By Margaret Dore
I am a lawyer in Washington State USA where assisted suicide is legal. I am also President of Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation opposed to assisted suicide.
In 2011, a study was released in Switzerland where assisted-suicide is legal. The study found that approximately 1 out of 5 family members or friends who were present at an assisted suicide were traumatized. They "experienced full or sub-sthreshold [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] related to the loss of a close person through assisted suicide."
This is consistent with what I have observed with clients whose parents have participated in the Washington/Oregon death with dignity acts. With one client, the doctor had suggested assisted-suicide to the parent. After that, one branch of the family wanted the parent to use the lethal dose, while the other did not. The parent spent much of his final days struggling over whether or not to kill himself. This was instead of making the best of the time that he had left. My client was also traumatized. In that case, the parent died a natural death.
With another case, it's unclear that the assisted-suicide death was voluntary. My client lives with that memory.
Legal assisted suicide is sold as a peaceful and loving death. It may be anything but.
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 B. Wagner, J. Muller, A. Maercker, "Death by request in Switzerland: Posttraumatic stress disorder and complicated grief after witnessing assisted suicide," European Psychiatry 27 (2012) 542-546, available at http://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/family-members-traumatized-eur-psych-2012.pdf