Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mental Illness and Assisted Suicide.

From the Dutch publication NRC Handelsblad, a story about mental illness and assisted suicide:

"Psychiatrists have a holier-than-thou attitude," Hans van Dam, a nurse and a teacher, said at a symposium organised by the Right to Die-NL foundation in the Dutch town of Ede on Monday. The taboo on assisted suicide for mental patients needs to be broken, Van Dam argued. "To put it bluntly: cancer will kill you in a matter of years, but schizophrenia is forever."

"The suffering of psychiatric patients can be just as intolerable as many forms of physical suffering," said Eugène Sutorius, a professor of criminal law and a former president of the foundation.

At Monday's symposium many attendees had horror stories about people who ended up killing themselves in the most atrocious ways after their treating psychiatrist refused to help them. "At some clinics they will say right away: we don't do that here," according to Van Houwelingen. And suicide attempts are not always successful, said Sutorius, "leaving people to go through life even more damaged than before."

"If euthanasia wasn't such a delicate subject I would be tempted to bring it before the disciplinary tribunal," added Sutorius. "Doctors have a duty to discuss this if patients have a death wish and there is no treatment available."

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home