The objective of this study was to investigate the views of consultation-liaison (C-L) psychiatrists on assisted-death practices. A 33-question anonymous survey was distributed at the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine Annual Meeting in November 1995. The instrument explored perceptions of acceptability of assisted death in six hypothetical patient situations as performed by four possible agents. The response rate was 48% (184 conference attendees participated, i.e., completed and returned the surveys). With little variability, the respondents were unwilling to perform assisted death personally and also did not support assisted death as performed by nonphysicians. The respondents were somewhat more accepting of referral or other physicians' involvement in such practices. Assisted death was viewed differently than withdrawal of life support. Several variables were analyzed for their influences on the views expressed. The C-L psychiatrists in this study expressed opposition to assisted death practices. Their views varied somewhat depending on the patient vignette and the agent of death assistance. The authors conclude that C-L psychiatrists may wish to develop their present therapeutic and evaluative role in patient care to alleviate suffering, without hastening patient death.
View details for Web of Science ID A1997XY30200006
View details for PubMedID 9314715