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Invited commentary on … When unbearable suffering incites psychiatric patients to request euthanasia: A qualitative study

  • Steve Pearce (a1)


Although the paper in this issue by Verhofstadt et al sheds some light on the features of unbearable suffering stemming from psychiatric disorder leading to a request for euthanasia, this is limited. The bulk of the paper illustrates the particular ethical challenges posed by the policy of making euthanasia available in these circumstances.



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1 Verhofstadt, M, Thienpont, L, Peters, G-JY. When unbearable suffering incites psychiatric patients to request euthanasia: qualitative study. Br J Psychiatry 2017; 211: 238–45.
2 Levy, TB, Azar, S, Huberfeld, R, Siegel, AM, Strpus, RD. Attitudes towards euthanasia and assisted suicide: a comparison between psychiatrists and other physicians. Bioethics 2013; 27: 402–8.
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5 Steck, N, Egger, M, Maessen, M, Reisch, T, Zwahlen, M. Euthanasia and assisted suicide in selected European countries and US states: systematic literature review. Med Care 2013; 51: 938–44.
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10 Platt, J, Keyes, KM, Koenen, KC. Size of the social network versus quality of social support: which is more protective against PTSD? Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 2014; 49: 1279–86.
11 Brown, GW, Harris, T. Social Origins of Depression: A Study of Psychiatric Disorder in Women. Routledge, 2012.
12 Smets, T, Bilsen, J, Cohen, J, Rurup, ML, Mortier, F, Deliens, L. Reporting of euthanasia in medical practice in Flanders, Belgium: cross sectional analysis of reported and unreported cases. BMJ 2010; 341: c5174.
13 Mann, JJ, Apter, A, Bertolote, J, Beautrais, A, Currier, D, Haas, A, et al. Suicide prevention strategies: a systematic review. JAMA 2005; 294: 2064–74.
14 Wilkinson, C, McAndrew, S. ‘I'm not an outsider, I'm his mother!’ A phenomenological enquiry into carer experiences of exclusion from acute psychiatric settings. Int J Ment Health Nurs 2008; 17: 392401.
15 Aviv, R. The death treatment. When should people with a non-terminal illness be helped to die? New Yorker 2015; 22 June.
16 Lancet Global Mental Health Group. Scale up services for mental disorders: a call for action. Lancet 2007; 370: 1241–52.


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Invited commentary on … When unbearable suffering incites psychiatric patients to request euthanasia: A qualitative study

  • Steve Pearce (a1)
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