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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

New American Psychiatric Association Policy Prohibits Participation in Euthanasia of Non-Terminally Ill

Mark Moran
Psychiatric News
Published online: January 03, 2017

A psychiatrist should not prescribe or administer any intervention to a non-terminally ill person to cause death, according to a position statement passed by the APA Assembly at its meeting in Washington, D.C., this past November. The statement was approved one month later by the APA Board of Trustees by unanimous consent.

The precise wording of the Position Statement on Medical Euthanasia is as follows: “The American Psychiatric Association, in concert with the American Medical Association’s position on medical euthanasia, holds that a psychiatrist should not prescribe or administer any intervention to a non-terminally ill person for the purpose of causing death.”

(Policies and position statements approved by the Assembly are not official APA policy until they are approved by the Board. For a complete report on Board actions at its meeting this past December, see the next issue of Psychiatric News.)

In an interview with Psychiatric News, Mark S. Komrad M.D., an Assembly representative from the Southern Psychiatric Association who cosponsored the position statement in the Assembly, said it was crafted in response to reports from Belgium, the Netherlands, and elsewhere in Europe that physician involvement in “assisted suicide” had evolved from assisting terminally ill patients to die to actively helping non-terminally ill patients—including mentally ill individuals—die. Annette Hanson, M.D., was co-sponsor of the statement in the Assembly.

The article is here.
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