n South African Medical Journal - Active euthanasia - potential abuse in South Africa : correspondence

Volume 101, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



The recent case in the media to motivate active euthanasia is tragic. A doctor dying of cancer in New Zealand, tried to starve herself to death, which suggests that she was deeply depressed, because suicidal ideation 'appears exclusively linked to mental disorder'. Her son, from outside the country, was her lone caregiver and refrained from looking for help in terms of the wording of her 'living will'. He became drawn into her desperation, was not medically trained, and did not consider her to be depressed. At her request, he eventually gave her an overdose of crushed morphine pills that she had hoarded for the purpose. He was arraigned on a charge of murder.

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