Depression, Competence, and the Right to Refuse Lifesaving Medical Treatment
Sullivan M D~~Youngner S J
The possibility that psychiatrists inappropriately extend their views on suicide by the medically well to refusal of lifesaving treatment by the seriously medically ill is explored. Legal & bioethics literature on competence to refuse treatment & the possible impact of depression on this refusal is reviewed. It is concluded that after optimal medical & psychiatric treatment & determining that the patient is competent to make medical decisions, it may be appropriate to honour their desire to die.