Paul S. Appelbaum
Volume 68, Issue 4, April 01, 2017, pp. 315-317
Laws permitting physician-assisted death in the United States currently are limited to terminal conditions. Canada is considering whether to extend the practice to encompass intractable suffering caused by mental disorders, and the question inevitably will arise in the United States. Among the problems seen in countries that have legalized assisted death for mental disorders are difficulties in assessing the disorder’s intractability and the patient’s decisional competence, and the disproportionate involvement of patients with social isolation and personality disorders. Legitimate concern exists that assisted death could serve as a substitute for creating adequate systems of mental health treatment and social support.
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