Euthanasie in de psychiatrie

Sisco M.P. van Veen en Guy A.M. Widdershoven

Physician-assisted death in psychiatry

In recent years, more patients with psychiatric disorders are receiving physician-assisted death (PAD). In the Netherlands, since more than 25 years psychiatric suffering is seen as a legitimate reason for PAD, but an additional independent assessment is required. Scarce empirical research shows that patients who receive PAD on the basis of psychiatric suffering have long-standing and complex complaints. Among these patients, depression and personality disorders are relatively common. The ethical justification of PAD for patients with psychiatric disorders has been the subject of debate for decades. Decisions about competence and the irremediability of suffering are challenging and for many authors reason enough to reject PAD based on psychiatric suffering. Others regard the exclusion of all patients with mental disorders as unjust. Empirical research and ethical consideration are needed for better founded considerations and a more widely supported practice concerning patients with a mental disorder who request PAD.

Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.