A patient was admitted to my ER for an unrelated reason to their terminal diagnosis – while packing. In talking with them, they gave me their history, their diagnosis, and the host of problems and suffering they live with. It came up that they were moving from my State to a State where Physician Assisted Suicide was legal specifically to be able to "end their life on their own terms".
Physician Assisted Suicide in my State is not legal, and we have pretty robust legal mechanisms for involuntary commitment, psychiatric holds, and forced social worker intervention for expressed or reported suicidal ideation.
I chose not to do anything because Physician Assisted Suicide was legal where they were going, and once they left my own State, those laws didn't apply. Well, one of the nurses decided to call Psychiatry who then called Social Services. A forced 72-hour psychiatric hold was handed down, along with Court-ordered mandatory "check-ins" to the person's home. If you're wondering how that's possible, Social Services fills out their own petitions and gets a Judge to e-sign within hours.
Meanwhile, a massive rift has opened up on my service between just about everyone. Nurses confronting physicians who support assisted suicide saying "you should be ashamed to be a doctor"; physicians who don't support it berating nurses who do saying "that's why you're just a nurse, you have no medical ethics". Pharmacy is nearly on the brink of open rebellion because almost no one down there will approve (eg conscience) any orders for sedation of this person when they try to leave AMA.
I think they are probably going to fire a Resident who said openly they would drive the patient out of State once they were discharged.
Has something like this happened to anyone else?
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