Young Indians' Views of the Acceptability of Physician-Assisted Suicide


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Abstract

The acceptability by people in India of physician-assisted suicide was examined. Two hundred ninety-three Indian university students judged acceptability of PAS in 36 scenarios composed of all combinations of four factors: (a) the patient's age, (b) the level of incurability of the illness, (c) the type of suffering, and (d) the extent to which the patient requests a life-ending procedure. Three clusters of participants were found. For 29%, PAS was mainly unacceptable but less so if the patient was older or requested it. For 29%, it was mainly acceptable but less so if the patient was younger or did not request it. For 42%, it was clearly unacceptable if the patient was young but was clearly acceptable if patient was elderly, and more so if the patient requested it. The patient's age was the main determinant of acceptability, which is in accordance with the Hindu philosophy of reincarnation.

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