Aiding and abetting suicide in terminal illness

It is illegal in Australia to aid or abet suicide. Despite this Dr Rodney Syme publicly announced this week that in 2005 he provided a lethal drug, Nembutal, and advice to a patient who two weeks later used the drug to end his life. The police have re-opened the case, and will now decide whether…

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Digital love

I recently saw the movie Her. Without giving too much away – it’s the story of a recently heart-broken guy who gets a new operating system (or OS) for his computer. The OS uses voice, not a keyboard and screen. The OS is clever and has the ability to learn, and the voice of the…

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Suicide – the disclosure dilemma

In my time as a public hospital psychiatrist, I’ve seen many suicides. It is the most common cause of death for those aged under 45. Despite this statistic and suicide’s undeniable presence in our society, it remains for the most part, the elephant in the room. beyondblue – http://www.beyondblue.org.au flickr/David Wallace The founding chairman of…

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Airbrush my life

Vanity fascinates me – partly because I’m a victim myself. It’s mostly frowned upon but permeates so many aspects of our everyday life. Recently I brushed up against my own vanity, and it wasn’t completely comfortable. I won a gift certificate for a professional family portrait. I headed along with my son, had the photo…

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A grain of salt

Human behaviour is intriguing – from understanding what we do and why we do it to the bigger questions of human nature and our quest for meaning. It seems we are all amateur psychologists of sorts. There’s an old gag in psychiatry about answering a taxi driver who asks what you do for a living.…

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