Among 44 terminally ill patients, the majority (N = 34) had never wished
death to come early. Of the remainder, three were or had been suicidal and
seven more had desired early death. All 10 patients who had desired death
were found to be suffering from clinical depressive illness. The
methodologic difficulties encountered by the authors were the lack of a
brief, efficient interview schedule suitable for debilitated patients and
criteria for depressive disorder that do not depend on suicidal thoughts or
on symptoms that can also be caused by physical disease.