Last wills and testaments in a large sample of suicide notes: Implications for testamentary capacity.

A substantial minority of suicide notes may also include testamentary intent. The observed high rate of mental illness and substance use around the time of death has important clinical implications for understanding the mindset of people who die by suicide and hence also legal implications regarding testamentary capacity. Contact us for a copy of this […]

‘Round-Table’ Ethical Debate: is a Suicide Note an Authoritative ‘Living Will’

Living wills are often considered by physicians who are faced with a dying patient. Although popular with the general public, problems of authenticity & authority remain. There is little consensus on what spectrum of instruments constitutes a binding advance directive in real life. In this article, a panel of experts consider whether a suicide note […]

Surviving a Suicide Loss: a Financial Guide


Federal Policy Regarding End-of-Life Decisions (IN: Euthanasia: the Good of the Patient, the Good of Society, ed. by R I Misbin)


You are not Alone: a Guide for Survivors in Managing the Aftermath of a Suicide

On Reading Valedictory Texts: Suicide Notes, Last Wills and Testaments

The author explores the problem of limited information, the possibility for miscommunication, the inscrutability of authorial intention, & the effects of authorial absence in valedictory texts including suicide notes & last wills & testaments, using Jacques Derrida’s notion of language as ‘play’.

End of Life Issues in Older Patients

This article focuses on palliative care & symptom management in the elderly patient with cancer, advance directives & treatment preferences, where & how elderly patients are cared for, & suicide. (66 refs)

End-of-life Issues (IN: Macmillan Encyclopedia of Death and Dying, vol.1: A-K, ed. by R Kastenbaum)


Rational Suicide and Predictive Genetic Testing

In this article, the author argues that suicide is one rational response to the knowledge (now being made available through genetic testing) that one will have Huntington’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease in the future, & that the appropriateness of this choice needs to be part of deliberations on the development & use of genetic tests […]

Estate Planning and Suicide

This article assesses evidence of suicidal ideation in estate planning. Menninger’s (1938) classification of motives for suicide & American civil statutes pertaining to suicide are presented. 5 sets of information to assess suicide risk are included to make estate planners sensitive to suicidal tendencies their clients may be experiencing. (4 refs) (SC)

In re Storar: Euthanasia for Incompetent Patients, a Proposed Model (IN: Ethics and Social Concern, edited by A Serafini)

This chapter examines the court case of In re Storar & its companion case Eichner V. Dillion. Both court cases presented the question of whether a surrogate decision to discontinue life-sustaining medical treatment can be made on behalf of an incompetent patient, diagnosed as fatally ill, with no reasonable chance of recovery. This chapter discusses […]

The Importance of Being Important: Euthanasia and Critical Interests in Dworkin’s “Life’s Dominion”

This article addresses euthanasia & the right of an individual to make such a request if it is made before the onset of a terminal illness. The author compares & contrasts his own ideas to those presented in Ronald Dworkin’s “Life Dominion”. This article uses DworkinÕs example of a woman with AlzheimerÕs disease to illustrate […]

Decedents’ Reported Preferences for Physician-Assisted Death: a Survey of Informants Listed on Death Certificates in Utah

Individuals listed as informants on the death certificats of 1,144 decedents in Utah (18+ years of age), were interviewed. Deaths had occurred in 1992. This article reports on the acquisition & analysis of data. 16% of decedents reportedly would have wanted either physician-assisted suicide or euthansia. Informants reported a slightly higher rate. Religion, religiosity, type […]

The Physician’s Role in Completing Advance Directives: Ensuring Patients’ Capacity to Make Healthcare Decisions in Advance

The case of a 55-year-old female with severe asthma, psychiatric disorders & a history of suicide attempts is presented. An advance directive stated that the patient did not want intubation. However, when not depressed the patient told her physician that she wanted short-term intubation if it could return her to her normal state. After a […]

Implementing the Patient Self-Determination Act (PSDA): how to Effectively Engage Chinese-American Elderly Persons in the Decision of Advance Directives

This paper addresses the problems of implementing the Patient Self-Determination Act with the Chinese-American population. A case study of an 88-year-old Chinese widow admitted to a nursing home is used as illustration. Potential obstacles such as attitudes toward illness, medical treatment, & suicide are discussed. Recommendations are made for 2 types of groups that can […]

Priority Ethical Issues in Oncology Nursing: Current Approaches and Future Directions

This article describes ethical issues determined to be highly important to oncology nurses. Data was collected through a survey of oncology nurses & a review of the nursing literature. Nine issues were identified with assisted suicide being given top priority. Important subtopics within the nine issues are also identified.

Assisted Suicide: the Issues

This article looks at the issues surrounding assisted suicide, such as whether or not the increasing interest in euthanasia reflects concern about the high costs of medical care. The historical background of the movement to legalize assisted suicide is reviewed starting with a 1935 British euthansia group. The current situation in the USA is discussed […]

The High Costs of Dying: a way out

This article notes that 28% of Medicare expenditures are incurred in the last year of life. It discusses 3 major approaches proposed to lower financial, emotional & physical burdens: rationing care to the elderly, use of advance directives, & physician-assisted suicide. It also presents a 2-prong plan of recommending less-technologically-intensive care & instituting care in […]

“A Quick and Painless Death”

The author discusses the history of the debate on physician-assisted suicide in Europe. The first such move came in Germany in 1909 when the Reichstag debated a bill to allow incurably ill people to be helped to die by a doctor. Recently, the Dutch parliament passed a bill which would leave euthanasia as a criminal […]

Reflections on the Right to die (IN: Suicidology: Essays in Honor of Edwin S. Shneidman, edited by A A Leenaars)

Euthanasia is reviewed from both legal and medical perspectives. The author seeks to demonstrate that patients who seek the right to die are generally only seeking a means to end their pain or dependence on others. The author argues that it is especially important to distinguish the theoretical exercise of the right to die from […]

Death and AIDS: a Review of the Medico-Legal Literature

This article discusses the fact that there is still neither a known cure for AIDS nor a vaccine to prevent infection from HIV. The article then examines some of the medico-legal issues associated with AIDS related death such as estate planning, discrimination, insurance, long-term care, the right to die, and suicide as detailed in medical/legal […]

Doctors’ Dilemmas – the Death Question

In a survey conducted by The Medical Post, 90% of doctors said they favoured living wills (defined as written, notarized instruction to withhold certain life-prolonging procedures). However, when interviewed one-on-one, some doctors qualified their agreement. In the same survey, only 68% of doctors support medicolegal guidelines for euthanasia. More support was given by female physicians […]

Book Review-Final Exit. The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying by D Humphry

For the most part, this review is a summary of Humphrey’s book. It is not until the last page that the reviewer offers his opinion of this book. Bonnington says that it “is a well-written book”. However, he cautions “that the discussion of how to commit suicide…could become a handbook for murder or for use […]