Physician assistance to help people end their lives—by prescribing or directly administering medication—is now legal in some form in 4 American states, Canada, and 4 European countries.1 In the United States, laws permitting physicians to write prescriptions for medications intended to end patients’ lives are limited to patients with terminal conditions and preclude physician administration of the medication. However, other countries, including the Netherlands, allow direct physician involvement and have expanded the criteria to include patients with irremediable suffering, whatever the cause. Therefore, the door has been opened for people whose suffering is primarily due to mental disorders to seek assistance in dying.
Appelbaum PS. Physician-Assisted Death for Patients With Mental Disorders—Reasons for Concern. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(4):325–326. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2890
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