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November 2018

Suicide and Physician-Assisted Death for Persons With Psychiatric Disorders: How Much Overlap?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 3Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York
JAMA Psychiatry. 2018;75(11):1099-1100. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.2065

Physician-assisted death (PAD) of persons in which psychiatric disorders are the basis for the procedure (psychiatric PAD) remains infrequent but rising in number in Belgium and the Netherlands where it is legal, comprising about 1% to 2% of PAD. There were 83 cases in the Netherlands in 20171 (per capita US equivalent would be about 1580 cases). Canada’s euthanasia law generally excludes psychiatric PAD, but there are court challenges to expand the law.

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