My patient suicidal after watching Brittany Maynard video

Letter from Dr. Will Johnston, M.D.

The letter below was sent to Massachusetts legislators:

Dear Legislators:

I am a doctor whose young adult patient became actively suicidal after watching a Brittany Maynard video.

I urge you to vote against legalizing assisted suicide so as to not encourage other young adults to seek this path.

In the first week of December 2014, a mother brought in her twenty year old son for an emergency appointment. She had told me that he had been acting oddly and talking about death.

During the appointment, I asked the young man if he had a plan. He said “yes,” that he had watched Ms. Maynard’s video, that he was very impressed and identified with her, and that he thought it was a good idea for him to die like her. He also told me that after watching the video, he had been surfing the internet looking for ways to obtain suicide drugs.

He was actively suicidal and agreed to go to the hospital, where he stayed for five weeks until it was determined that he was sufficiently safe from self-harm to go home.

Legal assisted suicide sends the wrong message to young people. I urge you to vote “no” on H.1991.

Thank you.

Will Johnston, M.D.
Vancouver, B.C.