Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Swiss assisted suicide laws do not necessarily promote desire for death, study finds

Date:
October 9, 2012
Source:
Frontiers
Summary:
A new study shows that while current Swiss law does not necessarily increase the desire for assisted suicide, patients wish to discuss the option with their physician.

A study published in Frontiers in Psychology for Clinical Settings shows that while current Swiss law does not necessarily increase the desire for assisted suicide, patients wish to discuss the option with their physician. Ralf Stutzki, researcher at the University of Basel Institut für Bio- und Medizininethik, interviewed 33 Swiss patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) to assess their attitudes towards assisted suicide. 94% (31) of the patients expressed no immediate wish for assisted suicide at the time of the interview, yet over half of the patients would like the option of discussing suicide by means of a prescribed drug with their doctor.

"This research makes it clear that doctors throughout Switzerland should be prepared to discuss end-of-life options with these kinds of patients," says Stutzki.

Liberal laws do not increase desire for death

According to this study, even though assisted suicide is permissible by Swiss law and tolerated by society, it does not appear as though the legal option increases the patients' desire for immediate death after having been diagnosed with the fatal disease.

"Other factors such as family life, quality of care and overall quality of life play a bigger role in determining the desire for assisted suicide than the mere existence of the permissive law," explains Stutzki. "But the possibility to eventually discuss the option with their doctor at a later stage is a comfort for the patient."

Suicide and ALS

ALS, known as Lou Gehrig's disease in North America, is the most common of neurodegenerative diseases. Its debilitating effects radically decrease the quality of life of its sufferers and ultimately lead to death. A 2004 study by the City of Zurich states that out of 421 cases of assisted suicide with Dignitas or Exit, 24% had neurological disorders, including ALS. In the Netherlands, 16.8% of ALS patients opted for physician-assisted suicide between 2000-2005.

Out of the 33 patients interviewed, 39% (13) said that they had already considered the possibility of suicide. While 94% of the interviewees did not express a desire for assisted suicide at the time of the interview, 54% of the patients could imagine asking a physician to prescribe a fatal drug that they could take themselves in the future. And 57% said that they could imagine a physician administering the drug -- which is currently an illegal practice in Switzerland.

"The fact that over half of the patients I interviewed could imagine asking their physician to administer the drug, an illegal practice in Switzerland, reveals an attitude which exceeds the options provided by current law," says Stutzki. "The report highlights the need for a larger-scoped study to help guide the legal and ethical discussion."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Frontiers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ralf Stutzki, Ursula Schneider, Stella Reiter-Theil and Markus Weber. Attitudes towards assisted suicide and life-prolonging measures in Swiss ALS patients and their caregivers. Frontiers in Psychology for Clinical Settings, 2012; DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00443

Cite This Page:

Frontiers. "Swiss assisted suicide laws do not necessarily promote desire for death, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121009092525.htm>.
Frontiers. (2012, October 9). Swiss assisted suicide laws do not necessarily promote desire for death, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121009092525.htm
Frontiers. "Swiss assisted suicide laws do not necessarily promote desire for death, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121009092525.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins