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Competing Paradigms of Response to Assisted Suicide Requests in Oregon

N. Gregory Hamilton, M.D. Catherine A. Hamilton, M.A.


"Legalization of assisted suicide in Oregon ushered in a new approach to evaluating suicidal patients with serious medical illnesses. Two competing paradigms-the tradi-tional model and the assisted suicide competency model now exist. This report compares the tradi-tional approach to evaluating and treating suicidal symp-toms with the assisted suicide competency model delin-eated in an assisted suicide guidebook used in Oregon, the only state where such a practice is legal."

The authors conclude... "the attempt to mix the assisted suicide competency model and the traditional clinical model of responding to seriously ill suicidal patients may prove confusing to both clinicians and patients, may contribute to substandard medical care, and may endanger seriously ill patients, particularly those with a history of preexisting mental illness."   Full article...


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