Capstone Case Vacco v. Quill


CapstoneCase Vacco v. Quill

CapstoneCase Vacco v. Quill

Vaccov. Quill represents a landmark ruling by the United States SupremeCourt on the right to die. In the case, Dr. Timothy E. Quillalongside other physicians and three terminally ill patients aimed atchallenging the constitutionality pertaining to the New York State’sban imposed on physician-assisted suicide. As much as the ban hadallowed patients to decline life-saving treatment, it criminalizedthe assistance that physicians may offer patients to attempt suicideor decline suicide even in instances where the patients were inimmense pain or suffering from terminal illness. In this case, theSupreme Court of the United States upheld the constitutionality ofthe ban on physician assisted suicide and stated that the preventionof physicians from helping their patients even those that are inimmense pain or terminally ill was a legitimate state interest thatwas within the state’s authority to regulate (Schmalleger et al,2010). The court ruled that the state had a legitimate interest inthe protection of medical ethics, prevention of euthanasia,protection of the terminally ill and disabled from prejudice that mayencourage them to cut short their lives and the preservation of humanlife (Biggs, 2000). As much as the court acknowledged the difficultywith which the task came, it made a distinction between the decliningof lifesaving treatment and assisted suicide (Schmalleger et al,2010). It noted that later incorporates some criminal elementspertaining to intent and causation, which the former does not.Irrespective of the nobility of the physician’s motives, he or sheshould not assist, hasten or deliberately cause a patient’s death(Schmalleger et al, 2010). I think that the distinction made isconsiderably valid. The assistance given to a patient to commitsuicide would essentially mean that the physician is the cause of thedeath and indeed, intends to end the life of the patient.


Biggs,H. (2000). Euthanasia,death with dignity and the law.Oxford: Hart.

Schmalleger,F., Hall, D. E. &amp Dolatowski, J. J. (2010). Criminal law today(4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Learning.