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Nevada Euthanasia Laws

Maybe you’ve had a loved one with a debilitating, painful, and terminal illness. Or maybe you’ve just seen a story in the news concerning the “right to die,” or have been wondering what the law is surrounding so-called “mercy killings.” “Euthanasia” refers to killing or allowing the death of a hopelessly sick or injured person, and intentionally ending the life of another person, no matter how sick, is illegal in most states. Here is a quick introduction to euthanasia laws in Nevada.

Euthanasia Laws

Also referred to as “physician-assisted suicide,” euthanasia is prohibited in just about every state, although the issue remains one of the most hotly contested in legal, social, and political debates across the country. Deliberate mercy killings are illegal under Nevada law, however doctors are permitted in some cases to withhold or withdraw "life-sustaining" measures.

Euthanasia Statutes in Nevada

Nevada’s euthanasia statutes are listed in the table below.

Code Section

Nevada Statutes 449.535, et seq.: Withholding or Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Treatment

Euthanasia Condoned in Statutes?

Euthanasia or mercy killing not condoned or authorized or approved by Nevada law.

Effect of Withholding of Life-Sustaining Procedures

Death resulting from withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment in accordance with Nevada law does not for any purpose constitute suicide or homicide.

Euthanasia Law History

Federal law and the Constitution provide right to physician-assisted suicide. The United States Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that a state’s interest in preserving life and preventing intentional killing outweighs a citizen’s liberty interest in choosing when, where, and how die. Therefore, states are permitted to ban euthanasia, even though many states have recognized a distinction between a physician proactively ending a patient's life (which is illegal in nearly every state) and passively refusing or removing life-saving medical treatment (which remains legal in many states).

Some states have gone farther and enacted laws protecting a patient's right to die, but even in those cases, doctors are not allowed to administer lethal doses of drugs. Doctors are only permitted to provide certain drugs at their patients’ request, and the patients must administer the doses themselves.

Related Resources for Nevada Euthanasia Laws

The issues surrounding the right to die are emotionally and legally complex. You can consult with a Nevada health care attorney in your area if you would like legal assistance regarding a terminal health care matter. You can also visit FindLaw's section on Patient Rights for additional articles and information on this topic.

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