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Equal in the presence of death?
  1. Agata Sagan
  1. Correspondence to Agata Sagan; different185{at}

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When life ends, everything ends, at least for those who do not believe in an afterlife, so it is no wonder that decisions about ending life should be taken with as much seriousness and consideration as possible.

Most of the worries raised around ending the life of someone with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder seem to be justified. Could depression pass away or be cured with some new drug or therapy that is yet to come? Is his or her wish to die genuine, and not just a part of the disease? Will allowing depressed people to die not cause loss of hope and a cascade of suicides among others suffering from the same condition?

However, there are strong reasons for allowing people suffering from untreatable depression to end their lives. The primary reason is the severity of the suffering caused by depression. Many people with depression, and also many doctors and other carers, assess this suffering as worse than most forms of physical suffering. …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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