Management of a Request for Physician-Assisted Suicide
Rodriguez Davila, Sandra L
Stewart, Jonathan T
Caserta, Maria T
The American journal of hospice & palliative care 2010 Feb ; 27(1): 63-5
With the legalization of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) in several states, it remains controversial whether present guidelines take into account the complexity of identifying treatable sources of suffering, including underlying depression and other psychiatric disorders, in this high risk population. We present a case in which a patient with end-stage prostate cancer requested PAS; this request was in a state where PAS is not a legal option. He was evaluated psychiatrically and was not found to be depressed, but ample opportunities were found to improve his quality of life. With appropriate treatment, he lost interest in PAS as an option. We discuss the need for a comprehensive evaluation to properly assess and manage the untreated physical and emotional suffering that may influence a patient's decision to hasten death.
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