Monday, October 13, 2008

Mental-health problems and euthanasia

In 1997 the state of Oregon, in the U.S. passed the Death with Dignity Act allowing doctors to assist terminally-ill patients to die. There are several safeguards in the Act to ensure patients are competent to make the decision to end their own life including referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist if there is a concern that a patient's judgement might be impaired due to mental illness but in 2007 none of the 46 people who died in this way were evaluated by a psychiatrist or psychologist. Researchers from Oregon Health and Science University assessed 58 people who were terminally ill and who had requested physician-assisted suicide. 13 of the participants met the criteria for anxiety and 15 of them met the criteria for depression, of whom 3 eventually ended their life. The researchers called for increased vigilance for mental-health problems among people seeking euthanasia although supporters of the practice argued that depression did not automatically affect people's competence to make a decision about assisted suicide.

You can read more about this research at

http://psychcentral.com/news/2008/10/08/assisted-suicide-depressed-patients-may-be-overlooked/3095.html

2 comments:

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Anonymous said...

i have had a mental illness for at laest 40years i have lost count of how many times have been in hospital.all i want now is the mental pain to stopl for good. the drs have just about tryed everything on me.this is my life they dont live it and feel and think what i do.now is my time and i want to die,I feel i have the right to chose euthanasia.im dead inside as it is. kaylene