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Lancet. 2000 Dec 16;356(9247):2067-8.

Psychiatric consultation and quality of decision making in euthanasia.


The role of undiagnosed psychiatric disorders in patients requesting euthanasia is an important ethical and professional issue. From June, 1997, until June, 1999, we included a psychiatric consultation as part of our standard procedure for handling euthanasia requests. Of 22 cancer patients who requested euthanasia at short notice: ten had their longstanding and well-considered wish for euthanasia granted; six were denied euthanasia because they did not have such a wish; five were denied because of psychiatric problems; and one was granted the wish despite minor psychiatric symptoms. Our findings suggest that a psychiatrist should be consulted if the treatment team has doubts about a patient's state of mind.

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