Objectives Official data reports from countries where assisted suicide and euthanasia is legal are an important resource for discerning participation rates, patient safety and transparency in the way that assisted dying is legal. We aimed to identify what information is published in official data reports on assisted suicide and euthanasia across jurisdictions.
Methods We searched for official data reports from every jurisdiction where assisted suicide or euthanasia is legal. Searches were conducted on these countries’ official health authority websites as well as on mainstream search engines. The data measures included within each report were described in four categories: participation data, patient characteristics, clinician characteristics, and drugs and dying process.
Results We found that 16 jurisdictions where assisted suicide or euthanasia is currently legal regularly publish data reports regarding its practice. The information included within these official reports varies greatly, with few measures published across all or most jurisdictions.
Conclusions Differences in the kinds of information published within official reports on assisted suicide and euthanasia makes comparing the practice of assisted suicide and euthanasia across jurisdictions challenging. Many jurisdictions fail to report data measures, which could be valuable to the understanding of assisted suicide and euthanasia practices within that country. Improving data reporting across jurisdictions where assisted suicide and euthanasia is legal, for example, through establishing minimum requirements for data collection and reporting, is an important step towards ensuring patient safety and the transparent practice of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
- end of life care
- terminal care
Data availability statement
All data relevant to the study are included in the article.
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Contributors The conception for the article was a collective effort of all authors based on joint discussion. AW wrote the first draft and managed edits. IF, CR and KES contributed substantive edits on subsequent drafts. CR acted as manuscript guarantor.
Funding KES is Laing Galazka chair in palliative care at King’s College London, funded through an endowment from the Kirby Laing Foundation and Cicely Saunders International.
Competing interests IF is on the board of Living and Dying Well, a think tank that researches and analyses evidence surrounding the ‘assisted dying’ debate. AW declares paid employment with Living and Dying Well for whom she works as a temporary researcher.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.