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Friday, June 29, 2007

Ohio Mental Health Agency: Studies Suicide For Patients

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- The state agency charged with caring for Ohio's mentally ill residents has scheduled a conference in August that will consider "the right to suicide" for those suffering from psychological disorders. This is a politically, morally and emotionally charged topic that quickly conjures up images of Jack Kevorkian in his former role as Doctor Death.

The subject provokes serious concern about why the Ohio Department of Mental Health -- which is co-sponsoring the event along with a state medical school -- would even flirt with the subject of allowing self-inflicted death for psychiatric patients. It smacks of state-supported euthanasia: Your mind doesn't work normally, take some poison or head to that closet with this short piece or rope.

Details about the conference have surfaced in a circular issued for the state's 2007 Annual Forensic Conference, which takes places August 16 and 17 at a Holiday Inn in Wilmington, Ohio. Phillip J. Resnick, a professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University's medical school, is scheduled to "discuss the right of psychiatric patients to take their own lives. Arguments for and against rational suicide will be explored."

Sounds creepy, too creepy really. This state is now led by a governor who used to make his living as a psychologist. Ted Strickland holds a PH.D on the subject (from the University of Kentucky) and has no doubt counseled people over the years that life is worth living.

Indeed, there are legal questions about whether mentally ill prisoners on Death Row should be executed. Is it rational to allow mentally ill citizens who are not on Death Row to execute themselves?

As a matter of politics alone, the state should not sponsor this discussion about self-inflicted euthanasia. It will play into the hands of the right, and be used to say that the Dems now holding power in Columbus are not pro-life -- see, they favor abortion on demand and think psychiatric patients should kill themselves.

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