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Table 1 The characteristics of patients whose EAS request was granted

From: Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in patients suffering from psychiatric disorders: a cross-sectional study exploring the experiences of Dutch psychiatrists

  Patient 1 Patient 2 Patient 3 Patient 4 Patient 5 Patient 6 Patient 7 Patient 8 Patient 9
Age 40–50 50–60 50–60 60–70 60–70 60–70 70–80 70–80 80–90
Sex Female Male Male Female Male Female Female Male Male
Main psychiatric diagnosis Mood disorder Mood disorder Personality disorder Mood disorder Personality disorder Personality disorder Personality disorder Mood disorder Mood disorder
Somatic secondary diagnosis No No No No No Yes Yes No Yes
Place of residence At home At home At home Mental healthcare institution Mental healthcare institution At home At home Mental healthcare institution Hospital
Length of time under treatment before first requesta 1–12 months >  12 months >  12 months <  1 month 1–12 months <  1 month >  12 months <  1 months 1–12 months
Life expectancy >  12 months >  12 months >  12 months >  12 months >  12 months >  12 months >  12 months >  12 months 1–5 months
Communication possibilities Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Reasonable Reasonable
Main reasons for the request Feelings of depression, suffering with no prospect of improvement Suffering with no prospect of improvement Feelings of depression, desperate situations in several areas of life, completed life/suffering from life Feelings of depression, dependence on other people, no longer living independently Feelings of depression, fear, loneliness, desperate situations in several areas of life, suffering with no prospect of improvement, having no purpose in life Other physical complaints, physical decline, disability/immobility, loneliness, desperate situations in several areas of life, having no purpose in life, Physical decline, dependence on other people, loss of or fear of losing control over his or her own life, no longer living independently Feelings of depression, cognitive decline, loss of or fear of losing control over his or her own life, no longer living independently, suffering with no prospect of improvement, loss of dignity Pain, fear, suffering with no prospect of improvement, risk of serious complications
Opinion of those close to the patient with regard to the request Supporting the patient Supporting the patient Supporting the patient Supporting the patient Supporting the patient Supporting the patient Neutral Supporting the patient Did not support the request
Patient with decisional competence Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes To a certain extent Yes
Voluntary/well-considered request Yes Yes Yes Yes To a certain extent Yes Yes Yes Yes
Unbearable suffering Yes Yes To a certain extent Yes To a certain extent To a certain extent Yes Yes To a certain extent
Hopeless suffering Yes Yes No Yes Yes To a certain extent Yes Yes Yes
Alternative treatment options No No No No To a certain extent No No Yesb No
Other physicians consulted 2 psychiatrists, 1 professor of psychology 3 psychiatrists No 1 SCEN-physician, 1 psychiatrist End-of-Life Clinicd 1 SCEN-physician, 1 SCEN-physician/psychiatrist, 1 psychiatrist 1 SCEN-physician, 2 psychiatrists 1 SCEN-physician, 1 psychiatrist, 1 clinical geriatrician 1 SCEN-physician, 1 neurosurgeon
Method usedc Assisted suicide (performed by general practitioner, or present) Assisted suicide (performed by End-of-Life Clinic) Assisted suicide Euthanasia Assisted suicide Assisted suicide (patient referred) Assisted suicide Euthanasia Assisted suicide
Length of decision-making process 3 months 8 months 1.5 years 2 months 2 months 1 year 2.5 years 3 months
  1. aThis question only concerned the time under treatment with the participating psychiatrist. It is very likely that patients have previously been treated by other psychiatrists
  2. bAt the time of the first request, treatment options were still available. After having tried these treatment options, the patient received EAS 2.5 years after the first request
  3. cEuthanasia is defined as death resulting from lethal medication that is administered by a physician with the explicit intention of ending life at the explicit request of the patient. In physician-assisted suicide, the patient self-administers lethal medication that was prescribed by a physician. In the Netherlands both types of EAS are acceptable, in contrast to some other countries with EAS legislation
  4. dAlthough, the responding psychiatrist did not specify the specialty of the End-of-Life Clinic physician, it is likely this concerned a psychiatrist as it is the Clinic’s policy to deploy a psychiatrists in case of a request from a psychiatric patient