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Table 2 Cases of coercion in physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia

From: Physician-assisted suicide: a review of the literature concerning practical and clinical implications for UK doctors

Case 1, Oregon: An 85-year-old cancer patient with worsening dementia requests PAS but her psychiatrist believes that she is being pressured by family. Nevertheless, she is then approved for PAS by a psychologist and receives assisted suicide [16].
Case 2, Oregon: Louise, who has a degenerative neurological disease, requests PAS. As her disease progresses, those in her network who support her suicide become increasingly anxious that she will become too mentally or physically incapacitated to act on her request. This includes her doctor, her mother, a friend who will be present at her suicide, and the Oregon Compassion in Dying PAS advocate who has arranged for a New York Times reporter to fly in and cover the suicide. Louise says she is almost ready but not quite. She wants a week to relax and be with her mother. On learning indirectly that her doctor thinks she will not be able to act if she waits, she appears startled. Her mother tells her, "It's OK to be afraid." She replies: "I'm not afraid. I just feel as if everyone is ganging up on me, pressuring me. I just want some time" [15].
Case 3, The Netherlands: A wife who no longer wishes to care for her sick, elderly husband gives him a choice between euthanasia and admission to a nursing home. Afraid of being left to the mercy of strangers in an unfamiliar place, he chooses euthanasia. His doctor ends his life despite being aware that the request was coerced [14].
Case 4, The Netherlands: Cees requests euthanasia one month after being diagnosed with ALS (MND). As required, his request is assessed by the primary doctor who will carry out the euthanasia and by a consultant. During their assessments, both doctors allow Cees's apparently resentful wife to answer all the questions directed to him, even though his speech is still understandable and he can type on a computer. His ambivalence about euthanasia is expressed by repeatedly pushing the date back. It is also expressed by weeping in response to the doctor's pro forma question of whether Cees is sure he wants to go ahead with euthanasia. His wife quickly answers affirmatively for him and then tells the doctor to move away from Cees, saying it is better to let him cry alone. At no point does a doctor ask to talk with Cees alone before his euthanasia [15].