Assisted Suicide and Depression
A great number of terminal patients pursue suicide not because they are ill, but due to the fact that they are depressed. Assisted suicide should not be allowed because a percentage of the people who are killed are those who could have been treated for depression. A recent study conducted in Oregon of people who killed themselves by assisted suicide revealed that one in every six people were found to be suffering from severe cases of depression. Another study also showed one-in-four patients who requested lethal drugs under the Oregon law were depressed.
Depression, this factor is not carefully being taken into consideration when the decision making process to determine the end of one’s own life occurs (“Pros and Cons of Assisted Suicide”, 2009). Psychiatrist Linda Ganzini is the leading author for one of these studies. She believes Doctors need to screen their patients better before writing lethal prescriptions (Jenkins, 2012). Linda Ganzini is quoted as saying “What it means is that primary care physicians probably need to use more rigorous or well-validated instruments rather than just their gut impression about whether the patient is depressed. Jenkins (2012), “Oregon’s law requires Death with Dignity patients who exhibit signs of depression be referred to a mental health professional.
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But Ganzini says of the 47 Oregon residents who died under the law last year, none were referred (para. 8). Jack Kevorkian believes it is the illness that is causing the depression and that all terminal patients are indeed depressed. Balch (n. d. ), Jack Kevorkian, the infamous “suicide doctor,” said at a court appearance that he considers anyone with a disabling disease who is not depressed “abnormal. But what Kevorkian and others who argue in favor of physician-assisted suicide ignore is that even though the disease itself may be untreatable, the depression is treatable, and it is the depression, not the disease, which makes such persons suicidal” (para. 4). A study of terminally ill patients published in The American Journal of Psychiatry in 1986 concluded: The results were shocking in that all patients who requested, wanted, or thought about suicide were found to be diagnosed with clinical depression. Those that were not found to be clinically depressed had no such thoughts or motives (Balch, n. d. ).
Pros and cons of assisted suicide. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.theweek.co.uk/politics/25333/pros-and-cons-assisted-suicide Balch, B. (n.d.). Why We Shouldn’t Legalize Assisting Suicide. Retrieved from http://www.nrlc.org/euthanasia/asisuid3.html Jenkins, A. (2012). New Study On Depression And Assisted Suicide. Retrieved from http://www.opb.org/news/article/new-study-depression-and-assisted-suicide/