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On the Moral Acceptability of Physician‐Assisted Dying for Non‐Autonomous Psychiatric Patients

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Several authors have recently suggested that the suffering caused by mental illness could provide moral grounds for physician‐assisted dying. Yet they typically require that psychiatric‐assisted dying could come to question in the cases of autonomous, or rational, psychiatric patients only. Given that also non‐autonomous psychiatric patients can sometimes suffer unbearably, this limitation appears questionable. In this article, I maintain that restricting psychiatric‐assisted dying to autonomous, or rational, psychiatric patients would not be compatible with endorsing certain end‐of‐life practices commonly accepted in current medical ethics and law, practices often referred to as ‘passive euthanasia’.
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Keywords: death; passive euthanasia; physician‐assisted dying; psychiatric‐assisted suicide; psychiatry

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2016

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