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Washington Euthanasia Laws

Euthanasia, or mercy killing, is the intentional taking of one's life for the purpose of ending that person's suffering. Washington is one of only two states that allow physician-assisted suicide, as codified in the Washington Death with Dignity Act. To qualify, an individual must have a terminal illness and have less than six months to live, as determined by his or her physician. The patient or caretaker (through a power of attorney and advanced directive) may request lethal doses of medication that allow the patient to die peacefully and without pain.

Learn more about Washington's euthanasia law in the following table. See FindLaw's Patient Rights section for related materials.

Code Section RCW 70.245, et seq.
Euthanasia Condoned in Statutes? Yes. Physician-assisted suicide is permitted for terminally ill patients with an estimated six months or less to live.  
Qualification Criteria for Patients Must be at least 18 years old, Washington resident, mentally competent, terminally ill with less than 6 months to live (as verified by two physicians).
Waiting Periods 15 days between first oral request and written request; 48-hours between written request and writing of prescription for lethal medications.
Effect of Withholding of Life-Sustaining Procedures Withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment shall not constitute suicide or homicide.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Washington health care attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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