None of these procedures applies to euthanasia. the courts do not accept euthanasia by health care providers, irrespective of the patient's request to be taken off a respirator (in writing or tape recorded), but the health care provider may not give the patient an overdose of sleeping medication at the patient's direction. The patient is dead in either situation, but the legal consequences are extremely different. A health care provider who does more than just terminate (or not initiate) care at the request of the patient can be tried for murder. It is important that all members of the health care team fully appreciate this distinction. The hospital itself could be held liable for personnel who aid patient suicide.
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