certain criteria, and who visits a physician and requests prescription of drugs by which the patient might commit suicide in order to put an end to life, or prevent unbearable suffering at the end of life. The patient is supposed to be able to take the drugs on her or his own, meaning that the physician’s role is only to prescribe the drugs. The patient might use the drugs or abstain from taking the drugs, if they decide the suffering is bearable
Euthanasia means that a physician injects lethal doses of a drug(s) upon a competent patient’s request. The physician’s role is active and the patient will die immediately after having received the injection or drip. The criteria for euthanasia are similar to those for prescribing life-ending drugs for self-administration