Killing The Psychic Pain

A Dutch court says doctors can assist suicides of depressed but physically healthy patients

Hilly Bosscher endured 25 years of repeated beatings by an alcoholic husband before the marriage ended in divorce. One of her two sons committed suicide at 20; the other died of lung cancer at the same age. When the 50-year-old former social worker from the Dutch town of Ruinen went to see psychiatrist Boudewijn Chabot, she had but one desire: she wanted to dieand she wanted the doctor to help her.

Over the next four months, Chabot tried to ease Bosscher's depression and change her mind about suicide, but she did not respond to counseling and refused medication. Having already made...

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