Oklahoma Euthanasia Laws
Euthanasia is one of many highly controversial medical law topics. Some people feel that the ability to “die with dignity” is a mercy and therefore physician-assisted suicide should be a fundamental right provided by their state law. Others feel that any form of assisted suicide is immoral, unjust, and should be illegal across the country. Whatever your personal beliefs are, it’s always good to know what is legal in your state.
Oklahoma Does Not Permit Physician Assisted Suicide
Oklahoma prohibits assisted suicide, mercy killings, or euthanasia. However, if a person creates a valid advance health directive or living will that specifies a request to remove artificial hydration and feeding, i.e. life support, that is not considered suicide. The removal of life prolonging treatments is treated differently from the intentional administration of mediations to end one’s life. Pain medications are also viewed differently. Because the medical profession typically doesn’t want to see any patient suffer at the end of life, certain medications that will relief pain, but may also quicken death are permitted, to comfort the person who’s in pain.
The chart below further explains the laws on euthanasia in Oklahoma.
|Code Sections||Oklahoma Statutes Chapter 61B, Sections 3141 to 3150 – Assisted Suicide Prevention Act|
|Euthanasia Condoned in Statutes?||No, Oklahoma’s Advance Directive Act explicitly states that mercy killing, assisted suicide, and euthanasia aren’t condoned, authorized, or approved.|
|Effect of Withholding of Life Sustaining Procedures||When a person dies from having life sustaining treatment withdrawn, Oklahoma law doesn’t see it as either a homicide or a suicide nor does it violate the Assisted Suicide Prevention Act. That is, the doctor won’t be criminally charged with homicide for following a person or their health care representative’s decision to remove life support.|
If you have more questions about euthanasia in Oklahoma, you may want to consult with a local, experienced health care law attorney who can address your specific situation. When a loved one is suffering, you would give anything to help him or her, but helping them commit suicide is not the best answer. Talk to the doctor and a lawyer, learn the medical and legal options, and take care of yourself. You can find support groups for caregivers of people with serious illnesses by dialing 2-1-1.
Note: State laws are constantly in flux, so it’s best to contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify any state law(s) that you are reading about.
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