‘Existential distress’ drives MAiD requests: Canadian study

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms the data from Oregon; that patients most often request euthanasia and assisted suicide for 'existential suffering' and not physical pain.

Read the full journal article HERE.


October 2013

This paper was written by Tasmanian Academics, Hannah Graham and Jeremy Pritchard.

The paper looks at the 'Voluntary Assisted Dying' Discussion paper circulated in march 2013 by MPs Lara Gidding and Nick McKim and is critical of their approach.

The paper also reviews the contemporary research from across the globe and concludes that, contrary to the assertions of Giddings, McKim and others, issues of safety and risk are evident in jurisdictions where euthanasia & assisted suicide is legal.

You can download the paper here.

Trends in end-of-life practices before and after the enactment of the euthanasia law in the Netherlands from 1990 to 2010: a repeated cross-sectional survey

The Lancet Jul, 2012

Comment: Latest meta-analysis from the Netherlands. Claims that the rate of euthanasia remain steady are not true. 2010 data shows that 23% of euthanasia cases are not reported; there were 310 deaths without request or consent and marks the alarming increase in the use of death by ‘continuous deep sedation’ to 12.3% of all deaths.

  Link to study at The Lancet

Reporting of euthanasia in medical practice in Flanders, Belgium: cross sectional analysis of reported and unreported cases

British Medical Journal Oct 5, 2010

Comment: Determines that 47.2% of all euthanasia deaths were not reported

  Link to  study at external source

Physician-assisted deaths under the euthanasia law in Belgium: a population-based survey

Canadian Medical Association Journal May 17, 2010

Comment: The results are determined by reports from physicians responding to a questionnaire concerning specific deaths. 32% of euthanasia deaths were done without explicit request or consent.

  Link to article at the CMAJ 

Killing us softly: the dangers of legalizing assisted suicide (articles)

Disability and Health Journal Jan, 2010

Comment: DHJ devoted entire journal to disability issues

  Link to the journal

Physician-Assisted Suicide in Oregon: A Medical Perspective (article)

Michigan Law Review Nov, 2008

Comment: Looks at Oregon’s assisted suicide laws and questions the efficacy of safeguards.

  Link to article at external site

Prevalence of depression and anxiety in patients requesting physicians’ aid in dying: cross sectional survey

British Medical Journal Aug, 2008

Comment: Concerns the link between depression and request for assisted suicide in Oregon. 26% of participants in the study were considered to be depressed or experiencing feelings of hopelessness; yet none were sent for an assessment (which is considered a ‘safeguard’ in Oregon’s DWDA law.).

   Link to study at BMJ website

Deliberate termination of life of newborns with spina bifida, a critical reappraisal

Childs Nervous System. Jan, 2008

Comment: Questions the whole thrust of the Groningen protocol.

  Link to article at external website

Legal physician-assisted suicide in Oregon and The Netherlands: evidence concerning the impact on patients in vulnerable groups--another perspective on Oregon's data.

Journal of Medical Ethics Oct, 2007

Comment: Challenges the assertion that vulnerable groups are not affected by euthanasia & assisted suicide laws.

Link to abstract only

End-of-Life Practices in the Netherlands under the Euthanasia Act

The New England Journal of Medicine May, 2007

Comment: This is the study on the 2005 statistics from the Netherlands noting that 20% of all euthanasia deaths were not reported. Also noted the increase in death by ‘continuous deep sedation’.

  Link to article at NEJM

Euthanasia and Depression: A Prospective Cohort Study Among Terminally Ill Cancer Patients

Journal of Clinical Oncology Sep 20, 2005

Comment: Concerns the link between depression and euthanasia. The author hypothesised that there was no connection. Conclusion that people with signs of depression or a sense of hopelessness were 4.1 times more likely to request euthanasia.

  Link to study at JCO website

The Groningen Protocol — Euthanasia in Severely Ill Newborns

The New England Journal of Medicine Mar, 2005

Comment: Explains how the Groningen protocol operates.

  Link to article at NEJM

Parliament of Tasmania 1998 Community Development Committee Report: On the need for legislation on Voluntary Euthanasia

"the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia would pose a serious threat to the more vulnerable members of society and that the obligation of the state to protect all its members equally outweighs the individual’s freedom to choose voluntary euthanasia." 

  Link to the FULL REPORT