In November 1997, the voters of Oregon resoundingly affirmed the Oregon Death With Dignity Act. This law allows competent, terminally ill persons who are suffering in the final 6 months of life to obtain a lethal prescription from a physician. This paper presents a psychiatric defense of the Death With Dignity Act including the role of mental health professionals in evaluating competence in compliance with the law. Ethical, logistical, and political issues related to aid-in-dying are reviewed and a strategy for assessing competence is offered.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health