Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Another argument against assisted suicide: Many people with "locked-in" syndrome are happy

As reported by Agence France-Presse on February 24, 2011:

Many people with "locked-in" syndrome, in which they are conscious but completely paralyzed, indicate they are happy, a finding with repercussions for assisted suicide, European doctors reported on Wednesday.

Investigators asked 168 members of the French Association for Lockedin Syndrome about their medical history, emotional state and quality of life, with the responses noted by caregivers.

Of those who replied in full, 72 per cent said they were happy and 28 per cent said they were unhappy. Four per cent said they wanted to opt for suicide...

...More than 80 per cent of patients with locked-in syndrome survive 10 years, and some live on for decades.

"Our data show that, whatever the physical devastation and mental distress of patients during the acute phase of the condition, optimal life-sustaining care and revalidation can have major long-term benefit," says the paper. "We suggest that patients recently struck by (the syndrome) should be informed that, given proper care, they have a considerable chance of regaining a happy life."

Go here to see the full text of the original article in BMJ Open.

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