A Statistical and Cultural Approach to Physician-Assisted Suicide in Asian Countries

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Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) is a medical practice that has become legal in eight states over the past three decades (Death with Dignity Acts - States That Allow Assisted Death). This practice is still rather controversial since a majority of the United States prohibits PAS. As big of a controversy as it is in the United States, the practice appears to be even more controversial in Asian countries. Speaking to one's family about death and individual choice is considered to be taboo in several Asian cultures, making the discussion about PAS a rather difficult topic. Given this unique scenario, could it be possible that this lack of communication within a family leads to more PAS? This research will examine if there is a higher tendency of PAS in Asian countries compared to other countries, specifically focusing on China and Japan. In order to test this hypothesis, a combined historical and statistical approach on PAS in Asian countries will be used, along with analysis of Asian culture and norms about death and individuality. This research will contribute to the understanding of suicide taboo in Asian countries associated with discussions about death and individual choice amongst families. It will also observe how such circumstances effect the use of PAS in these countries.

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Saige Kelmelis

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