Margaret P. Battin, PhD, Professor of Philosophy, and Timothy E. Quill, MD, Professor of Medicine, wrote in the introduction to their 2004 book, Physician-Assisted Dying: The Case for Palliative Care & Patient Choice:

“In the introduction and in the title of the book, we use the term physician-assisted dying because it is descriptively accurate and carries with it no misleading connotations. Other contributors to this volume prefer the synonymous term physician-assisted suicide because it is technically accurate, and still others prefer physician aid in dying because it is relatively neutral. Although suicide can be considered heroic or rational depending on setting and philosophical orientation, in much American writing it is conflated with mental illness, and the term suggests the tragic self-destruction of a person who is not thinking clearly or acting rationally. Although distortion from depression and other forms of mental illness must always be considered when a patient requests a physician-assisted death, patients who choose this option are not necessarily depressed but rather may be acting out of a need for self-preservation, to avoid being destroyed physically and deprived of meaning existentially by their illness and impending death. While in general we use the more neutral term physician-assisted death for this reason, we have allowed our authors–and ourselves–to use any of the three terms interchangeably.”