Researchers carried out psychiatric assessments on 47 patients who had requested aid in dying. Among patients who went on to receive a prescription for a lethal drug, 17 per cent met criteria for depression.
Doctors can assist patients’ death, but must refer patients who may have a mental disorder which might affect their judgement, such as depression, to a psychiatrist.
The researchers suggest that the practice of legalised aid in dying may allow potentially ineligible patients to receive a prescription for a lethal drug because some patients’ depression is missed or overlooked.
BMJ Online First
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